Gaylord ICE! 2018

Since yesterday was a snow day, it felt like a good time to get a few of my holiday posts form 2018 live!  Starting with our new family tradition with the Heppes grandkiddos: Day at the Gaylord for ICE!

The Gaylord hotels located all over the country get all decked out for the Christmas season and offer a variety of fun family activities, most famous for it’s ice display! Many hundreds of pounds of ice are carved into favorite holiday stories or movies for you and your kiddos to enjoy. In the past we have gone a few years on and off, but this year with 2 little nieces (and a nephew on the way…)my parents opted to start a new tradition and we planned a whole day for some Christmas merriment and ice fun!

So of course I had to start the celebration with a little Christmas treat for my girls: the book “Santa Vacations in VA”! I found it at Target and just knew Lola and Millie would need it to remember this fun day and get excited for Santa!

Prep the Night before for my Nieces…. Santa comes to VA books! December 2018


As we all know eating at a hotel can be little pricey….especially when a big part of your party isn’t always interested in leisurely dining (don’t worry Lola and Millie – one day you all will know the power of a good appetizer and drink 🙂 )… but we adults wanted an excuse to sit and enjoy the ambience of the main hotel at Christmas (As you will see in my photos – it is beautiful). So we met in the middle: we picked up Potbelly’s from the outdoor mall area and picnicked in the main hotel atrium. It was perfect !! The adults could rest and enjoy our meals, but Lola had decorations to look at and they even had an acrobatics show we could see from where we were seated.

My little Lola December 2018
Gaylord at Christmas December 2018

By sitting at the higher level we could oversee a lot of the hustle and bustle – give the kiddos something to look at – but not be in the way. A WIN for toddler management. Plus there is just something so fun about being among the excitement of the holiday fun – it kept us all entertained.

Gaylord at Christmas December 2018

Probably Lola’s favorite spot was the letter writing to Santa station! It was so cute – she grabbed some stationary and pen and went to town. Then when she was all done, Grandad walked her over to mail the letter. Ya’ll, these are those little moments where you get to see the magic of Christmas come to life! And Lola is at just such a great stage – everything is exciting, everything is bright and shiny….she made the day so fun!

Gaylord at Christmas December 2018

As we wrapped up eating our lunch, it was time for the acrobatic show – so Lola and Grandad headed over to check it out. This is one of my favorite things about the Gaylord, there is always so much going on and you don’t have to necessarily spend money to enjoy it. Of course there are things you can do to enhance the experience – but just being there is exciting.

Lola & Grandad December 2018

Then it was time for the main event…. Gaylord ICE!

Gaylord at Christmas December 2018

They give you a special coat to wear so you don’t freeze in the crazy cold temaptures…. but Millie brought a little extra to stay warm….

Miss Millie is ready for ICE! December 2018

And so did Lola… look at that hat! She doesn’t exactly know what to expect and we had only asked her if she is excited 100 times…. so I think she was starting to worry this jacket was the main event!

Lola & Grandad December 2018
In Gaylord’s ICE! December 2018

But it wasn’t!! And soon we found our way into a winter wonderland Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang style!

In Gaylord’s ICE! December 2018
My sister Katy, Little Lola and Nana December 2018

And then there were some BIG smiles!

Little Lola & Auntie Jac December 2018

And for me, one of the most beautiful parts of this display is how it always ends in a gorgeous Nativity scene. The most perfect reminder that a sweet little baby is the real reason for the season and we are blessed by the gift of life through our God, to enjoy this special holiday time with family.

The final display is the Nativity December 2018
The final display is the Nativity December 2018
Gaylord at Christmas with the Heppes Gals December 2018

Ya’ll it was such a fun day and I am so glad this will be a new regular feature in the Heppes Christmas Celebrations!

Gaylord at Christmas December 2018

We ended the day in the most perfect way….. talking Grandad and Nana into coffee, dessert and new little elf to take home that Lola so perfectly named “Jingle”.

Heppes Sisters
Grandad, Nana & Lola (oh and newest addition: Jingle the elf) December 2018

Sometimes it can overwhelm me how fast time has gone and how busy life truly is! We are family that has been blessed with many chances to be together… but as life becomes more full… we all have our own families… and our worlds take all sorts of different paths, the little moments just being together seem further apart. The silver lining is curating experiences like this to take time and enjoy are awesome and I can’t wait for more!

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!

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