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 (another tradition that I grew up with that he hates!)

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.


Christina: The holiday season is always my favorite time of year!   From the moment the calendar hits November through the New Year, I am focused on all things festive!  By Thanksgiving, I like to have our home decorated for Christmas so we can enjoy the décor and set the tone for the season.

With both my husband and I coming from large extended families, we try to celebrate Thanksgiving with as much family as possible.  In order to make our rounds, we usually spend multiple days celebrating Thanksgiving.  Each of our families will host a Thanksgiving feast and we’ll get to share the day with many of our aunts, uncles and cousins.

On Thanksgiving Day, we begin by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  While the floats and musical acts are great, our favorite part of the parade is when excerpts from Broadway Shows are performed!  We then meet-up with our immediate families and share another Thanksgiving meal!  Recently we’ve taken advantage of several local restaurants and let them do our Thanksgiving cooking.  We love the ease of these Holiday take-out meals!

What is Thanksgiving weekend without Black Friday Shopping?  Although I do a lot of shopping online, I still find myself visiting a few brick-and-mortar stores for the on-site sales.  It’s a tradition that my mom enjoys a lot and I’m happy to accompany her when I can!



Frances: Me and my husband were born and raised in the same town with similar family cultures. So we were used to spending the day with our whole family, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and neighbors. After we were done eating the most amazing food, we would go hang out at Walmart for pre-black Friday deals.

Since moving to Orlando, our Thanksgiving tradition has evolved into something very different. All of our family members live in Puerto Rico and plane tickets get crazy expensive during the holidays. We have since then come up with a new tradition and it started 3 years ago. For Thanksgiving break we travel to Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area and have Thanksgiving lunch at Whole Foods, but not just any Whole Foods, it’s the one located in Alexandria, V.A., it has a lot of meaning for us. Then we head out to go Ice Skating in Pentagon Row, Arlington, V.A., another place that means a lot to us. Finally, we have a chinese style Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house. The few days before and after Thanksgiving, we spend them visiting Washington D.C. This year we might take a little detour and visit NYC. for a day or two.


Sarah: My family and I have lived in Florida for about a decade. We don’t have any family in this area, so that always makes celebrating the holidays a little different. I think a lot of families in the area can relate to that! My husband and I took this as an opportunity to really take the reins and create our own unique holiday traditions for our family!

Since there are only 4 of us, making a big Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t practical. So one of our favorite traditions has been to either cater in a Thanksgiving meal from one of our favorite restaurants to enjoy at home (Cooper’s Hawk has been a favorite of ours!) Or, we make reservations at a local restaurant for our Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner, we take the opportunity to visit Disney World in our Christmas attire and get our photos taken in front of the castle for our upcoming Christmas cards and enjoy the rest of the day hanging out at Disney!



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.




Tea: The holidays are our favorite time of the year because we get to visit our extended families in Louisiana, enjoy great food and create new memories together. My parents make the best Southern dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, and my husband bakes his mom’s famous Pecan & Sweet Potato Pies. We then watch football and go see a Christmas light show.

For Christmas, we’ve been putting up the same tree for years! #TeamFakeTree..lol We fill the tree with lights and all of the kids’ ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Unwrapping their ornaments is like taking a trip in time because each one represents a special memory in our family. We also attend a Christmas Eve church service and decorate cookies for Santa while wearing our cozy, Christmas pajamas.
On Christmas day, we enjoy spending time with our sweet peas assembling new toys, playing video games and watching movies.

Kelly: One tradition I have kept for as long as I can remember is always making sure the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on the TV. There is something so magical about marching bands, fantastical floats, and giant balloons.

Over the past few years I have started to host my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I go all out and spatchcock my turkey! Then I use an incredible dry rub brine from Alton Brown’s cookbook. It’s the most flavorful, juiciest, golden bird in all the land! Fair warning though, a spatchcocked turkey is no joke. I’ve had to upgrade to a pretty heavy duty pair of tin cutters to get the job done year after year.
Something else unique to my family is that we eat on Saturday. My family is made up of mostly first responders and they’re usually working on holidays. This has actually worked out well, as I have plenty of time to tune into the Thanksgiving Day parade all while preparing casseroles, starting the turkey brine, and making desserts at a leisurely pace before our big get together over the weekend.

Candace: Our Thanksgiving traditions have changed a little over the years.  But a few things have stayed the same.  One thing that I have always enjoyed is getting up and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I watched it with my Grandmother when I was growing up and it just makes me feel a little closer to home. I cook for our immediate family while watching the parade. I enjoy being in the kitchen making all the different dishes. My kids and my husband have become professional taste testers. 

After we all eat lunch, I start making my Black Friday shopping list. I meet up with my Sister-in-Law & Mother-in-Law and we start our fun tradition of shopping til we drop. We celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday as a whole family.  There is a whole day of family, food, & football. Our family is pretty traditional when it comes to Christmas. Although I do tend to go overboard with the decorations, I somehow add a Christmas tree of some size or color each year (I just put them up like they’ve always been there). I have a different themed tree for every room in our house. My favorite room is The Grinch room. The kids have a tree that they decorate with the ornaments that they’ve made throughout their childhood.

On Christmas Eve my sister in law and niece come over, we all put on our matching pjs and make Reindeer Food. Even though I have teenagers now they LOVE this tradition and look forward to it each year. After watching The Grinch, we set up milk and cookies for Santa and snacks for the reindeer and the kids head to bed. On Christmas morning the kids are always up bright and early opening gifts. My husband then cooks breakfast while I take all the pictures. To end our day every year, my favorite tradition is, we go to my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law’s with all the kids and grandkids.  It’s just so nice having everyone together in the same place, especially since 5 of the grandkids are adults now.


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