Christmas Shopping In Florida

Traditions are a hard thing to break, especially when you live a thousand miles away from your family and close friends. I knew that shopping in Florida would be a task, since we are still feeling our way around town, but it still had to be done. Here is our experience at our first Christmas shopping outing in FL… enjoy!

My plan for Christmas shopping every year is to start the hunt in late October, slowly collecting things here and there so that I don’t have a pile to buy towards the end. When I lived in WI, this worked well. In fact, I had the most fun at yard sales picking up trinkets here and there that I would lovingly save until Christmas day.  Since I still haven’t found a whole lot of yard sales, and with a few flea markets I have come across, it was up to the main stores and the Mall to provide what I was looking for this year.

Up until this weekend, I had been buying most of my stuff at Wal-Mart and Target because they are close to my home. So Craig and I had planned a day together of Christmas cheer with some retail therapy thrown in. Tradition had been for him and I to head to the Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee and we would shop all day, with a yummy lunch somewhere new. Once we moved to Appleton, we would spend a Saturday alone running to the outlets in Oshkosh or just around town.  It wasn’t new to plan something different, just knowing how to get there and what was there was the nervous part.

The hubby and I loaded the address into the GPS and we were off for some fun! We headed to the Florida Mall first, nice and early making it quiet and comfortable to shop. Not until lunchtime did it really start to get busy, but by that time we were almost done. It had helped we had been there once during the summer, so we knew somewhat of what we needed to find there. We were giddy with excitement when we saw the new Disney Store- it was SOO cool! Look for the video blog of the store posting on Christmas Eve day.

After some yummy Chinese for lunch, we decided that we enjoyed our time, but the Mall didn’t scream Christmas at all. In the past, we would hear Christmas music while shopping, and it just put you right in the mood. Sadly it was like a Mall with business as usual and it just didn’t have that feel we were looking for.  Upon further discussion, we decided to head over to the Mall of Millenia and try it out. Wow, what a difference!  They have a village in the main foyer for Santa, but they dressed it up so beautifully. Large ornaments are hung at both ends of the Mall, and they had Christmas music playing everywhere. Craig’s eyes lit up with such joy, he was truly happy to feel the spirit of the holiday here. It made shopping so much more pleasurable, and we will definitely be back.

We also found another Target, and hooray, a Toys R Us! We had so much fun picking out stocking stuffers for the kids and marking off things on our to-do list. Besides the insane traffic coming out of that area, we made it home in one piece. A successful day for us both, and we were happy we got everything done.

I had really mixed emotions during the day- Christmas shopping for this one day with my hubby was normal. But all the shopping I had done up until that point, in the past, was usually with my Mom. It’s been 2 months since I saw her last, and I can feel the homesickness creeping in again. I am not sure I will ever learn how to shake this.  I am excited about our first Christmas here, but sad I won’t be with my Mom for the first time in 37 years.  We hope to work out the kinks for every year going forward that we are with our families, whether they are here or we are there.

While I have your attention, I wanted to thank each and every one of you who have sent us Christmas cards and presents. It was incredibly kind of you and we sincerely appreciate your kindness. We look forward to more Christmas fun this week, and we hope you are enjoying your holiday season.

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