When I think back to my childhood Christmases, I don’t really remember many of the gifts I received. A few of the most special ones but most of all I remember the experiences – things my family did. That’s why it’s so important to me to make memories with my own kids. Take them on adventures and have experiences they’ll remember long after the toys are forgotten.
One of our favorite places to go as a family is the JW Marriott in San Antonio. We’ve only ever been in the summertime so when they invited me to come see their Hill Country Christmas activities, I was really excited! I didn’t realize they had Christmas activities. Boy was I wrong! They really do it up for the JW Hill Country Christmas.
One thing I loved most about the JW Hill Country Christmas was the Illuminations event. This runs nightly through December 31 and is completely free. The grounds of the hotel are transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland. On the Crooked Branch Patio you can sit and sip a steaming cup of hot cocoa and watch the light show choreographed to Holiday music. I loved that you could tune in to the music in your room too and watch from the window. My husband and I sat and watched long after the boys went to bed.
In addition to the Illuminations event there are tons of fun experiences that your family can do. The one we got to take part in was the Elf Experience. The JW Marriott resident elves transform kids into a certified elf. They learn all the elf rules, receive an elf name, dress like elves and get a certificate proclaiming them to be one of Santa’s own. My kids absolutely loved it. This was so much fun. And even better, they wore their elf hats all day and night and were treated like VIPs. All the other elves would greet them by name and high five them when we walked by. My littlest elf even got a cute, evening dance partner out of the deal!
Some of the other experiences include Gingerbread Craft Workshop, Pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, Storytime with the Elves and even and Elf Tuck-in for kids at night. They also have Breakfast with Santa on Saturday mornings. We had some friends go this past weekend for breakfast with Santa and their pictures were amazing. I will definitely remember that for next year!
And finally, while you are there, don’t miss the Gingerbread Village. We got a sneak peak in the pastry kitchen during our visit, while it was still under construction. I was blown away at the attention to detail and the time and effort put into each special element. It was truly magnificent and I didn’t even see the finished product. Definitely save a few minutes in all your fun to have a look.
If you are looking for something different this year, something extraordinary, something other than toys and tech, check out the JW Hill Country Christmas. Your kids will be talking about it long after the holidays are over. And you will love it too: The accommodations are superb. The rooms are lovely and spacious. The views are beautiful and did I mention they have a spa!? You will never want to leave.
If you can’t make it to the JW Marriott for their Hill Country Christmas this year, definitely put it on the calendar for next Christmas. And plan a visit this summer! They are adding a new pool and two new waterslides. It sounds absolutely spectacular. I know we will plan a trip for sure.