The holiday season is all about cherished Christmas traditions and memories. With each successive year we carry with us those traditions we had growing up, or have made along the way. Some change, some are gone, and some we’ve made with our own kids but what’s always there is the feeling that this time of year is special. So in that spirit, some of our staff here in Visit Central Florida thought they would like to share some of their own special traditions.
But before we do, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones the very best this holiday season.
Christmas Traditions From the Sales and Marketing Team at Visit Central Florida
Elf on a Plane
Long before Elf on a Shelf, my Mother began the tradition of the Christmas Elf for our family. “Chris Elf” was one of several Christmas decorations she made back in the late 1950’s. When our family moved to Florida, she wrapped Chris up in a shoe box and entrusted him to me for the following year. Inside was a letter explaining the new tradition that the recipient should select another family member to pass Chris to the following Christmas, and so on and so on. Chris Elf has spent the past 30 years being passed among family members. In the years that I was gifted Chris, I took him on trips, taking selfie’s of our adventures to include in his shoe box home for the next person to enjoy. Some highlights of Chris’ travels include visits to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Graceland and even a few cruises.
Kelly Rote, Communications Specialist
Presents and PJs!
Our family’s Christmas tradition is matching family pajamas. It’s a simple tradition but it makes me smile every year. My boyfriend, Frankie, and our two dogs Oscar & Bear wear our matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas morning while unwrapping presents. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Peyten Palo, Social Media and Creative Coordinator
The Christmas Room
When I was growing up back in Ireland, every Christmas our family would move into the Drawing Room. It was a living area we only used at Christmas. It had a big fireplace, big sofas, our Christmas Tree, and the drinks cabinet for making hot Irish coffees for the grown-ups! We were always so excited to move in every year. Its where our Christmas presents were left and opened, where everyone in the neighborhood including friends, grandparents and relatives came on Christmas Day, its where we had our traditional Irish Christmas cake, its where we watched all the Christmas movies by the fire, and just where we spent all our moments together at Christmas. The house was sold a couple of years ago, but I’m so glad my own children got to spend some Christmases there too when we visited for the holidays.
Christopher Follenus, Digital Marketing Supervisor
Christmas Lights and Milkshakes
We started the tradition when my daughter was in elementary school to jump in the car, get some holiday flavored milk shakes, crank up the Christmas tune and drive around to view Christmas lights. This tradition has continued ever since. A new twist to it is taking her husband and dog with us.
Jack Cormier, Communications Specialist
Morovian Sugar Cakes
Growing up in North Carolina, my family celebrated many Moravian Christmas traditions. One being the consumption of the most amazing coffee cake, Moravian Sugar Cake. We only ever had it for Christmas, and even then, was only available for breakfast, so it made it even more special to eat. Full of sugar on sugar, soaked with butter and cinnamon with just barley some cake, was the most indulgent thing as a child! As time has gone on and my sisters and I have moved all over, my mother continued the tradition by shipping us Moravian Sugar Cake no matter where we were. Taking just one bite on Christmas morning always made me feel at home no matter where I was.
Elizabeth Lineberger, Client Services Coordinator
Growing up in Virginia it was a typical southern tradition to make certain special dishes over the holidays. One of my favorites and one of the easiest recipes to make was a great breakfast snack that also makes a great appetizer over the holiday season. Sausage Balls are quite tasty and freeze very well so I always make a double batch (or triple) and freeze them to enjoy all through the season.
- 3 cups of Bisquick Baking Mix (you can also use gluten free Bisquick)
- 1 pound of hot sausage
- 1 pound of sharp or extra sharp cheese, grated
Mix all ingredients together. (I have found over the years it’s a bit easier to blend if you allow the sausage and the cheese to soften).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After all ingredients are very well blended, pinch enough to form a ball—about half golf ball size and place on greased cookie sheet. Make sure they do not touch each other on the cookie sheet. Bake 13-17 minutes or until golden brown.
If you choose to freeze them place them on a greased cookie sheet, again not touching. Cover with wax paper and place flat in the freezer for about an hour. Store the almost frozen Sausage Balls in a zip lock bag. You don’t want them to totally freeze but you don’t want them to be soft enough to fuse together. When ready to cook them simply take out as many as you want, allow them to thaw—maybe 30 minutes—and bake.
Joni Allen, Sales and Events Representative