POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA
2 ways to go for family time at the holidays
Brave beachgoers watch the waves from the south jetty at New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday, August 31, 2010. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel / August 30, 2010)
I hope there's still time to find my football in the garage so that the Abbott boys can renew a family tradition.
New Smyrna Beach for the glorious holiday ritual of touch football on the beach.
I don't much like going into the ocean, but standing around staring at it is something I can do for hours. For that activity, Christmas Day is perfect.
The sand is pretty much unpopulated at midday, with no cars or crowds to disrupt the quiet contemplation.
Even on the coldest days, it's always nicer than, say, Chicago, where they need to spend 20 minutes layering on the wardrobe just to make it to the car. This is a great place.
Of course, there are other ways to enjoy holiday family time — or at least adapt to it.
Orlando-area residents can keep their couches to themselves and invite guests to stay at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Throughout Dec. 31, the SeaWorld hotel is offering rates starting at $109 per night.
For visiting family, the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld provides oversized guest rooms, five contemporary dining outlets and family-friendly amenities that include a resort-style pool, children's pool and playground and game room.
The resort can arrange tickets to area attractions as well as free scheduled transportation to Universal Studios, Discovery Cove, Aquatica and SeaWorld. The resort is right next to SeaWorld, where the holiday-themed shows include Shamu Christmas Miracles, The Polar Express Experience and a Sesame Street Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, St. Nick will be at the hotel to read "The Night Before Christmas" around a Christmas tree. There are holiday menus in the restaurants and the resort's nèu lotus spa is offering seasonal treatments, including a warm chocolate aromatherapy massage with free peppermint foot treatment ($110).
For details or to book a reservation, visit renaissanceseaworld.com.