One of my most favorite Christmas traditions started when I was in junior high. My parents decided one year to do "Secret Santa/12 Days" where we would all go to the store and pick out 12 items to give to a family in need. We loved looking through the Chirstmas decorations, smelling the candles, looking at the lights, and trying samples of christmas cookies and treats. We would each pick out a few items, and made sure to have 12 in total. The rule was to include at least one item that represented the true meaning of christmas and we would try to look for an ornament of a manger or somthing similar. Then, we would wrap each individual gift and leave a note saying "On the first day of Christmas, Santa gave to _____" and leave the family's name. Then we would sneak up to the door, leave the gift, ring the doorbell, and run as fast as we could back to the car. It was so much fun, and as we approached Christmas Eve, being the 12th day of Christmas, we would have to get super sneaky, sometimes waiting until 1 or 2 a.m. to leave the gift so we wouldn't get caught. In the last few years, it's gotten very difficult with Ring door bells making it a challenge to not be caught. But innovation and challenges spark creativity so we will see what happens with this Christmas tradition! What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Do they include homemade goodies, cozzying up to a holiday movie, or creating ornaments as a family? Check out some unique and fun christmas traditions. Let us know which traditions are your family's favorite on our social media polls! Food "Baking Christmas cookies is one of our main activities before the holiday. We buy a lot of decorations and make different types of Christmas cookies. When we first started, we only made cookies for ourselves. However, we’ve noticed that all of our friends and family loved them, so we made tiny gift baskets out of our Christmas cookies. Now, we make enormous quantities and share them around the neighborhood and among each other. " — Tony Arevalo, Carsurance.net "Now that we're all older, our traditions have changed a bit. We mostly drink Christmasy cocktails and eat our favorite foods on Christmas Eve (deviled eggs, grinders, meatballs, shrimp cocktail, and other finger foods). " — Alicia Butler, NYC in a Day "I like to make my mom's secret chili recipe and have dinner on the couch next to the tree. We MUST watch the original Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph movies that I grew up with (the new ones just aren't the same!) or it just doesn't feel like Christmas. " — Kara Harms, Whimsey Soul "We make homemade waffles and homemade ice cream for christmas breakfast." — Ben Smith, Marketing Content Specialist Activities "On Christmas Day, I exchange stocking stuffers with my parents before heading to my sister's house to give my niece and nephew their presents." — Butler "As it turns out my daughter as she was growing up (she’s a freshman in college now) always tended to obsess over different holiday movies in different stages of her childhood and would listen and sing to the movie's soundtracks long after Christmas had come and gone. Usually some holiday movie would be “the one” for a year or two before she discovered something new. (Elf was clearly the all-time winner… Thank god it had a great soundtrack…Ha!) We’d laugh as she was singing and humming Christmas tunes from the movie on the beach at Spring Break for example. Ha! For that reason I would always make a point of making sure that I had learned the chord changes to a tune or two from her fav holiday movie of that year so that when we’d get to the next year I would start playing one of those tunes and she’d be thrilled and fired up and excited to sing along. We still are doing it today and it brings up really great memories for all of us from different eras as she was growing up. It’s a real hoot and we all love it!" — Scott Houston, Houston Enterprises "On Christmas morning we all agree for a time to wake up. Then we'll head downstairs to see the hall flooded with gifts and go to our family room to open them. My mom plays Santa and hands out the gifts, making sure we go around the circle and each gets a turn to open. We'll play Christmas music in the background and it's a very cozy sight!" — Ciara Hautau, Fueled.com Decorations "Every year we go to the same Christmas tree farm in Connecticut as a whole family and search around the huge farm for the best tree. My mom is a very picky about her trees so it will take quite a bit of time and ends up with us each at a different quadrant of the farm to hold trees we think are worthy. At the end, we celebrate by gathering around the fire they have at the farm and ordering hot apple cider and apple cider donuts." — Hautau Movies "My family's Christmas traditions pretty much revolve around Christmas movies. We have a list of classics we watch each year and some newer ones that have made it into the rotation. " — Butler "My husband and I have been married for 19 years and have always LOVED Christmas! As the years have rolled on and our family has grown to include a son and a daughter, our traditions have evolved to be one of the most meaningful parts of the year. Christmas movies in particular play a huge part in our annual rituals, starting with the decorating of the tree (and occasionally, the cat…) whilst watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (our daughter singing ‘You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch!” at the top of her lungs) through baking gingerbread to have