Between holiday shopping, parties, school concerts, wrapping, baking, and spending time with family and friends, it can be difficult for many Disney fans to take a trip to Walt Disney World at Christmas time. But that doesn’t mean that Disney can’t be a part of your Christmas. Here are just a few ideas to bring a little bit of the joy you feel in the parks into your home and to mix some pixie dust in with your Christmas spirit.
Christmas cards. If you have visited the World during the year, one of your favorite family photos from the vacation could be the perfect Christmas card. If you are lucky enough to visit in November when Disney World has put up some of its holiday decorations, you can take a photo for your card in front of one of Disney’s several Christmas trees or giant gingerbread houses, many of which are up at the parks and resorts by Thanksgiving (although Magic Kingdom’s tree is not up until after the first weekend in December). Disney Hollywood Studio’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which typically begins in early November, is another holiday photo op. Later, you can frame the card to display in your home as a special souvenir.
Park merchandise. Next time you are in the parks, even if it is in the heat of summer, keep the Christmas season in mind when shopping. Many shops offer holiday merchandise year-round. Daisy Lauren has a great article on shopping for holiday merchandise at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite shops for Christmas collectibles is Magic Kingdom’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, which is just as full of Christmas festivity in July as it is in December. Tip: Start a family tradition by collecting a favorite holiday item. My family’s tradition is to bring home an ornament for our tree to remind us of our visit. Ornaments that show the year can bring back memories of a specific trip.
Make a gift of your next trip. Are you planning a trip to a Disney park in the next year and can keep a secret until Christmas morning? Surprise your family with a scavenger hunt to discover the trip. Or hide a note in a gift box full of Disney character plushes to reveal the surprise. One year, we put the letters to spell out Disney World in several packages for the kids to unscramble.
Food. Have some fun attempting to recreate a favorite Disney recipe to include on your holiday menu. Love the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern or Le Cellier Steakhouse’s Cheddar Cheese Soup? See if you can come close in your own kitchen. There are also several cookbooks available, such as Delicious Disney Holidays by the Disney Chefs by Pam Brandon and Mickey’s Gourmet Cookbook: Most Popular Recipes from Walt Disney World & Disneyland by Disney Book Group. Or use your own recipe to make a food item for your holiday dinner that reminds you of a favorite Disney World meal: whenever I make cornbread, I am reminded of my favorite buffet in Disney World at Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness. Another idea that can involve the whole family is to bake and decorate some holiday cookies cut out with a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter.
Music. Buy or download a Disney holiday CD or some holiday songs. For more current park-exclusive holiday CDs, such as the soundtrack from Holiday Wishes or the Candlelight Processional, check with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise Guest Services at 877-560-6477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books. Make some time to read a Disney-themed holiday story to your kids. In addition to the Disney Christmas Storybook Collection, holiday stories feature favorite characters like Buzz and Woody, Winnie the Pooh, and, of course, Mickey. These make great Christmas gifts, or check out whether your local library has some to read before Christmas day.
Movies and holiday specials. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you watch some of Disney’s many holiday-themed movies and specials, ranging from Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas to The Santa Clause. Others include The Muppet Christmas Carol, Disney’s 2009 version of A Christmas Carol, Santa Buddies, and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Again, in addition to buying or renting these movies, your local library may be a source.
Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. Get your Disney fix on Christmas morning by watching the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on ABC. The parade is filmed at both Disneyland and Disney World, with the Disney World portion filmed in early in December.
Please share if you have found other ways to bring some Disney Christmas spirit into your home during the holidays.