By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
Marie Vaillant and her husband of Ontario, Canada, came down to Ormond Beach to stay two weeks in their condo and so she could take advantage of the shopping bargains (an every year tradition).
Hometown News is asking area residents about how their holiday preparations are progressing.
As for the "big" question, "Yes, I am ready. I have all my Christmas shopping done," Ms. Vaillant said.
No secrets were divulged because her husband had already received his present -- five laps around Daytona International Speedway in the Richard Petty Driving Experience at 160-plus miles per hour.
"The outside of the house is already decorated and all that's left is to 'go up in the bush' (which is Canadian for making a trek in their forest) to choose and get the tree and decorate it, and make some beef jerky and some sweets," she said.
All of which are part of their Christmas traditions. Yes, beef jerky.
They have two daughters, both with two children who will come to Ontario to celebrate in "a full household." As a German tradition (they are Lutheran), they open their gifts on Christmas Eve, before midnight and after going to church. The next morning they get what is in their stockings. Santa evidently doesn't do gift wrap under-the-tree, but stockings only. They also receive an orange from the church service the night before.
Traditions have changed since their girls have moved out, but they come together again at Christmas to enjoy a new set of traditions, now including grandchildren.
The past several months have been busy for Janet Peburn of Ormond Beach as president of the Civic Ballet of Volusia County, which performed "The Nutcracker" at Peabody Auditorium Dec. 8-9.
Naturally all things, including Christmas preparations, were "on hold" until Nutcracker was over. "We've got a few things, but obviously Nutcracker has taken priority," she said. "But it kind of puts you in the Christmas spirit doing the Nutcracker."
"We did shop small town businesses in town on Saturday, as well as a little Black Friday," Ms. Peburn said.
As for special traditions, Ms. Peburn leads "a Girl Scout troop, and they come over just before Christmas and spend all day cooking baking, gingerbread house building and caroling. They "celebrate Christmas both on Christmas Eve and on the day with services at St. Brendan's on Christmas Eve and the next day family comes over and we spend it together."
Christmas presents are opened on Christmas day.
David DaSilva of Daytona Beach was waiting for a bus outside a strip shopping center: "I'm as ready for Christmas as I'm gonna be as far as material things. As far as spiritual things, it's all coming together."
Mr. DaSilva was done with shopping even before Black Friday. He went online shopping twice at Bass Pro Shops, since he's a NASCAR fan and that retail chain has sponsored drivers Martin Truex, Dale Earnhardt and Jamie McMurray, and next year will sponsor Tony Stewart.
As far as other "to do" items, he said, "Decorating's done for probably the better part of a week and a half now. And now pretty much everything I do is more of a service type work in the community."
Mr. DaSilva works with a lot of different types of people that might be "down on their luck" and others that might be in times of need and tries to help them during this time. "I'm just trying to help those who are worse off than I am to be able to cope through this time," he said.
His two children have grown and gone, and the traditions they used to enjoy aren't done any more. He re-emphasized his service to others and said, "It helps me as much as them."