My Christmas spirit has arrived, friends. It showed up, appropriately enough, on Black Friday morning while I was listening to timeless Nat "King" Cole sing the timeless "Christmas Song." How fitting is that?

It got me to thinking about the Christmas traditions my family used to love and, of course, the ones we created.

When I was a kid, back in the 70s, I remember Santa Claus Land (Holiday World in its previous incarnation) being open year-round.

We'd pile in the old Mercury (after piling ON the winter clothes) and head up to Santa Claus.

We hit all the hot spots (cold spots?) like the candy store and the post office.

And, of course, once we got inside the park, we rode what few rides there were. And there weren't many and they were just for kids.

There was lunch at Kringle's Cafe--which will be gone by next season--and then a tour of the old museum, the toy store, and a visit with Santa Claus.

And, by the way, that's back when Kringle's Cafe offered up cafeteria food.

We had a blast. We were cold. But we had a blast

Great memories from Santa Claus Land.

(Part 1 in a series of Dave Spencer's Christmas Memories)