with hot, hot, hot chocolate during the Polar Express (our son leaping off the furniture in ecstatic dance mode) and culminating with the pinnacle of Christmas delight, The Muppet Christmas Carol, watched with almost holy reverence every Christmas Eve at sundown, whilst tucking into our traditional feast of homemade sausage rolls and pickles. Every year these moments become more and more special, and I’m sure we will continue to add to our traditions as the children grow." — Kath Gilbert, Writer "Every year my family and I watch A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve and we have some sort of Chinese food as they did in the movie. Some years we have gone out for Chinese food Christmas Eve. Other years we’ve cooked a feast at home for friends and added spring rolls. It’s a funny way to add a nod to the movie. We also remember that not every holiday meal and party is perfect but that we are together.” — Kristy Richardson, Writer "We've done this since we've been kids — probably because it's on non-stop on TNT. But it's one of my favorite traditions. We'll put Christmas music on all day, bake cookies, and then enjoy the cookies while watching A Christmas Story. This tradition really brings me back to the good old days of our childhood and always makes me feel at home." — Hautau "Christmas movies are a holiday staple for many families, and mine is no exception! Every year, on Christmas Eve, my family will read, and then watch, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original animated short movie specifically). And then on Christmas the next day, while opening presents, we catch A Christmas Story playing on TBS’s 24-hour movie marathon. Throughout the season, we watch countless other Christmas films and shows, between the Hallmark Christmas movies on TV, and Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” as well." — Jennie Neylon, Content Writer "In early December, we mix up Moscow Mules, put on a classic movie we've all seen a bunch, like Harry Potter or Christmas with the Kranks, and decorate the tree together. The days leading up to Christmas are my favorites, though. More nights than not, we'll pick out a new cheesy holiday movie, like The Christmas Prince, pop open a bottle of wine, turn the tree lights on, and gather on the couch together. " — Harms Holiday traditions are great ways to connect with friends and family. We would love to hear about your family's traditions! Follow us on our social media accounts and let us know your favorite holiday traditions.
The hype is real! Disney Plus has officially launched, and Disney fanatics are going crazy over the expansive collections of titles available and the user-friendly interface. But many consumers are asking themselves some hard questions: Do I sign up for Disney Plus and cancel my other subscriptions? Do I keep my other subscriptions and sign up for Disney Plus? It is a tough decision for sure, so read on to find out what you need to know about Disney Plus to decide whether it is a wise investment for you and your family. How does Disney Plus differ from other streaming services in the following areas? Price Content Blocks Usage Price Disney Plus comes at a competitive $7 per month compared to its rivals at Netflix and other streaming services which start at $9 per month. Consumers can stream movies, shows, and originals from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and its own studios as well as a library of vaulted classics. Consumers can also choose to prepay for a year-long subscription of $70, making it a little less than $6 per month for Disney Plus. However, for those Hulu and ESPN lovers, you will love this. If you sign up for Disney Plus, you can pay a whopping $13 per month on a bundle of Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN! This way, kids have the more filtered and family-friendly content, parents get the more adult shows, and sports lovers still get their ESPN fill. For those who are true Disney fanatics and are annual passholders, there are several different discount options especially for you making your Disney plus monthly plan as affordable as $40 per month. Here's what the experts have to say about it: “Disney+ has already crossed 10 million subscribers on its first day, and we think it will only grow from there. At $6.99 per month, it's one of the most affordable streaming services available. Furthermore, Disney is offering bundle pricing with ESPN+ and Hulu for just $13.99 a month. Disney will even credit the cost of a $5.99 Hulu subscription back to existing Hulu subscribers if they sign up for the bundle. That low price creates a minimal bar for entry to the Disney+ service. Considering Disney owns massively popular intellectual properties like Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, along with its own Disney branded content, many will be hopping on this service. In 2019, half of the top box office movies were released by Disney. Disney plans to have its movies exclusively available on Disney+. No other streaming service commands that type of exclusivity when it comes to blockbuster films. That alone is reason enough to chose Disney+ over other on-demand streaming services. Once the public sees they can only see Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney films after their theatrical release on a $6.99 per month streaming service, we'll see an explosion of new Disney+ subscribers after each Disney box office hit. And newly released films are just one driver of subscribers for Disney+. The service has its own original