Although I love the build up to Christmas, buying presents, sending cards and catching up with news as to what's going on in everyone's lives, I have to confess I normally hate Christmas day itself as it brings back too many memories. Since my mum died almost 15 years ago, Christmasses have changed a lot as she was the one who brought us all together and since then we've all splintered off into our own separate lives.
Anyway I digress... back in the Summer of 2008 my friend Nickie asked me if I would like to join her and her family for a Christmas with a difference, spending Christmas and New Year in Florida. So I gratefully accepted and soon we were merrily planning our holiday of a lifetime only for the rug to crashing down under our feet.... no sooner had we paid the balance for our trip then the travel company goes bust! But Nickie was determined that the holiday was going to go ahead so even before we'd submitted all the paperwork to try and claim our money back she was on the phone to Virgin Holidays trying to rebook and in the end we came out winners as we ended up with a much better deal than we originally had...
So a couple of months later it was time to leave the cold and damp weather in the UK and head off to the sunshine. And as one of the advantages of our rebooked holiday was an extra week away we were able to enjoy a mixture of fun-filled days at the park, lazy days by the pool at our apartment or go for drives to see where we ended up... one such adventure saw us canoeing in one of Florida's state parks and several unplanned dips in the water!
On one of the first days of our holiday we headed off to Magic Kingdom to watch the Christmas Parade where the young and old alike were mesmerised by the floats as they passed us by.
And of course during our stay we had to have our photos taken with some of our favourite characters, Eeyore and Tigger ;-)
One of the things that made this holiday so fab was the relaxed unplanned nature of what each day was going to entail, there were only 2 things that we had pre-booked to do during our 3 week stay. The first was a night out to see The Blue Man Group at Universal Studios who were absolutely amazing.
The other was a Crystal River boat tour with the chance to swim with the Manatees (although I soon discovered I had a fear of scuba diving so spent most of the trip on the boat watching but did manage to see them as they swam past!)
These are manatees for those who like me had never heard of them before.
This holiday turned out to be one I will certainly never forget and I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with them again this year although I don't think the weather will be quite as warm this time...