Carla, Daniel, and their two daughters Carly and Ella, live in Mount Dora Florida. Christmas is one of their favorite times of the year! Share their joy as you read about the way they celebrate the festive season.

Christmas around the world - Family traditions in Florida - Traditional handmade pink holiday smocked dresses

Can you please present your neighborhood to allow us to travel through your words?

Mount Dora, affectionately called “Someplace Special” is located in central Florida. The town is best known for its antique shops, its array of annual festivals and its many historic buildings which are surrounded by large canopy oak trees.

Celebrating the magic of Christmas around the world - Family holiday traditions in Mount Dora Florida - Pink smocked dresses

Holidays around Mount Dora are magical. Our daughters truly enjoy every bit of the many exciting and heartwarming Christmas traditions. Their adventures around town have even inspired us to write a book called “Joy In Mount Dora.”

Christmas traditions around the world celebrating the magic of the festive season Mount Dora Christmas tree

Can you share about your local Christmas traditions?

One of Carly and Ella’s favorite traditions is the Mount Dora Santa Tour! Every year Santa and Mrs. Claus, visit the neighborhoods, with a few of their local friends. On this special day, Santa covers a lot of ground touring the town. Our girls eagerly wait by the window, as they hear the sound of Santa’s sleigh getting closer and closer to our home. The town works arduously to ensure that the children enjoy a wonderful Christmas season, and that’s what makes Mount Dora, Florida truly “Someplace Special.”

Another significant part of our traditions, is visiting the famous Walt Disney World Life Size Gingerbread House, located within The Grand Floridian Resort. Visiting the iconic Gingerbread House is a quintessential holiday-time experience. The Gingerbread House is made with REAL gingerbread. You can even watch the clouds of cinnamon come out of its chimney. 

Celebrating the magic of Christmas around the world - Family holiday traditions in Mount Dora Florida Walt Disney Gingerbread house

Best of all, when you visit the Gingerbread House, there are a variety of holiday treats available for purchase, including the individual shingles used to construct this elaborate display.

Walt Disney World Life Size Gingerbread House, located within The Grand Floridian Resort.

Among the many special details that make this a truly magnificent exhibit, you can spot an almost 100 pound chocolate Santa, hand-painted candy canes, and many hidden Mickeys.

Celebrating the magic of Christmas around the world - Family holiday traditions in Mount Dora Florida Walt Disney Santa

Can you share about your very own family traditions?

There is no confection that quite captures the spirit of the season like gingerbread. It is a staple in the United States, and a beloved tradition in our home.

Celebrating the magic of Christmas around the world - Family holiday traditions in Mount Dora Florida - Gingerbread house

As the delicious cookies bake in the oven, the aroma of the sweet and warm spices spreads through our house and brings a delightful sense of comfort.

Gingerbread biscuit home baking Christmas recipe family traditions

That wonderful cookie savor reminds us of sweet childhood memories at Christmas and of being surrounded by our loved ones. The best part of this tradition is being able to share our cookies with family, friends and neighbors.

Gingerbread Nutcracker recipe

We typically bake our gingerbread cookies a few days before we deliver them. The girls help mom and dad by packaging the cookies and adding a pretty ribbon. Our tradition has become a special one for loved ones, as every year they excitedly look forward to this delivery.

We use the Love From The Oven Gingerbread Cookies recipe : the most delicious and simple one I’ve ever made.

Gingerbread cookie biscuit Christmas gift home made present for children

It is also a true honor for our beautiful daughters Carly and Ella, to be a part of the stunning production by Lake Ballet's The Nutcracker, a most beloved traditions in our hometown.

This year, they will once again perform as angels alongside the Sugarplum Fairy - in The Land of The Sweets. We are thrilled beyond words.

Lake Ballets’ The Nutcracker ballerina

How do you generally spend the Christmas season?

The Christmas season for us is about making time for what matters most : spending time with our loved ones. For a part of the season, we travel within the state of Florida as well as to other states within the US to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Our Christmas visits are filled and brimming with delicious foods, gift exchanges, photographs and a lot of love.

What is your traditional Christmas meal like?

Traditionally, the grandparents take on the labor of love that are the big Christmas meals, for the whole family to enjoy. As a Puerto Rican - Korean family living in the US, our Christmas meals consist of a blend of cultures with great Latin influence.

We typically enjoy a big bowl of delicious arroz con gandules (rice and peas). This is best served with another Puerto Rican classic, roasted pernil (roasted pork shoulder). And who can resist a big slice of dreamy, creamy caramel flan (custard)? Our gingerbread cookies are often a part of the dessert menu. 

Puerto Rican classic, roasted pernil (roasted pork shoulder)

Do you have a favorite Christmas craft?

One of our favorite things about Christmas is decorating our tree. Over the years, we have accumulated ornaments that have a special memory associated with them. It is always fun to go through our ornaments and remember the special times as we decorate the tree!

Christmas ornaments

We like to make our custom keepsake. Here is how to make your own ones!

Christmas Clear Baubles Home made DIY Christmas craft


  • Your favorite keepsake (For this example we are using an heirloom, a broach)
  • Christmas Clear Baubles - They can be purchased here
  • Faux Snow
  • Ribbon


  • Scissors (for cutting the ribbon)


  • Open the clear bauble.
  • The clear baubles can be easily opened, as they are made of two half-moons that clasp together.
  • Place a bit of the faux snow and your keepsake inside of the clear bauble.
  • Close the bauble and add a ribbon.
Christmas Clear Baubles

Can you please tell us a little more about your book “Joy In Mount Dora”?

This year Daniel and I celebrated our anniversary in the most special way. We were able to bring to fruition one of our dreams. WE HAVE A BOOK! Together we became a Children’s Book Author, and a Children’s Book Illustrator. We are absolutely thrilled!

We are looking forward to this wonderful adventure!

The book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon.

Children's book Mount Dora


A Christmas wish from your family to the world?

May the Christmas season fill you with a sense of childlike wonder, and envelope you in the comfort of family, friends, and faith.

Christmas holiday card family wishes Florida

Follow the Melick family on Instagram : @themarvelousmrsmelick

Read more Christmas around the world articles

Shop our Christmas dresses

The girls pink smocked dresses are Charlotte sy Dimby designs

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