Happy Holidays! (+ Photos from Epcot’s Germany Pavilion)

Thank you for all your support this year. I’m excited to make 2012 even better! Have a magical holiday & remember the many reasons for the season. May peace find its way into your heart tonight.

Here’s some special pictures I took in Germany at Epcot this year. They’re miniaturized photos of the miniature village, where they’re celebrating the holidays, too!

Here is the church, and here is the steeple!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Deck the halls!

Faith, Trust, Pixie Dust, and Lots of Love,

Lindsay

“What’s this?” When Halloween & Christmas Collide..

For the first time in weeks, I felt as if I had had a good night’s sleep. I was excited to actually have a weekend at home that brought the promise of Halloween activities along with it. When I opened my eyes from my peaceful slumber, I was in for quite a surprise.

As I would on a frosty winter morning, I rushed to the window, thrilled at what I saw. There were snowflakes floating in the air and the ground was sparkly white. It was October 29th and we had snow.

If you’re reading this from, say, Colorado, I’m sure this is nothing special, but for a resident of Pennsylvania, snow isn’t usually seen until the end of December.

Once I got over the initial shock, I changed into my flannel Christmas pajamas, grabbed my Santa hat, and rushed downstairs to greet my parents with a rendition of “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” My parents laughed and we all gazed out the window at the snow gently coating the trees and recently changed leaves.

The morning was spent like any good snow day- in the kitchen with my mom, making breakfast and listening to Christmas songs. As I ate my pancakes, I laughed at the sight of the Halloween decorations next to the frosted window. This was all so surreal.

Later that afternoon, we continued our kitchen adventures with Halloween cookies and cupcakes. I had to pull out 20 different Christmas sprinkle jars until I finally found orange.

We also carved our pumpkin, which wasn’t in the best shape after sitting in the snow for hours. I wanted to do something clever and Disney, and soon enough, the idea hit me! I had to do Orange Bird! Unfortunately, I did not have a test pumpkin and my idea didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but it still somewhat resembled my little citrus friend! Next year, though, I’ll remember to carve simply his face and add another green leaf to his stem.

Orange Bird pumpkin

This day was more confused than I was- it had no idea what we were celebrating. There was only one logical way to end it. We had to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie has always been a favorite of mine. The music and animation are equally superb and it combines two of my favorite holidays (kind of like this day did).

October 29 was not just a snow day or  Halloween or somewhere in between. It was a chance for me to regain my spirits that I had lost over the past few weeks. I had hit a wall of anxiety and exhaustion, but as always, a day devoted to magic, family bonding, and food brought me back to my center. The snow may have seemed like Mother Nature’s trick, but overall, it provided me with a Hallo-Christmas-ween holiday treat.

Faith, trust, and pixie dust,

Lindsay

Real Snow on Main Street- Almost..

Each issue, my friends at Celebrations Press do a fantastic job of bringing the magic right to subscribers’ doorsteps. One of my favorite sections of the magazine is the letters from the editors. Tim Foster‘s message really happened to stick out in my mind in this issue.

Titled “Brrr…!,” the letter discussed the unbearably cold weather most of the United States experienced this winter. He mentioned a fact that “during one week in January, there was snow in 49 of the 50 states, with the exception being, you guessed it, Florida.” Florida is the place where my family escapes to when we can’t handle another snow day. However, this year was a little different. Although Florida didn’t have snow, it presented us with a below freezing day on December 26.

I started off the day with jeans, a Grand Floridian t-shirt, and a Mickey Mouse sweater. With one foot out the door of our room, I quickly realized there was no way that was going to cut it. I quickly put on my winter coat, as did the rest of my group, and we hit the road to Magic Kingdom for some early morning magic. For Christmas week, it was strangely uncrowded, and we encountered many short lines for attractions and even a few characters (possibly because half of the park was in line to meet Rapunzel).

By mid-afternoon, we added gloves and scarves to our wardrobes, but kept on going with our day. The cold was definitely not going to slow us down.Unfortunately, we didn’t consider what would happen when the minuscule amount of sun we had disappeared for the evening.

As the moon rose high above Cinderella Castle, the temperature declined. Although Weather by Day claims that the record low for the month of December is 20 degrees, I believe it had to have been colder. Despite the fact that we had three layers on, the cold was tearing us down. We huddled into the Emporium and investigated its stock of sweaters, hoodies, and sweatshirts. My friend, Emily, and I journeyed over to the little girl’s section and grabbed two extra-large light pink “value sweatshirts,” which certainly lived up to their name. They were only $20 a piece, and mine has become one of my favorite items of clothing to lounge in.

We added our fourth layers and decided to brave the cold once more. Wishes was going to begin soon, so my family chose a prime viewing spot in the middle of Main Street USA. Even with a fourth layer, the heat we discovered indoors stayed there when we left. There was only one obvious thing we hadn’t tried: hot chocolate! We sent my dad on a hot chocolate run and anxiously awaited his return. I must add that my dad is absolutely passionate about his Disney hot chocolate. As I was writing this article, I asked him what made him so obsessed with it. He replied, “The taste is so natural and delicious and unlike any other hot chocolate I’ve ever had.” The moment I sipped my hot chocolate on that frosty December night, I wholeheartedly agreed with him. There was never anything so warm and tasty as that. It gave us a slight energy boost, enough to keep us in the parks until 1 am.

When we got home, and I showed the pictures to my friends, I always pointed out what we were wearing. My friends and family had a really hard time believing me. This is why I was so excited to see Tim’s letter. Someone else had experienced this prime example of Mother Nature’s indecisive mind! However, he described it from a perspective I had never even thought of. Tim wrote, “it’s a wonderfully unique experience to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate in the Magic Kingdom.” That statement couldn’t hold more truth. In the blazing summer, or really the majority of the year, one wouldn’t dream of getting a hot beverage instead of a refreshing Dole Whip.

Months later, as I write this on a sunny beach in South Florida, I realize that our cold day in the Kingdom wasn’t so bad after all. It was quite magical, a gift, really. It’s not like we let the cold get in the way of our fun, and at least it didn’t rain! Then again, had it rained, instead of soapy snowflakes on Main Street, there would’ve been some of the pure, natural, catch-on-your-tongue variety. To that I say, bring it on, Jack Frost! The more, the magical!

Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust,

Lindsay