Holiday traditions have always been something that I focused on since becoming a mother. Not just any holiday though – the Christmas holiday! I gotta tell ya know, it’s really tough sometimes when you have one older kid and one younger one. Getting them to understand Christmas is so much more than a man in a jolly red suit who pops down the chimney with a sack full of presents. I’m starting to notice that even my own kids are up into the commercialism of the Christmas holiday.
One of the biggest things I do is have my kids earn their keep for the holidays by picking out products for the #RealityMoms HOT Holiday Gift Guide. It’s fun because they really get to see what the hottest products out there for the holidays…but it’s also tough because then I have to teach them that it’s way more than getting gifts. Or giving for that matter!
One of the things we’ve done for family bonding and creating memories is visiting an incredible hotel and ice festival outside of Washington, DC. For many years now (except last year) I have been partnering with friends at Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland for their holiday ICE! Show.
The ICE! show is just a small sampling of the things to do at Gaylord National and their Christmas on the Potomac. Other fun activities include breakfast with the characters from Charlie Brown! It really goes SO FAST with kids. And this event I was reminded how much my little guy is going to eventually grow out of this phase! The characters are some of the best parts of our Gaylord National visits over the years. The best character being Santa Claus himself!
So let me go back to ICE! and tell you more about this. It sounds like its just a bunch of ice sculptures but I can assure you it’s a lot more! The story is pretty cool too. Each year, Gaylord resorts around the country take about a month to get the ICE! exhibits off and running. Very talented artists from Harbing, China fly in for an entire month carving away for days! THIRTY days to be exact. These master carvers spend a month of 12-hour shifts inside a 9-degree freezer. They use—are you ready for this—TWO MILLION POUNDS of ICE!!! The ice used for creating ice comes with a special recipe and it arrives in 36 truckloads over a three-week period.
There are three types of ice you see at the ICE! shows produced by Gaylord. Crystal ice, white ice and colored ice. At the end of the ICE! show there is an incredible display of the nativity that looks like all crystals. Creating colored ice is the hardest for the ice makers. Dyes from nine different colors are used for highlighting the ice sculptures. These giant blocks are made with simple food coloring that is added during the freezing process. Not as easy as you think! The water must be stirred constantly to ensure a consistent color throughout the block when it is cut. WILD, right?
Ok, so what exactly was the best part of ICE!? It definitely has to be the five ice slides! What was great about it this year is that they put it in the very front of the displays. SO SMART because the last time we went, by the time we made it to the slides we were all way to cold to enjoy it. Not this year though! We rocked that ice experience!
Once you get outside of the crazy cold ICE! exhibit there is an adorable place to make gingerbread houses! This year we actually made UGLY sweaters. You would NOT believe all the icing my oldest had on his cookies. I seriously think it was an accident waiting to happen! In other words, he told me it was an accident and I’m telling you there is a reason why it happened. He put the entire tube of icing on one cookie!
I don’t have a picture of Hudson because he had so much icing he lost his mind and my husband had to escort him out of the place for at time out! Seriously. I was SHOCKED because that kind never gets in trouble. Clearly, we see what sugar does to the soul!
Inside the ICE! area there are a couple of other fun things for families to enjoy. There is a tea cup spin (which had me totally throwing up! lol), a carousel, hot chocolate stand, Build a Bear stand and a fun gift shop. Christmas cookies with Mrs. Claus and a miniature train ride aboard the Potomac Express.
Have you heard enough yet? ha. No, but seriously… there is so many fun things to do at Gaylord National during the holidays. Not to mention the shops around Gaylord are wonderful and within walking distance as well. I bet there is one thing left that I didn’t answer… the price, right? You and your family could enjoy an awesome overnight with resort credits and unlimited amount of fun for about $500. Make a memory and join the fun at Gaylord National Christmas Around theWorld this holiday season!
Oh, and most importantly – go visit Santa!
Joey Fortman is the brains behind #RealityMoms. In 2008, after 20+ years in traditional media hosting radio shows around the country, Joey traded in the microphone for a diaper bag, struggling through her own personal crisis: unemployed, overweight and lost in the land of mommy bloggers. Little did Joey know, her traditional media background would pave the way for success at Real Mom Media. As a sought after media magnet, Joey has been featured nationally on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper, the Katie Couric Show, Dr. Oz, Redbook, The Today Show, The Talk, Fox and Friends & The Newlywed Game. When not at the sports complex with one of her kids, on an island or a grocery store run, or on Facebook Live with #RealityMoms contributors, Joey is obsessed with adult coloring.