Florida Guide > Hints and Tips
Suggestions for Christmas Presents
One of our favourite ways of spending Christmas (apart from staying at our beautiful villa! ) is to go on a Caribbean cruise. As our villa is normally booked for the Christmas and New Year period, we have often gone on a cruise whilst it is occupied.
However, transporting Christmas presents right across the Atlantic can prove a little problematic, as now the luggage allowance is so limited, every gramme counts! Mind you, the shopping around the Orlando area at Christmas is so brilliant that there is little that we can buy in the UK which isn’t cheaper in Florida, and anyway, we love shopping at the various malls, so it’s no hardship to shop for presents when we get there.
So here are a few ideas to help you.
First, if you are going on a Caribbean cruise, or if you are staying in a villa and visiting the theme parks, then a camera is absolutely essential, so why not buy your nearest and dearest a new digital camera? It doesn’t have to be expensive, as there are plenty of cameras on the market to suit all pockets. Don’t forget to look in Duty Free at the UK airports as they often have some great deals. Consider an underwater camera, too, as if you are going to Discovery Cove to see the dolphins, or snorkelling at one of your Caribbean destinations, you will need a waterproof camera to take pictures of all those amazing fish etc.
My second suggestion is a Kindle, or other E-reader. Since acquiring one I never go anywhere without it, as its so light and portable, and easy to use on a beach or at a theme park, whilst waiting in a long queue. It is so much easier to read a kindle in bright sunlight, or lying on a beautiful beach, as you never lose your place, and the pages don’t flap about in the breeze. For those who already own a Kindle, a gift voucher for books makes a great present, and you don’t have to wrap it!
My third suggestion if you are going on a cruise is a set of walkie talkies. For us Brits, using our mobile phones is out of the question, as it is so expensive, so walkie talkies can provide a great way of communicating with members of the family on a large ship. However, do make sure you buy one with lots of sub-channels, to avoid interference, as you won’t be the only family using one. Make sure you buy these in the USA – Walmart and Target stock them and they are very reasonably priced.
My fourth suggestion is a little pricey, but invaluable on holiday – an I-Pad, or an I-Pad Mini! Since buying one I have been able to leave my heavy brick of a laptop at home, and it is so much more flexible as it also has a camera which can take videos as well as still photos. It’s also great for downloading movies or TV programmes on, or music. Do it before you leave the UK from a site like the BBC I-Player, so that you have something to watch on the flight if there are few decent movies available. You can also download your photos onto the I-pad, as long as you remember to buy the little gadget from the apple store which enables you to download photos from your SDHC cards.
For children, why not buy them a journal in which they can write about their trip? Buy one from Walmart or Target, and get them to document their holiday. Don’t forget a glue stick so they can stick things into their book.
Don’t forget that there will be plenty of things to purchase on board your cruise ship, or from the fantastic theme park shops in Orlando. There are Theme Park outlet shops at the Premium Outlet Malls in Orlando, which have lost of bargains. If you purchase gifts on board your ship then you will have a wide range of ship memorabilia to choose from, as well as items such as jewellery and perfume. You could also purchase massages, facials, pedicures etc from some of the amazing spas available onboard your ship.
If you decide to bring presents with you, and you are flying, then make sure you don’t pack expensive and valuable items in your hold luggage, as they could disappear en-route. Pack these items in your hand luggage, so you know where they are at all times. Of course, it is best to only carry lightweight items, as you will be limited for weight. Don’t wrap these items in case Security want to inspect them. You can purchase wrapping paper and sellotape easily once you arrive. If you decide to pack items in your suitcases then split them between the whole group, so that if one suitcase goes astray, or is delayed, then all will not be lost.
We have found that all the shops in Orlando have amazing sales just before Christmas, with 50% or 40% discounts being common, so you will have no shortage of places to go shopping at. Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch have sales the like of which you will never see in the UK, with shop-wide discounts.
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