content like the new Star Wars series The Mandalorian, along with a massive backlog of almost 500 classic films and 7,500 television episodes. Services like Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO Now will still have their place, but they are going to be making a lot of room for Disney+.” — Dennis Restauro, President at GroundedReason.com "With so many internet streaming services competing for your money, the choice for which ones to sign up for has never been tougher, but Disney+ is a worthy contender to be added into your binge-watching budget — or at least it might be in time. As far as cost goes, Disney+ is certainly one of the least expensive available for the sheer amount of popular content that you get for it. Just being able to watch from Disney’s massive library of animated and live-action content with big names like Star Wars and Marvel in the mix for only $6.99 a month would be impressive enough. But with access to 4K Ultra HD movies, up to four simultaneous streams and up to 10 devices registered at a time, Disney is seriously gunning for the position of best value in streaming, considering that you need a $15.99 Premium subscription to get those perks from Netflix." — Brian Camacho, Graduate Publisher at Finder.com Content “Disney+ can’t compete with other streaming services when it comes to original content at the moment. While there’s a ton of high-profile series in the works for the following years, right now only four — including the new big budget entry into the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian — are available. Episodes also seem to be uploaded on a weekly basis, so if you’re looking to really sink your teeth into a new series, you might be stuck waiting for a while. There is also currently no way to adjust the streaming quality of what you’re watching, so you may end up eating through your mobile data very quickly if you’re watching on the go. Of course, there’s more than enough content to keep you satisfied while you wait. One of the best ways to find new content through Disney+ is through the “Explore” feature which curates TV and movies from a particular genre. My personal favorite is the 'Disney Through the Decades' collection, which has all of Disney’s animated and Live Action content currently available through the service sorted by order of their release, starting from 1928 with Mickey Mouse’s debut short Steamboat Willie. Adding new content to your watchlist can be a clunky experience though, since you have to click on the item of interest and hit the add to playlist button. Going back and forth between menus can end up being a nuisance if you just want to quickly fill up your streaming queue. Only time will tell if Disney can use a little of their magic to turn this, admittedly already impressive, pumpkin into the carriage that will take them to the top of the streaming TV industry, but if you’re remotely curious about the offerings of Disney+, it’s a good enough value to check out for yourself." — Givens “ It also allows for four simultaneous streams on four separate devices, more than enough to keep all your kids entertained at once. And with unlimited downloads, it's useful during the holiday season with traveling. You can download content for your kids and not have to access Wi-Fi for streaming on the road." — Chris Brantner, Streaming Expert and Founder at Streamingobserver.com Blocks “Disney+ really is the ultimate streaming service for families. The library is packed full of new and old Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content. And unlike Netflix and similar services, parents never have to worry about their kids stumbling across adult content; the service caps ratings at PG-13.” — Brantner Usage On day one of the Disney Plus launch, Disney hit 10 million subscribers, which beats all other streaming services by miles. These subscribers enjoy four simultaneous streams at the same time. Netflix doesnt even allow for this until you reach the $16 per month tier. Almost all content is entirely downloadable up to 10 mobile or tablet devices. But there are unlimited downloads for offline viewing, so you can enjoy your movies and shows from wherever you are. Keep your family busy while shopping, traveling, and waiting in lines for the doctor. In fact, Disney made a deal with Verizon to give their wireless carriers one free year of Disney Plus. Disney Plus also allows users to have up to seven profiles for the entire family to enjoy Disney Plus and select their own favorite content to enjoy. Over 200 different avatars exist for all users to customize their experiences on Disney Plus. New research conducted by Likewise on the streaming landscape is presented in this infographic: Both infographics used with permission from Liv Allen, Codewordagency.com The bottom line "Disney+ stands out from other platforms because of the amount of quality content they have in their vault. While some streaming platforms are trying to play catch-up and put out as much content as possible, regardless of quality, Disney is able to immediately compete with mass amounts of quality titles. With the number of options in the marketplace, consumers are starting to weed out where they spend their dollars. Large players such as PlayStation Vue have already tossed in the towel." — Michael Wylie, Director of Cybersecurity Services at Richey May Technology Solutions Disney Plus has a wide selection of features and benefits for a lower price compared to its competitors. Only time will tell what happens next in the streaming world!