because life has ups and downs…
Christmas is a time for family. It’s a time to be present with the ones you love. Ever since our oldest daughter graduated from college and started her career at Disney World in Orlando, we have made the trip for some family fun in the sun. Disney never disappoints, especially during the holidays.
We have done this enough years now that we have favorite Disney holiday treats and experiences. I mean- if you haven’t had the opportunity to sing Christmas carols with Father Christmas in the United Kingdom Pavillion at Epcot, you’re missing out!
We’re a blended family. We have kids from previous marriages and a daughter together, so there’s always more than one holiday gathering. The Disney celebration includes the kids from my side of our family while my husband’s boys get a chance to celebrate the holidays with their mother’s family. As anyone with a blended family knows, there’s an art to organizing the schedule so that everyone has an opportunity to be together. When it comes down to it, that’s what it’s all about- being together with loved ones.
We did something this year that a few people have questioned. We invited my older kids’ dad to join us in Florida. Yep- we invited my ex-husband for Christmas at Disney World. I’m here to tell you that we didn’t do anything extraordinary. We simply invited family- and he’s family- to celebrate Christmas together. While he has brothers, he doesn’t have any other immediate family. We all get along great- no horror stories to tell. Truth be told, my husband and I have been married longer than I was ever with my ex. We thought it was the perfect way to bring joy to both his holiday and ours. We didn’t see it as some grand gesture. We just didn’t want him to be alone for the holidays when he could celebrate with his kids, our kids.
It took a bit of prodding to get a confirmation from him to join us this year. Maybe he was concerned he’d feel out-of-place. Maybe he thought he’d be imposing on our tradition. Maybe he was afraid it would be weird. Up until a couple of weeks before our trip, he was still wavering on the fence. Finally, he agreed to join us.
The accommodations that were previously arranged included adjoining rooms with the possibility of another person, so that was not a problem at all. We try to stay at different Disney properties for every visit. We booked rooms at Coronado Springs and they were awesome! The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas with a huge tree featuring an angel on top. We were greeted with fresh cookies upon arrival. As usual, every cast member that we encountered was friendly, helpful, and courteous. Nothing like staying on the Disney property.
We had a new guest this year who had never been to Disney over the holidays, so it was fun to help him explore all of the Christmas offerings at the different parks. There were no limits- we were just one big family enjoying the holiday together. We had dinner on Christmas Eve at the Wilderness Lodge. We opened gifts in our hotel room. We rode the rides together. We laughed together. We celebrated the holidays with gratitude and love for one another.
If you have a blended family, you may be wondering if this kind of thing is possible for you. Everyone’s situation is different, so you’ll have to do some soul-searching to see if could work for you. We have very friendly relationships with all sides of our family. I see it as a gift. I also know that we are fortunate and that other families don’t have the same gift. If you can get to the sweet spot in your family dynamics, do it. Do it sooner rather than later. Do it for your kids and stepkids. Do it for your ex. Do it for your spouse. Do it for yourself. It’s worth it.