Merry Christmas to everyone!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We were very blessed and had a fantastic Christmas!
As I sit here in my bed, my 10 month old baby beside me, waiting for her to wake up, my mind starts to wander. Last night, as I went to bed, I turned on my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s safe to say that I get around to watching it at least once during the holidays, sometimes more. As I watched it, I started to think about all the great themes and lessons that can be learned from watching the movie. Here’s some that I came up with.
- Prayer works! As soon as the movie starts, you hear random characters praying for the main character, George Bailey. His wife, Mary had called everyone they knew and asked for prayer for her husband, who she knew was in some kind of trouble. All the prayers lead to Clarence, an angel from Heaven attempting to gain his wings, to come to earth to save George from killing himself and to show him that he is an important person to a lot of people in the world.
- Even though prayer does work, sometimes we don’t get the answer we’re wanting. At one point in the movie, George is at the bar and just about to lose his mind. As he sits there, he prays that God show him the way, and instead of getting a positive answer, he ends up getting punched in the face by the husband of one of George’s kids’ teachers. He had no hope to begin with and when that happened, it drove him to go to the bridge where he contemplates killing himself and where he meets Clarence.
- Sometimes God lets you go through a deep valley before you see something positive happen. George was about as far gone as a person could be. God knew what was going to happen to the money that Uncle Billy misplaced, but He also knew that George needed to see what life would have been like without him to appreciate what he did have. So God let all the bad things happen to George so he could learn from all of it and appreciate all he did have.
- Being too nice and selfless can pay off in the end. At least it did for George. That poor guy couldn’t catch a break! He lost his hearing in one ear when he got sick after saving his younger brother, who had fallen through an icy pond. He kept his mouth shut about the druggist who accidentally put poison in the capsules instead of the medicine. He stayed in town instead of going to college when his dad died so he could run the Building and Loan. The list goes on and on. But when he needed people there to help him, they came from all over and gave willing. They loved George and knew that he would help them if they needed it.
- Each man’s life touches so many other lives, more than anyone realizes. When George got to see what life would have been like if he had never been born, he got a huge shock. His brother, the same one he saved from the icy water, died in this reality because George wasn’t there to save him. The druggist would have been thrown in jail for accidenly putting the poison in the capsules. His wife would have ended up an old maid. The list is endless. Seeing this alternate reality, George realized how important he really was.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie? What’s your opinion of “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Comment and let me know!!
(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Disney World or any of their parks or companies. This blog, and the posts to follow are all based on my own experiences, personal opinion or by research I have done. I’m not getting anything from Disney by writing about this.)
So tonight, I’m going to give a brief explanation as to why everyone should visit Walt Disney World. It’s simple: IT’S AMAZING.
I know, that sounds very vague, but it’s true.
When my now husband and I were trying to figure out where to go on our honeymoon, I don’t remember why we decided on Disney World. We both had never been there before and we had always wanted to. And honestly, if I had the money, I would go back every year if I could. There is something magical about it, as silly and corny as it sounds. We’ve been there twice, the first time being our honeymoon and the second time for our 3 year anniversary. On January 3rd of 2017, we will be driving down for our third trip starting on the 4th. And this time, we’ve got Maddie to take with us!
So here are a few (and there are MANY) reasons why everyone should try to go to Disney at least once.
- The parks are immaculate. No joke, you will be hard pressed to find garbage or anything lying around. They go above and beyond to make sure that your park experience is magical, and rarely do they disappoint. Fun fact, they do not sell gum at Disney World, which is one way they can keep their parks clean.
- Kids get in free from newborn until they turn 3 years old. Hence why we are taking Maddie (twice next year, weirdly enough). She won’t need a ticket, won’t need a meal plan (she’ll share with us or we can buy her something separate), and she’ll be able to ride many of the big attractions. As long as the ride doesn’t have a height requirement, she is free to ride. For example, she will be able to ride “It’s a Small World” and the famous Dumbo ride. But she will not be able to ride Expedition Everest or Splash Mountain.
- There is something there for everyone. Some people thought we were weird wanting to go down for our honeymoon, but again, Disney goes above and beyond. Every step in the planning process, especially if you call, they always ask you if you are celebrating something specific. When we got there, we had buttons to wear that showed we were newlyweds and because we wore them, everywhere we went, people knew why we were there. We got special desserts, balloons, and many congratulations from people just because they saw our button. And honestly, we never felt like we were weird for being an adult couple at Disney. We chose restaurants that were a bit nicer than what we were used to and used the time to just be together. The last time we went down, I went and got a pedicure at my resort. I loved it! We talked about visiting there so much, that both of my best friends went there on their honeymoons.
