There is nothing like the soft glow of twinkling lights and the scent of pine in the air. In these moments exists a magic that only the holiday season can bring. As a mother, I’ve come to cherish the enchanting tapestry of Christmas traditions that we weave as a family. These festive rituals are not just decorations adorning our home; they are the ties that bind us, creating a sense of warmth and togetherness that lasts long after the last ornament is packed away.
Decorating the Christmas tree in family ornaments curated over the years is a sacred affair. As the boxes of ornaments emerge from their hibernation, each one tells a story – a handmade ornament from a school craft fair, a delicate bauble gifted by a dear friend, and the cherished ornaments passed down through generations. As we carefully place each decoration on the tree, it’s not just about adorning branches; it’s about adorning our hearts with the memories of Christmases past and the promise of joy in the present.
The kitchen becomes a festive workshop, filled with the delicious symphony of holiday baking. Together, my children and I embark on a culinary adventure, creating gingerbread houses that defy gravity and decorating cookies with a rainbow of icing. The kitchen isn’t just a place to whip up treats; it transforms into a haven where the sweet aroma of spices and the laughter of loved ones blend into a melody that resonates with the true spirit of Christmas – love, joy, and the joy of giving.
As a mother, I find profound joy in witnessing the wonder in my children’s eyes as we embark on our annual neighborhood lights adventure. Armed with hot chocolate when they were little to Starbies now as they are embarking on their tween years we drive around with the Christmas music up and the windows down.
But one of our favorite Christmas traditions that started when they were babies and has the ability to grow with us as we grow-up, is spending a night at Gaylord Opryland as soon as school gets out to start our Christmas break in the most magical way. From the lights, to the festive food and drinks, to the activities and beautiful decor Gaylord Opryland knows how to do Christmas better than anyone else.
This years Ice! exhibit features The Polar Express.™ So get your matching pjs ready. Always watch the movie before going and get your tickets purchased because it’s not one you will want to miss.
Tips and Tricks for Navigating Gaylord Opryland 2023 Ice! Featuring the Polar Express™
- Ice! is a ticketed event with a specific time. So start here when planning your visit. Once those tickets are set, you can easily plan the rest of your adventure.
- Ice skating and snow tubing can be done all day on the day your tickets are. Things like the snowball fight and bumper cars are one and done.
- Grab a pizza from Paisano’s Pizzaria & Vino. Best bang for your buck if you need to eat quickly. Sit and relax on veranda watching the dancing light water fountain. The water fountain is at 6,7,8 and 9pm so that’s a good spot to sit and have a snack for 20 mins and watch the show.
- Check website for local discounts.
- Frosty’s Pub is a great restaurant if you want festive.
- Park over at Opry Mills near Dave and Busters and walk across. Totally doable depending on the weather and kids ages/dispositions. And parking lot is right next to the entrance of ICE!
- The Ice! exhibit takes 20-25 minutes but is completely self guided. Pack gloves, hats and a warm winter jacket to wear under the parka they provide you. It def gets cold.
- Need a break? Gingerbread making is a great way to sit and relax and get a sweet treat at the end!
- They have activities for every age. Littles and grands that don’t want to venture into ICE! love doing the boat ride inside and the horse carriage ride outside.
- Go on a week night while school is still in session for the smallest crowds.
- Once they close the hotel to ticketed guests only, grab a ticket for something you are interested in doing and then spend the rest of the time exploring the grounds.
In the midst of the holiday hustle, traditions become the anchors that ground us in the true meaning of Christmas. Beyond the gifts and glitter, they remind us of the importance of love, family, and the joy of being together. As a mother, I feel a profound responsibility to nurture these traditions, not just for the joy they bring today but as gifts that keep on giving in the form of cherished memories for generations to come after we are gone. As if we needed extra pressure on our plates. Ha
So, let us embrace the spirit of Christmas traditions with open hearts and grateful spirits. In the midst of the festive frenzy, let us remember that it’s not the grandeur of the celebrations that matter but the love and connection we share. As we unwrap the presents under the tree, let us also unwrap the gift of time, creating moments that will be treasured by our children and their children, forging a legacy of love that will endure long after the tinsel has faded and the ornaments have been carefully packed away.
Is it too early to start planning my staycation with grandbabies?