Holiday Traditions: Orlando Mom Style

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Our Orlando Mom team LOVES the holiday season! We thought it would be fun to share some of our traditions with you! We’d love to hear how your family celebrates the holidays too! Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!

Check out traditions from our Orlando Mom Collective team!

 

Eryn Vargo, Owner, Orlando Mom

Eryn: We are a very traditional family. While my husband does not really care for the extreme decor in our home, I have always done it and the kids expect it. We make it fun and do it together.

We love to get hot cocoa and drive around to see lights and we go to the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian every year.

We are a “multi tree” family (LOL- my husband hates this!). We have one real one with all of the kids ornaments over the years (this is BY FAR my favorite thing about Christmas) and a fake “pretty” tree.

In addition to church on Christmas Eve, the kids get a Christmas box with a new book and jammies and hot cocoa and they get to unwrap a present before bed.

Our kids love making reindeer food and setting out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. On Christmas morning, the kids dive into their Santa gifts (unwrapped- a tradition that I carried from my parents) and their stockings.

Since we have a Christmas baby (yep! 8:21AM), we have gifts separate for the birthday boy. When he was younger, we split the day, but now that he is older, he prefers to do it all at once! These simple traditions are so important to me and my children.

 

Allison: We always get the girls new monogrammed Christmas pajamas from The Blue Sage on Etsy and never wake up anywhere but home on Christmas morning.

I make white chocolate peppermint rolls (I can make a post for the recipe) and we watch the Disney Christmas parade after opening presents.

For our first year in Florida we are going to eat Christmas Eve brunch at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian and will continue to do that because we love the Poly and the food!

 

 

 

 

Amanda: Our family has pretty traditional Christmas traditions. We go to church on Christmas Eve, unwrap a present before bed, and leave milk + cookies out for Santa.

The bedtime present is always pajamas and a book. It’s the same tradition my parents had for my sister and me when we were kids.

On Christmas morning, the kids open their stockings first and then dive into the presents (once mom & dad have had a chance to fully wake up).

We eat traditional Christmas ham and spend the afternoon going for a walk or a hike.

 

 

 

 

Nancy: As the first generation of my family in this country, it’s important to carry on the traditions my parents brought from Cuba.  They all center around a lot of family, food and music.

Oh and about the food…
Many countries like Cuba and Puerto Rico have a long standing tradition of roasting a pig on Christmas Eve which in Spanish is referred to as, “Noche Buena.”   So, we will be roasting a whole pig in my backyard in downtown Orlando as we do every year.   It was a pretty shocking scene for my kids at first but they’ve grown accustomed to it and appreciate this connection to their heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah: Our Christmas traditions have evolved over the years, but a few things have remained the same, like our tree. We are team fake tree in our house, and we have a ton of eclectic ornaments that we decorate with.

My parents began giving us an ornament every year with our Christmas presents back in high school, so that when we moved out into a place of our own we’d have some. Each ornament is representative of something special, be it a family vacation or another meaningful event. Another thing we do in our house is church on Christmas Eve.

We love the candlelight service, and now that our kids are getting a little older we’re able to involve them more in it.

Then on Christmas morning when we open gifts, my husband and I hand them out one by one so our kids have the chance to open their present and thank whomever it is from. It drives my husband nuts, but that’s one tradition that I took from my dad who did this when we were growing up.

 

Alessandra: The day after Thanksgiving we pick out a tree and decorate with all of our childhood ornaments.

We bake tons of cookies and make holiday cookie boxes for friends & family. Christmas eve we watch holiday movies (National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation is our fav) and have dinner.

We don’t do Santa Claus but we open presents in the morning, have a big breakfast and spend the day on the lake.

 

 

 

Chenoa: We have two Christmas traditions for Christmas Eve.

One is food related- we celebrate my husbands Italian heritage with Feast of the Seven Fishes. We start in the afternoon and try to get through as many fish centered dishes as possible.

Then in the evening, we celebrate a tradition my Mom created. We always stayed up late and opened presents on Christmas Eve because Hispanic households celebrate Nochebuena.

 

But she was also obsessed with books and she fell in love with the story of Santa Mouse. So while opening gifts every now and again there would be an extra special gift from Santa Mouse under the tree. Now that she’s passed, we still include a Santa Mouse gift for everyone.

 

 

Donna: For so many reasons, every year in our lives seems so different that we seem to create new “traditions” that then they don’t carry over to the next year. I guess that makes my family “non-traditional”? I’m not sure!

But I do know that one thing that does not change is Christmas Eve with all the extended family, and Christmas Morning  just for opening Santa’s gifts.  The other thing we love to do and only seem to do around the holidays in bake – especially pies. Chocolate Dream Pie and Apple Crumble are our favorites and my husband uses his favorite Mennonite recipe for a delicious, flaky pie crust.

This year a few of our family are moving up North so right after Christmas we will be hitting the road to visit them, experience some cold weather. So, we are hoping to add warm sweaters, hot chocolate, skiing and snow tubing to our list of traditions – hope these will stick!

 

 

Allyson: Our Christmas traditions have changed a little since we’ve moved to Florida 6 years ago. No more are the days rushing around to multiple houses seem different families. Now we get to enjoy Christmas morning and not go anywhere.

One thing that seems to be the same even though I always say I want to do better, is wrapping Christmas presents the night of. Everything goes under the tree Christmas Eve after everyone’s gone to bed. What makes it funnier is I’m done with my Christmas shopping by October. One thing I still continue to do is that everyone gets their own wrapping paper. This way I don’t have to deal with labels and I specifically only use santa paper for items from Santa Claus.

I do try my best to send out Christmas cards at the beginning of the month and I love to receive Christmas cards. I will leave them on the wall until March.

The last few years our Christmas tree has been decorated with stuffed animals so I don’t have to worry about my two littles playing with anything I don’t want getting damaged. I do wait to start decorating until Thanksgiving weekend as I try to enjoy fall theme after Halloween.

The other thing I enjoy doing is making pineapple zucchini spice cake muffins to give out to friends. But I haven’t had a chance to do that in recent years so instead I started doing a gingerbread house contest and a cookie exchange within my community.

 

Shelbi: Our favorite tradition is Putting out the Reindeer food on Christmas Eve.

We mix whatever we can find around the house.Most of the time it is just Oatmeal, cinnamon, sugar and a dash of glitter so the Reindeer will be sure to see it.

We wait till right before bed time and give each person in the family a jar or bag of Reindeer food and we run outside and spread it all over our yard. This always has everyone laughing and running around spreading their treats.

I did this as a child growing up and it’s a tradition I knew I wanted to keep with my own kids.

 

Coppelia: For our family, Christmas traditions include going to pick out a natural tree (the kids make the final choice within budget lol).

We also drive around to see Christmas lights (with hot chocolate even if it’s 88 degrees!)!

We pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to share with kids in need.

We go to candlelight service on Christmas Eve & open gifts on Christmas morning!

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