I’ve really been dragging on the telling of our “Skipping Christmas” Story, and here’s why:
1. Since arriving back home, I’ve had very little time to do anything but celebrate Christmas with all of those people we were running away from. But seriously, if you ever plan on “skipping” any holidays, make sure that you arrive back home WELL after said holiday. Preferably, in the next month. If we came home in January (as per original plan), no one would have remembered little old Christmas, and we would have gotten away with our master plan. But, our families weren’t having it. So, it wasn’t until AFTER we rung in the New Year that I actually got a chance to write anything.
2. I’m not going to lie, I think that I have a little bit of Post Traumatic Stress from the whole tour. I needed a little time to let it all settle in. Time to let the flashbacks and tremor-inducing nightmares fade away. OK, it wasn’t that bad, but still… I needed a little time.
So, where do I start? How do I tell the story of two insane-kid filled families who decide to drive to Florida and spend 13 days together in one house, at Christmas? I have no idea. So, I think I’ll do it in pictures. Here goes…
Picture 1. Upon arrival, we noticed one thing: Floridians (at least where we were) do NOT do Christmas like us Canadians. There were no ridiculous Griswold-like displays of lights, no tacky blow up penguins or snowmen, and NO big fat Santa on anyone’s roof. There were a few very tasteful garlands on some of the houses, but NOTHING else. Maybe they count their millions of billboards about Jesus as year-round Christmas decorating, but we Canadians, DO NOT! We knew we had to tacky up the place. We found some gloriously hideous light-up candy canes. I was hoping for snowmen but they don’t do snow or snowmen in Florida. Duh!
Picture 2: What’s Christmas without a Christmas tree? The kids made their own decorations, and we found the rest at the dollar store.
Picture 3: Final product. Isn’t she lovely?
With our decorating done it was time to get on with the vacation part of the program. Time to do the tourist thing.
Picture 4: Fun Spot. An amusement park that luckily for us, was like a ghost town. There were practically no other visitors on the day we went. We were able to do all the rides, again and again, and enjoy a crowd-free day. It was great. Here is a picture of the kids (minus Millie) on one of the rides. Can you see the excitement in their faces?
Picture 5: The highlight of Fun Spot. Go Karts!
Picture 6: Since Millie couldn’t really go on too many rides in any of the amusement parks we visited, most of my pictures of her look like this:
Millie eating snacks. Her favourite: popcorn!
Picture 7: Disney. There is a ton I can say about Disney World, but I fear that I’d swear too much, and offend almost every Mickey Mouse lover in the world. This was our second time visiting the Magic Kingdom, and I will say, it was better than the first. This time we (and by we, I mean Melissa who LOVES Disney) got a chance to dance with the characters and get their autographs. BIG highlight for her, and we teased her to no end about that later. Here is a picture of the kids dancing in the streets.
The kids had a blast. But as you can see, our “big kid” in the group, had the most fun! We love her to pieces for this. She was there front and centre at every random dance party, busting out her moves to get the kids amped. You go, girl!
Picture 8: Autographs and meeting characters. This was the highlight! Natalie and Jadyn meeting Minnie. Big deal people, BIG DEAL!
Picture 9: For me, this picture sums up my own personal experience of Disney. This is our family picture in front of the castle. Natalie has sunscreen in her eye, Millie doesn’t care in the least that she’s here, and Jack just wants to get a move on and do “stuff.” My face says it all. Cursing is happening on the inside.
We managed to stay the day, and into the evening when we saw the electrical parade (which was great) and then wrestled the crowds to escape before the fireworks ended. It took forever, and when we got home, the kids were put to bed, and we adults indulged in a few well-deserved alcoholic beverages. Mission complete.
Picture 10: Beach day! We drove to Clearwater for a bit of sun and sand. The kids collected shells, played in the ocean and I got to do some shopping.
The kids also played mini golf, went to Dinosaur World and the Aquarium. I skipped these events, so that I could regain some composure and not get thrown into a jail cell before Christmas. Seriously, I can’t do that much chaos and survive. I knew that, so I stayed home and cleaned and organized the house that was in a complete state of emergency.
Tourist attractions complete. Now it’s time for Christmas. The kids spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day swimming and hanging out. The kids were geared up for Santa and we adults just drank away the pain of how insane things had gotten. Christmas eve we had a Christmas carol dance party and then everyone went to bed.
Picture 11: This is a picture of the kids acting out their version of what happens on Christmas Eve. I give you Santa and his reindeer.
Christmas morning went well. The kids were happy. They went swimming and played with their new toys. We made dinner.
Picture 12: Christmas dinner.
It was all over. The next day we would start to clean everything up, and get ready to leave at the crack of dawn on the 27th. We survived! We laughed, we cried, we made it through a very long trip with some very rambunctious kids. Ahhh…the emotional scars, they will last forever.
Final picture. This is how I made it through. Christmas day in yoga attire with a bottle of cheapo bandito sparkling wine.