We have started a family tradition by attending the annual Teddy Bear Tea in Casper, WY. I was clueless about this event until I became a parent. When I did learn of it, I was a little intimidated to take my small children to an occasion so proper sounding. I was hooked after our first Teddy Bear Tea and we have regularly attended over the past 4 years.
The Teddy Bear Tea takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving at the Wyoming Athletic Club. The doors open late in the afternoon and guests are invited to attend the open house style party during a 2 hour window of time. This perfectly compliments afternoon nap time and creates a no-pressure atmosphere. A new teddy bear is the price of admission and children are invited to take part in a plethora of activities including an opportunity for a sneak peak of the Festival of Trees which benefits the Special Olympics of Wyoming. Here are the reasons I love attending the Teddy Bear Tea:
A Chance to Support a Good Cause
The Teddy Bear Tea gives our children the opportunity to learn about and support the Special Olympics, as well as interact with the athletes. This is important to Daddy D and me because we want Kiddo A and Baby B to understand that people come in many different shapes and sizes. We also want them to know that they can advocate for a good cause no matter their age or size. They may not fully understand or appreciate these concepts yet, but they eventually will and we hope planting the seeds early will help.
A Lesson in Giving
We allow our children to hand over the new teddy bear we have purchased to get into the party. They are given the responsibility of “paying” our way as well as the experience of parting with something they would like to keep. My mom always told me that the best gifts to give were the ones you would like to have for your own. Kiddo A was very proud to give our bear this year and both of our children were very interested in the Teddy Bear Tree which was made up of all the donated toys. They got to see their contribution among many others, giving weight to the spirit of gifting and what that looks like when compounded for an inspirational reason.
A Legit Mr. & Mrs. Claus
I love Santa and his bride at the Teddy Bear Tea. So does Kiddo A, and I have full faith that Baby B will join us in this fondness when she overcomes her looming “stranger danger” of the duo. Mr. and Mrs. Claus are so kind to our children during this event. They take the time to visit, are amazing about posing for a ton of pictures, and they smell nice. I prefer this Santa visit to that of the mall and I hope this part of the Teddy Bear Tea never changes.
A Meeting with the Princesses
Along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus our kiddos get to meet with beautiful princesses at the Teddy Bear Tea. Surprisingly, Kiddo A enjoys this just as much as Baby B. Princess Merida from Brave and Belle from Beauty and the Beast did a great job getting down to the level of my little lady so that they could waive and chat without touching. I suspect that the princesses will have plenty of photo op time with Baby B as soon as she finds the same comfort level needed to pose with the Claus family. These lovely princesses are a class act each year and they make a wonderful addition to the event.
A Beautiful Setting with Wonderful People
There is something about wandering through the themed trees to holiday music and meeting friends at this event that helps launch me into the Christmas spirit. We had grandmas in the mix with our family and friends this year. Daddy D and Seano were troopers about holding kids, taking pictures, and saving our place in line. I appreciate that this is a family friendly event where kids can be kids. Kiddo A and Big Brother N had a game of chase with other busy feet among the trees that didn’t go over well. Baby B was not the only baby to cry her eyes out more than once and I am convinced that I’ll not have another nicely posed family photo until my children are older; but I cherish these imperfect times in my reflections, knowing how quickly they will continue to fade.
A Chance to Vote
Just like supporting a good cause, I like that our children have the opportunity to vote because I believe it is important. They have the chance to voice their opinion about their favorite tree theme. Little red voting bags are placed by each tree where you can drop the tags you are given at check in. Baby B fell in love with some small animals on a traditional tree and the boys quickly voted for their uncontested favorite: a super-hero themed display!
There are treats to enjoy at the Teddy Bear Tea, as well! This year, cute bottles of water were provided with labels that read, “Melted Snowmen” along with hot tea. The kiddos got in on some yummy cookies while they waited for their photos with Santa. Baby B was covered in crumbs from her oatmeal cookie by the time we got to the front of the line, but thankfully a friend saved the day with some wet wipes! (Thanks, Heidi!)
Even though we make a Sunday afternoon commitment, this event is always a joy. Our children love it and the occasion has become one of our most favorite routine holiday events. You can visit the Special Olympics Wyoming webpage for more information and I personally encourage you to attend the Teddy Bear Tea next year!
If you have attended the Teddy Bear Tea, what are your favorite parts? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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