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Celebrating Christmas in Florida – Part 2 Giving and Making
Our many trips to our villa at Christmas have always been enjoyable, and we have delighted in the similarities as well as the differences of celebrating this festive season in another country, similar though it may seem to our own.
Of course, giving is an important element of Christmas both at home and in Florida. It is a special time when we, as parents, can teach children about the joy of giving to others, as well as the pleasure of receiving. But we have been amazed at the number of opportunities there are to give to those less fortunate than ourselves when in America. Many shops and malls have ‘Giving Trees’ which you can adorn with a gift tag which you can purchase so that the money thus raised goes to the needy, or you can collect a card with a wish on it and return it with a gift for a poor or homeless child or adult. Even MacDonalds has a special gift opportunity.
Of course, there is no problem at all about gift shopping in Orlando. The malls are full of beautiful shops, and much of what is on offer is very reasonably priced. For example, items from Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch, a favourite of young men, is priced the same in dollars as it is in pounds, making a considerable saving. For the ladies there are the many department stores such as Macys, JC Penney, Dillards and Sears, or the wonderful Victoria’s Secrets for lingerie, or Forever XX1 for fashion conscious girls. The range is amazing, and there is certainly something for everyone.
Wrapping paper, bows, and all manner of beautiful gift boxes are readily available in shops like Walmart and Target, and the range is far superior to that in the UK. Indeed, many shops will actually wrap your presents for free. Cracker Barrell, a well known chain of family restaurants will always wrap your purchases as part of their service.
Boxes of cards are also easy to locate, although I would not say they are quite as modern as those we have available. But if you have any craft skills then you will be in seventh heaven as shops such as Michaels which have everything you could possibly want to be creative. One of my favourite traditions in the USA is that of making gingerbread houses. We have seen some magnificent displays in hotels and on cruise ships, and it is a great way to entertain the children. These gingerbread houses can be made entirely from a kit – so no cooking or washing up necessary. They can be intricate or simple, and children love making them – and on Christmas Day – eating them!
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