- The food! Oh my goodness. Ken and I, both times now, have gotten the Deluxe Dining Plan (definitely check out the dining plans if you plan to go, such a great deal). With our meals, we got an appetizer, an entree and a dessert, plus a non-alcoholic beverage. We had SO much food. And they have some amazing restaurants. My husband’s favorite is the Yachtsman Steakhouse, which was our first dining reservation when we went for our honeymoon and a must when we go. They also have some awesome character dining experiences. This time around, we are making sure we hit a lot of those for Maddie. We especially are excited to hit “Be Our Guest” for dinner on our first night, a restaurant in Magic Kingdom devoted to Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite movies.
- The ease of transportation. Even though we drive down (all the way from southwest Ohio), the transportation on site is pretty amazing too. We especially love the monorail, which is connected directly to three of their Deluxe Resorts (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary). When we went back for our 3 year anniversary, we stayed at the Grand Floridian (AMAZING), and I loved being able to just leave our room, go to the 2nd floor of the main building and hop on the monorail. The monorail from Grand Floridian goes to the Magic Kingdom and from there, you can hop on another one to lead you to Epcot. Other transportation includes buses, which most resorts have one that comes there, and a ferry that can take you from certain resorts to the Magic Kingdom. A big reason why we drive down is because we then have our own vehicle and do not need to rely on their transportation, but we have had pleasant experiences with all the transportation.
- The atmosphere. Again, it sounds corny but it really is a magical place. I honestly don’t care if we ever vacation anywhere else (we plan to, but I don’t need to). I would go to Disney any time.
I’m just scratching the surface. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more about Disney World (mostly because we’re getting ready to head down there ourselves). Have you been to Disney? Let me know what I left out!!
I wanted to start off this post by thanking everyone who read the post about my mom. I got a lot of positive feedback about it and I am very blessed. You all are wonderful!
But back to happier topics!
My favorite holiday is Christmas! I love everything about it! And now that we have our first child, there is just something more magical about Christmas this year. Ken and I had a discussion before Maddie was even born that even though she will learn about Santa Claus and believe in him, that we will make sure she knows the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. We want her to know about God sending down his only begotten son to save all of us from our sins. So I started looking at some traditions that we could start or continue to do as a family. Here is a list of ten that I am adding to our holiday!
- Reading the story of Jesus’ birth. My family never did that growing up, but Ken’s family does it every Christmas. We all gather around and several family members read passages out of the Bible giving an account of the birth of Jesus Christ. In doing this every year, we are reminded as to why we actually celebrate. Presents and Santa Claus are wonderful, but the birth of Jesus is just amazing.
- Set out an nativity scene or find a church that is doing a live nativity scene. One of the first things we bought when we were buying Christmas decorations was a nativity scene. Ken’s family actually has a list of which grandkid set up their nativity scene the year before, so everyone can have a turn. And several churches around our area are doing a live nativity scene. Check online or in your local paper to see if any churches around you are participating.
- Decorate the Christmas tree as a family. I have had such a wonderful time the last few years decorating the tree with Ken. This year, I can’t wait to see Maddie’s reaction to the tree! Spending the time together is always a blessing. You could also have a Christmas movie or some music playing in the background while you decorate.
- Watch all the Christmas classics. My all time favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I make it a point to watch it every year. I’m also a huge fan of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Make some hot chocolate, put some festive pajamas on, make some popcorn and watch the movies together.
- Sing Christmas carols together. You could go caroling or just sing them together at your house like my family used to. One of my brothers would make up folders of music and we would all go into the living room and sing them together. It’s one of my favorite memories from the holidays.
- Buy a bunch of Christmas themed children’s books and read one a day until Christmas. I know people that wrap each book and give them as a gift every day until Christmas. And there are some great books out there! I recently bought one that actually talks about the real reason we celebrate Christmas! Make it a daily event, even if it’s right before bed!
- Do some random acts of kindness. It’s the time of year to love one another and that is an easy way to show it. I have had people pay for my drink in a drive thru or my entire meal! I’ve even had a guy give me $20 to help pay for diapers, just because. I have always wanted to secretly pay for someone’s meal or groceries.
- Drive around and look at the Christmas lights. There are some people that go all out when it comes to decorating their house for the holidays and I love to look at all of them. And out here in the country, they’re easier to see without all the city lights shining all around.
- Take some family pictures and make them into Christmas cards. If you go on Pinterest, there are a ton of amazing picture ideas for family pictures for Christmas. You can see if any of your photographer friends are doing any mini sessions or attempt to do the pics yourself. Either way, you’ll have that memory forever!
- Visit Santa Claus. This one was a big deal to me. I believed in Santa growing up and there is just something magical about believing in Santa. So as you can see in the picture, we already took Maddie to see Santa and it went really well! But do your research before you go! Some places allow you to take personal pics with a phone or a camera, and others won’t allow it and want you to buy a picture package, which can get pricey! We spent $40 on pics with Santa and that was Package D!
So what are some traditions your family do every year? What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Comment and let me know!!