Tuesday, January 15

New Christmas Traditions In or Near JAX

We've been asking around in order to find out what our new Christmas traditions might be for our family. Granted, the kids keep growing and changing, so they might not be as interested in some of our old traditions from Wisconsin. However, we are trying to figure out what will work for us in Florida.

We attended the official Milwaukee tree lighting a few times, and the kids thought it was pretty cool. There was a cheesy show in a park on the river and then a tree lighting. Free hot cocoa, cookies, and ice skating on the other side of the river. And it felt like you were somewhere important. The year the protests were held there, we avoided parts of it. We also did Christmas in Delafield, the picturesque small town west of MKE. Reindeer in pens, Santa in the town square, and a sense that we could have been in an episode of Gilmore Girls. So after two years in Jacksonville, what's our new tradition?

Both kids play, so at least the weeks leading up to Christmas involve going to basketball games. Since Christmas breaks in the area seem to have the hurricane days built in, the time off is a little longer than in other parts of the country, which means the holiday season isn't all about basketball.

Christmas Programs and Parties
Our kids are getting to that age when they only sparingly participate in Christmas programs, like if they are part of the choir or some other performing group. It's kind of sad to see them grow up, but we do have more time for other events. That said, being new here with no family in the metro means that parties are through work or school. I suppose we could host a party, too (and we're pretty good at it), but it's a lot of work. 

I hate camping. My son is done with Cub Scouts, so we're done with camping, but it was a tradition the past two years in December. In 2017, it got down to 32 degrees overnight with a few snow showers on the tent, which turned to rain, which leaked in. I hate camping. 

The Landing?
Last year, we went to The Landing to see the tree. Not a big deal, and neither was The Landing itself. I hope something good comes out of imploding the area. 

The Art Museum
In 2017, we chose a free day to visit the art museum. I don't think there was any kind of Christmas theme or anything, but it's a decent little art exhibit. Every other year is probably good enough. 

Deck the Chairs
Seemed like a cool, artsy idea. The general consensus from our kids (and ourselves) is that it's relatively lame, and just about the sponsors. Perhaps we missed something, like the very fact that it's lame is what makes it cool. 

Lights off Girvin
We really enjoyed the lights in a neighborhood just to our east, near Girvin and Mt. Pleasant (McCormick/Wonderwood). Unfortunately, the never-ending Girvin construction made it a no-go in 2018. We'll try again in 2019. 

If you have the Florida Residents' Pass (cheapo weekday edition), then the holiday break is a great time to head to Orlando rather than pulling the kids out of school. We had the pass in 2017 but not in 2018. 

Jekyll Island
This playground for the rich and self-important gets dolled up for Christmas. The ice skating rink was a joke (make of plastic), but the rest of the experience was nice. Worth the drive at least once. Yearly? Not sure. I got to yell, "Charge!" on Glory Beach, so I was happy.

Jags Game
2017 was an anomaly, perhaps. In 2018, we were able to get $90 tickets for $28 each (and probably overpaid), so I took the kids. Since we're not Jags fans (PackerBackers), it does not matter what the record is, so Christmas is probably a good time to attend. The weather was pleasant, and it was my first NFL game, since getting tickets to see the Pack is pretty ridiculous. 

St. Augustine Lights
They're nice. My wife was not overly impressed. She also didn't care much about the lights at the Country Club Plaza in KC. I think she's more into the colorful displays with giant blow-up Santas.  It's another one that's worth doing once. Maybe riding around and singing Christmas songs in a horse-drawn cart makes it more fun. 

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
Hey, we're happy to go for a walk in the woods when the gators and snakes are semi-hibernating. It's free and a nice hike, just not Christmasish.

Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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