Boy decorating a gingerbread house

Gingerbread house construction

Along with some of the other DC Moms, I was invited to take my family to a Christmas in July media preview event last weekend at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at the National Harbor. We were given a brief presentation announcing this year’s ICE! theme Shrek the Halls. We were then treated to some of the fun activities that will be going on in the hotel from November 16th to January 6th.

There were cotton candy and popcorn, ice-cold drinks and hot chocolate, sweet treats (and some welcome fresh fruit). We met Dreamworks characters: Shrek himself, Princess Fiona, the Gingerbread Man, and Puss in Boots. We had gingerbread houses to decorate.  The kids even had a chance to get in an advance word with the man himself,  Santa Claus. My children were not in the least fazed by the unseasonality of it all, and happily made the most of everything on offer.

Once we’d squeezed every smidge of frosting onto our house and made sure that Mr Claus had noted all our demands (Mabel wants a princess), we were treated to some of the National Harbor’s summer activities by the water. I’m sure those who had carefully planned all this were exasperated when, instead of a glorious summer’s day to enjoy boat rides on the Potomac and let our children play in the sand around the “buried man,” we found ourselves huddled under the shade canopy sheltering from driving rain in temperatures 15 degrees lower than normal for July. But we made the most of it, and the sangria, hot dogs, yogurt, and sandwiches fortified us to stand in line while all the kids demanded balloon animals and face painting. (I have to give a special mention to the face painter. She was a cut above any other we’ve seen.)

We were serenaded by a damp Chesapeake Orchestra and entertained by a man on stilts and a lady who got the children all spinning plates on sticks. Weather notwithstanding, they had a ball. The National Harbor is definitely on my list of places to go back to some weekend afternoon this summer when the climate is a little more conducive to having a good time.

You can find out more about Christmas on the Potomac 2012 and ICE! Shrek the Halls on the Gaylord National website. If you’re the sort of person who likes to have everything for your holiday season planned well in advance, take advantage of the early-bird price for ICE! by buying your tickets before October 1st.

There’s a more personal description of our day at the harbor (and the face-painting photos) on my own blog. Fellow members of TheDCMoms share their experiences: Aimee at Out By Ten and Thien-Kim at  I’m Not the Nanny. ICE! looks set to be a spectacular event for the holiday season, and I’m sure many of us will be heading out to the Gaylord National to see the whole thing in action when the time comes.

When she’s not being handed media packets and pretending to be a professional mommy, Christine is just a regular mommy blogging as (Not) Maud at Awfully Chipper about muffins, boobs, and naps, among other things. Gaylord National and the National Harbor generously treated Christine and her family to this damp afternoon of fun. Photos are her own.