I recently took my 3 year old son down to watch the annual Christmas parade for the first time. I live in Toronto but I imagine that most large cities have their own equivalent. I was a bit apprehensive since I had never taken him to a large event like that before. We had a reasonably good time and the weather was fantastic. I learned a lot from the experience so I figured a post was in order to share some thoughts I had about how to make next year’s parade better.
This is one of the few things I got right. I brought some snack food along for the little one. Nothing helps pass time better when there is nothing going on with the parade than some food.
Talk to someone who has gone before for tips
I have no idea why I didn’t do this but after seeing all the other parents there with blankets, coolers, chairs etc I realized that maybe asking around before the parade probably would have helped.
Bring chairs, blankets
If you have foldup chairs for both adults and kids then bring them. We ended up sitting on the ground while waiting.
If your child is young then don’t stay for Santa
We tried to time it to get to the parade route and not have to wait long. It didn’t work since the parade was delayed which meant we ended up leaving before the end of the parade. My son doesn’t even know or care about Santa so no big deal.
Don’t arrive too early
Some parents and kids will try to arrive at the parade route well before the parade in order to secure a good spot. If you and your kids can handle waiting 1 hour or more then more power to you. My son is not capable of waiting around that long. We went later on and still had to wait too long. If I could do it again I would have gone much later, stayed for a reasonable amount of time (1 hour max) and then went home.
In Toronto, the parade is held downtown so driving is not a good idea. If you do drive then I would follow the following suggestions:
- Don’t try to cross the parade route.
- Consider parking a distance from the route and take public transit the rest of the way. This might be a good approach if you are coming from far away.
- Ride a bike. I only mention this one because that’s how we got down there. 20 minutes there, 20 minutes to get home – it was awesome.
This rule didn’t matter this year since it was so warm. However some years it can be cold and wet. Bring lots of clothes and rainwear!
For you Santa Claus parade vets – can you provide any more tips or experiences you’ve had with the Santa Claus parade?
As always – pictures were taken with my Canon 200sx digital camera.
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