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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Celebrating Christmas in Orlando – Part 4 – Advent calendars and Christmas cards

Whether it is ourselves spending Christmas in our home, or some excited guests, we always try to prepare our home to make it feel welcoming and festive, and we know from guests’ comments that they are always thrilled and overwhelmed by our preparations.

One of my favourite Christmas decorations is our Advent House, which I actually found at Cracker Barrel, in their fascinating shop, and which we use every year. Made of wood with 24 windows, each with shutters, it is very traditionally designed, in typical American style. Behind each window we put a little gift or sweet for our guests’ children, and we know, from their comments afterwards that they have been delighted with them.

I have never seen a traditional advent calendar in Orlando, such as we buy in the UK, made of cardboard with famous brand name chocolates behind each ‘window. ’ I always take over one each for any visiting guests’ children, so that when they arrive at our home the first thing they can do is open their windows to find their chocolate gift.

For some, going to church is an important part of celebrating Christmas, and there are churches of all denominations close by our home. Most have websites, and information about special services is usually easy to locate. As in the UK, the celebrations usually centre on the Midnight Service on Christmas Eve, after which the wonderful sound of the Christmas church bells ringing brings in the new dawn of Christmas Day.

Like at home, there is usually a flurry of cleaning, decorating, baking and wrapping of presents on Christmas Eve. One American tradition which is much appreciated by children is the reading of ‘Night Before Christmas. ’

Of course, the giving of Christmas cards is important, no matter where you are, and I usually make sure I have special ones for each member of the family packed ready in my suitcase. However, there is a huge range of Christmas cards readily available in all the shops, and you will find individual cards as well as boxes to choose from. Should you be lucky enough to be in Orlando over Christmas you will find a flood of sales which start straight after Christmas Day, on Boxing Day, where you will be able to purchase all manner of Christmas items at very much reduced prices.

So even if you are not at home, you can still celebrate Christmas in a traditional way.
Rita Fraser

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Page added on: 25 January 2013
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