Missing the old Christmas holiday, the one which is designed to pattern a child for decades to come with visions of sugar plums, songs deeply imprinted filling a young heart with love and of course the  jolly old elf himself? Well I found where that kind of spirit lives and you can bring your children to stay in a fabulous historic hotel on the side of a lake to immerse yourselves in holiday festivities for a day or a week.

Eggs, bacon, sausage, and a huge strawberry start succumbing to gravity as the breakfast plate tipped to a terrifying angle towards the floor. In the one hand of a four year old all dressed in candy striped tights, a red Christmas dress, and shiny black shoes reaching for yet another goody, it seemed that disaster was imminent. A long arm reached down from over the table, leveled the plate, disaster averted. Only knee high above the floor the holiday table was truly a groaning board laden with every possible temptation for brunch. Decorated with piles of Christmas ornaments, swags of cedar, elf figurines, surrounded by children serving themselves with eyes bigger than stomachs, this was the Knee High Christmas Brunch with Santa at the Osthoff Resort. Every little face radiated that dreams really do come true.

Holiday cheer filled added to the festivities as a live elf played tunes on a piano as carols were sung by pretty much everyone in the room, including me. All the  while Mr. and Mrs. Clause roamed around the room delivering messages of joy and cheer to children of all ages. Dozens of elves assisted as children with their treat laden plates as they climbed up into chairs. I loved watching as they wrestled with the delicious problem of where to start on the miraculous wonder they had assembled at the knee high groaning board. Any rules of nutrition were cancelled for this day, and all the kids in the room could hardly believe their luck!

As parents carefully guided smiling faces towards another knee high table, the children were presented with not-too-hot chocolate surrounded by bowls of marshmallows, peppermints, cinnamon nuggets, chocolate chips, brightly colored sprinkles and whipped cream in candy striped containers. Endless confections could be made from the dozens of ingredients enticingly waiting in bowls. The kids were grinning, tap dancing and round eyed as they dipped spoons into sugary possibilities adding to the mug of hot chocolate. It was a delicious bit of crazy concoction making that was truly a delight to the adults watching as well as the kids carefully carrying precious cargo back to their holiday tables.

Outside the dining hall awaited Santa, the perfect Santa right down to the apple cheeks, flowing beard and dimples. Sincere little faces gazed adoringly up at Santa as they spoke of their Christmas wishes. He held them on his lap and listened as if each child was the only person in the world. As they left Santa, each child was given a small hand decorated stocking with a treat inside created by the staff at the Osthoff. They carried these precious gifts filled with holiday wonder, eyes twinkling with glee as they moved to yet another room for the next event of this magical day… the cookie decorating room. What a wonderland of creativity lay on the tables throughout that room, with elves ready to assist if asked, making sure that all material for making individual personalized Christmas treats were at hand.

The chef  and his elves at Osthoff Resort had made hundreds of sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees, reindeer, ornaments and Santas. Each child decorated with bowls of sprinkles, candies, cinnamon chunks and every manner of festive edible decorations. With pride and excitement grinning children worked away at their sweet projects, creating plates full of yummy treats, their own contributions to the holiday. The focus and attention to detail by the artisans was my own special holiday treat.

Outside the festivities continued with the Annual Old World Christmas Market. A tent the size of a football field had been decorated in every possible way for the holiday. An authentic Christkindlemarkt, reminiscent of the German celebration with veiner schnitzel & bratwurst, local beers, and sweet flakey kringle. Tall sparkling live trees scent and holiday music filled the air while Russian dolls, Czech blown glass, kissing balls, fresh wreathes and hand knit sweaters were presented as gift ideas. It was a small old fashioned handmade world created just for the holidays and like Brigadoon would vanish in 10 days.

Beyond the borders of this magical world lay another hidden treasure, the town of Elkhart Lake. Famous for road racing in the fifties through the streets of town, it remains a mecca for sports car lovers world over. It deserves credit as a magnet for foodies and fun lovers as well though, with a home town feel but a very sophisticated sense of style and a highly developed palate.

Osthoff Resort https://www.elkhartlake.com/accommodations/osthoff-resort/

Christmas Festival at the Osthoff Resort https://www.christmasmarketatosthoff.com/

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin www.elkhartlake.com