For some context ... at that time.... my husband was flat on his back recovering from back surgery. I was managing the house, the kids, the job, my wellness... and I was staring down an American Girl Doll catalog with circles in two colors of pen, and 3 pink painted rooms with no room for any more stuff.
American Girl doll Christmas came and went... and we added more stuff. Goodwill receipts were part of our tax returns, again.
In 2017, we relished our trips. Life was serving a serious hand of cards and as a family we were coalescing in our trips away from home. After Carlsbad California this summer, Hubs and I agreed, we really enjoyed our kids. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. All of a sudden, at ages 9, 8 and 3.5, the girls were downright delightful.
The pesky voice came back... but louder... "Disney. This year would be better - the Littlest will be four!" I started looking at prices. Okay, so we might have to sell the baby or leave her at home but a girl can dream.
Miracle of miracles, we (through my husband's phenomenal cousin) were able to score a DEAL on a Disney villa that will make it a vacation for Hubs and I as well as for the kids. Can you say King bed? Miracle of miracles, we had enough airline points that we could fly the whole family of five for free (except for a single return trip on Southwest - so honestly, family of five flying to Orlando from AZ for $220!)
The Disney voice started screaming: "We can do this!" and then....... "How in the world am I going to keep this a secret?!" That's when the Disney voices started to tell the Eddy voice to keep her mouth shut.
From the parental perspective, doing Disney as a Christmas gift is very risky. Let's be clear, this Christmas present is not only the single most expensive thing I've ever given or received for Christmas, it is also the single most expensive vacation I've ever planned. But a lot of questions come up relative to the kids.
1. Will we still do presents and if not, is this going to be a disappointment on Christmas morning?
then the endless follow ups:
1. How can we reveal this vacation in a kid-friendly, fun, drawn out way that will sink into the deep recesses of their childhood memories as a happy thing... that, "OMG, can you remember the year that mom and dad gave us the Disney trip?!" That's what I am aiming for...
You know, on par with a Cabbage Patch Kid circa 1983. My Cabbage Patch was Albert Lennie Eddy btw....
So, when I haven't been making Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs in Disney-speak)... or planning our Fastpasses... or debating over dessert parties or pirate cruises... will kids like Italy or Japan better Epcot? I've been mulling, pinning, and searching for the perfect Disney Christmas reveal.
Didn't find it. At least, not prepackaged and available for purchase on Amazon Prime. So, I've had to do some creating on my own.
Homemade Mickey & Minnie Wreaths - Part of the subtle prepping
At first I thought of the 12 days of Christmas... but Hubs, in his wisdom reminded me that we weren't going to do 12 days... more like 12 gifts...
So, Mickey's 12 Gifts of Christmas was born. This idea sort grew out of random shopping I did early in the fall on Zulily where I bought some Disney odds and ends... and then I started picking up all the free Disney travel stuff that comes when you book a Disney trip... and poof: Disney stuff is taking over the closet in my office (and let's be honest, Hub's office too.. shh... don't be judge-y).
I'm still not sure all of this will come together in a way that impresses the girls while also keeping them intrigued. They may get it too soon or they may not get it at the end. I can see a combo of screaming and utter confusion. Either way, I hope we don't end the morning in tears!
This will involve a little set up from our Elf on Shelf. We've been subtly or not so subtly pushing all things Disney recently. So the girls are into it. They've jokingly asked the Elf for "snow or Disneyland" for Christmas... so I think the Elf might use one of our chalkboards, and introduce the morning with something along the lines of "couldn't bring snow to the desert... " but I haven't really landed on all that yet. Each gift listed below will be wrapped exactly the same in red Kraft paper, and will have a Mickey tag, noting the #, and on the back the "jingle", see the list below.
Mickey Gift Tags - I'm not the craftiest but I try..
Has this been less work than a "normal" Christmas? Maybe, maybe not. It is certainly not cheaper. There is so much Disney stuff that you have to be really disciplined to not just buying everything. At first I was thinking I'd make all these Disney crafts that it was going to be cheaper. Ummm, no. I'm sure some awesome mom could do that, but not I. All the generic items below, like games... are all umm, well Disney. My oldest loves Tsum Tsums, my middle is difficult to nail down so she's got a range of princess to classic characters, and my youngest? She's my frozen girl. Here's some samples of what we've got going on..
Gift 1 - Disney Tree Sign for the redecorated tree - Needs writing in Sharpie script still - may introduce Mickey's 12 Gifts
(yes, I painted that)
Gift 5 - Magic Bands! Those who have been to Disney World recently know these babies are a big deal! I got us character bands on a Disney clearance sale. Girls PJs from Christmas Eve will match their bands. This might give it away for some family - but my girls will not have any idea what these are.
Gift 12 - The Reveal Box - Will include our Disney Parks decal (Free baby!), personalized for our family, and heralding on our upcoming trip!
The rest of the plan will go down like this... and we hope there will be great rejoicing!
|Mickey's 12 Gifts of Christmas|
Gift 1 A Disney Christmas Tree (We will redecorate our normal tree over night)
Gift 2 Puzzles puzzling
Gift 3 Games a-playing
Gift 4 Outfits a-wearing
Gift 5 Magic Bands!
Gift 6 (Headphones) Speakers speaking
Gift 7 (Necklaces) Bling a-blinging
Gift 8 (Leggings) Legs a walking
Gift 9 (Backpacks) Bags for packing..
Gift 10 (Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar) Tsums counting down..
Gift 11 (Park Maps) Maps directing..
Gift 12 (Balloons, Family Park Decal, all promotional materials,
a link from Santa to a Youtube Playlist) We're going to Walt Disney World!
Check back here for Part 2 (How the reveal actually goes down)...
and then maybe Part 3 (the trip in reality, not just my
spreadsheeted, glossy brochure expectations...)