Congratulations! You have made it this far into the holiday season, relatively unscathed. It can be no small feat, my friend, so I commend you on getting here. If you are like me, then the lead-up to Christmas, in particular, can be some of the busiest weeks of the entire year. Sure, you’ve got your seasonal parties and get-togethers, but down here in Australia, it is also the end of the school year as we head into the summer break, which means end-of-year concerts, presentations, and all sorts of other shenanigans. In other words, all-out chaos. Add all of that the stress of traveling to spend the holidays away from home, and you can easily be caught out on those magical details that set Christmas apart from the rest of the year.
Let’s run through a few tricks to keep the next few days on track and as stress-free as possible.
If you are exchanging gifts that might be a surprise until the day of giving, try keeping them in a separate suitcase that doesn’t get opened until needed. That way, they can remain hidden in plain sight, and once you have brought them out on Christmas, you will also have the perfect sized bag to bring them home in.
For those of you leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, try making a special trip to Gideon’s Bakehouse to pick out the perfect refreshment for Saint Nick. Taking the time to enjoy the details makes the whole experience more enjoyable. While you are in Disney Springs, don’t miss the Christmas Tree Stroll as another fun and inexpensive way to spend some time. When you return to your resort, Santa might like some privacy to eat his cookie, so you might want to leave that one on the vanity so he can close the door without being watched.
I know that Disney is an expensive vacation, no matter how clever you are when it comes to planning, but I always like to incorporate some form of giving back into our Christmas. Instead of giving gifts to each other, my kids prefer to choose a charity and donate an amount in the other one’s name. They exchange a certificate they make themselves on Christmas, explaining the charity and what the money has gone toward.
Instead of an elaborate dinner one night, try setting up an impromptu picnic somewhere on the resort grounds. Have everyone discuss and choose a charity to donate the money you would have spent on table service. Give Kids the World is a great place to start if you aren’t sure. I love the family conversation that begins while children really understand what is important.
You might have seen last week in my tips for bringing the magic home for the holidays that I recommended setting the scene with a Christmas piano playlist on Spotify or even on YouTube. This is a great way to add atmosphere to a resort room as well. Set the scene with the right music on a small speaker or even straight out of your phone on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It makes an excellent backing for all those home videos you might take of present opening while adding a bit of pixie dust in the moment as well.
On another note, if one wanted to quietly leave some surprises for Christmas morning, having the kids go to sleep with music playing can help disguise the rustling sounds of wrapped presents emerging and decrease the risk of someone waking up. I’m just sayin’.
Don’t forget to read that bedtime story. Olaf’s Night Before Christmas is available as a free download to your device if you forget to bring along your traditional story. Click below to add it to your library before the 24th.
Are you at home and stumped for holiday ideas? If there is one thing we know as Disney fans it’s that planning is half the fun, so give the gift of family fun these holidays and give yourselves something to look forward to and work toward in 2022.
Turn your small family gathering into a planning party and start working on your next trip to Disney. Immerse yourselves in planning videos and fun as a family while you work through possible dates, resorts, and attractions the kids can’t wait to enjoy.
On these last days of 2021, I wish you all the happiest holiday season. I hope you stay safe and well while enjoying the company of those you love.
That’s the end of this year’s Holidays at Disney series. I’ll be back with you on Monday for one more Merch Meeting before seeing you from the other side of the new year. Till then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating.
Feature Image: Photo by Michelle Perrin Crawford
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.