With the Holidays fast approaching, I decided the best way to kick off the holiday season is with a list of our favorite traditions!
1) Florida Everblades – Teddy Bear Toss
Our favorite new tradition is the Fort Myers minor league hockey team’s Teddy Bear Toss! Each year, the Florida Everblades celebrate the holidays while giving back to those in need. Each attendee is asked to bring a stuffed animal to toss onto the ice once the Everblades score their first goal of the game! Each year we get to watch the bears “literally rain” from the rafters as everyone hurls their bear onto the ice. The Everblades objective is to donate as many stuffed animals as possible to the children of the local children’s hospital. Every year we purchase our bears from our local Jared jewelry store and Jared donates the bear proceeds back to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Teddy Bear Toss night is a great event for the whole family, and my parents usually join on the fun as well! We are sad that we will not be able to attend this year, but we cannot wait to make our return to the Toss in 2020! We highly encourage anyone living or visiting Southwest Florida to attend the Teddy Bear Toss night on December 14th 2019.
2) Christmas Shows in Naples, FL
Every year we attend at least one Christmas show to help us get into the Holiday spirit! Naples, Florida is home to a beautiful art gallery and theatre called the Naples Artis, and during the Holiday season they offer a variety of Christmas events. We have seen the Russian Nutcracker, Mannheim Steamroller, and Holidays Pops over the past three years. Holiday Pops is a Christmas show put on by the Naples Philharmonic, Naples Philharmonic Choir, and local Choir children. Each show was worth every penny, and their art gallery always has beautiful pieces to view. The Naples Artis gift shop is typically open during the shows allowing for some great Christmas shopping. My mother and I have both eyed some beautiful jewelry pieces made by artists featured in the gallery as well as from local businesses in town! If you are looking for something to do in Southwest Florida, you can’t miss going to the Naples Artis for one of their many Holiday shows. It is one of those things that we go out of our way to make sure we attend.
3) A trip to Disney World
This, quite possibly, could be our favorite tradition on this list! Our Holiday season is NEVER complete without a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Each year we enjoy my favorite holiday, Christmas, at the Happiest Place on Earth. There is no part of Disney World that is not prepared for the holiday season. For those that love venturing to the parks, Magic Kingdom is a must see! As you stroll down Main Street USA you will have a spectacular view of the castle covered with Christmas lights. You will also notice the festive feel, as only Disney can provide, with “falling snow” flowing overhead of Main Street USA. Our other favorite park to see is Epcot. Epcot hosts the “Festival of the Holidays” which boasts great tasting portions of holiday dishes, as well as demonstrations of Christmas traditions from around the world! The Candlelight Processional is also a not-to-be missed event at Epcot. Each performance has a different celebrity reading the Christmas story and various school choirs singing carols throughout. It is truly magical! For those that do not enjoy the parks but still want to experience Disney, stop by Disney Springs and take a stroll through the Christmas tree walk next to the marketplace. Each tree has themed decorations from various Disney movies. Disney Springs also hosts meet-and-greets with Santa and has countless shops for everyone on your list! My family personally loves the bath bombs from Basin. These make terrific stocking stuffers! Traveling to Disney World has become much easier for us now that we live in Florida. BUT everyone should try to make the trip at least once in their life to witness the Holiday magic that only Disney can create.
4) Christmas Cookies
Who doesn’t love cookies?!?! I LOVE to bake and Christmas is the perfect time for it! My dad and I continue my grandmother’s tradition of making cookies each year. We make our two family favorites, ice box cookies and Spritz cookies. My mother and I also make her mother’s sugar cookies with cookie cutters that have been passed down through the generations. It always is great fun when we gather around to ice them after the baking is complete! You can always tell who has decorated what cookies and my dad always acts as the photographer and official cookie taster. Outside of these family favorites, I keep myself busy making several other cookies including gingerbread, snickerdoodles, chocolate covered Oreo balls, and Kolache for Kyle.
5) Matching Christmas Apparel
Our last Christmas tradition for this list is matching Christmas day apparel. Our first year in Florida, Kyle and I had both purchased each other the same matching Vineyard Vines shirts without realizing it. Thankfully I gave him our…..Ever since then, we have gotten matching Vineyard Vines gear! They have great long sleeve logo tees that are comfortable and cute for the whole day. Each year they sport different designs and this will be our fourth year in a row of matching Christmas shirts! We also decided to do a bonus match day at Disney this year. We fell in love with the Buffalo Check Mickey hat and Minnie ears when we visited Disney this past November. We will be posting pictures in our matching accessories after our trip in the beginning of December, along with our Vineyard Vines tees on Christmas morning!
To see all of our Christmas fun this year, as well as, pictures from our past years of holiday cheer, follow along on Instagram!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Cheers to a Healthy New Year!