Destination: Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac
The following is my account of our family trip to Christmas on the Potomac at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, located at 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland 20745.
The cost of our vacation was paid for by your truly and the opinions provided are 100% my own.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you use them. However, I only recommend tools and/or products that I use and trust whether I get compensated or not. It does NOT result in additional charges to you or cost you anything extra. Click here to see my full Disclosure Policy. Thank you so much for your support of Not a Lazy Susan!
No Turkey, No Problem
After being on the real estate market since late summer, our house has still not sold. While it can be disappointing, it wasn’t really a surprise now that we are well into the holiday season. That being said, the house is pretty much in “show-room” condition all the time. Most of our stuff is in storage, like our holiday decorations and the specialty kitchen items that I would normally employ during this time of year. So no turkey roasting pan, no Kitchen-Aid, no Cuisinart, no dishes (we have been using plastic-ware to eat) which means no platters, serving utensils and such. You get the idea.
While I know it’s a bummer, I’m mostly sad for my daughters who aren’t having turkey on Thanksgiving for the first time since they were born. Most of their toys are packed and I am constantly on them to make sure they don’t make a mess. My husband will joke with me about my ability to “take the fun away”. And lately, not only do I feel like I have been taking the fun away, I have been punching it in the face.
Leave it to my husband to come up with an impromptu plan to shake off the real estate blues and get us all out of the house for a mini vacation. During a business convention that he attended in D.C. last month, he was informed of a Christmas show that would be coming to town, much like Santa himself.
Christmas on the Potomac
After making arrangements for dog care and purchasing a vacation feeder for our goldfish, we set off to make hotel arrangements at the Gaylord National Resort. We stayed two nights and attended the following attractions: ICE!® featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, JOY – A Holiday Spectacular Atrium Show, Build-A-Bear Workshop® Scavenger Hunt, Christmas Village, Gingerbread Decorating Corner and Cookies with Mrs. Claus. They also had ice skating but decided not to partake. I’m perfectly capable of falling on my tush without the benefits of being on an ice rink, thank you very much. And of course, Santa Claus was there too!
Our Stay at the Gaylord National Resort
This hotel is grand and magnificent. The glass atrium, which is 19-stories high is incredible. I can’t imagine what it takes to decorate something so enormous. We were lucky enough to be on the 17th floor with a view of the Potomac. During the holiday season, the Christmas tree is lit in spectacular fashion every night. (It’s actually lit 3 times a night). It is accompanied by a laser light show, a light dusting of real snow and the shredding sounds of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The hotel is also meticulously decorated outside as well with what I can only guess is ba-zillion twinkle lights.
Gingerbread Houses, Monuments and More
If you are like me, you are fascinated with gingerbread at the holidays. I have actually never made a gingerbread house but I can appreciate all the time and energy that goes into the construction of these homes, sweet homes. At the Gaylord, they have a huge display of gingerbread that features many of the well-known buildings of our nation’s capitol. Not only are these works of art amazing, they smell so warm and delicious. How’s that for a room freshener?
ICE!® featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The hubs was able to secure the ICE! is Nice Package, which includes UNLIMITED priority entry to ICE! This was the most anticipated feature of our vacation and is the Gaylord’s signature holiday attraction. This year’s theme brings to life one of my Christmas favorites – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
This holiday classic is brought to life in a winter wonderland carved from over 2 million pounds of ice. This attraction is kept in a huge space that is literally maintained at 9 degrees. This link will show how these remarkable icy sculptures came to be. And the best part, if you ask me, is the frozen ice slide. Yes! An ice slide!
Before heading to ICE! I highly recommend that you still wear your own winter gear, including hats, gloves and we even put the kids in their snow bibs. The Gaylord supplies everyone with a blue parka to wear but the first time we went in, the blue parka wasn’t enough. So dress accordingly. It is fine to wear sneakers or boots – all walkways and steps are carpeted to avoid slippage.
After getting your fill of sliding down and checking out all the Rudolph and friends sculptures, you come to the beautiful crystal clear ice Nativity scene.
Strolling Through Christmas Village
Christmas Village at the Gaylord was a magical place and was appointed with an ice rink, Mrs. Claus’ story-telling room, a hot-cocoa bar, a carousel, a train-ride, a gingerbread decorating station and of course a chance to get your picture taken with Santa himself. A Build-A-Bear Workshop was also set up and with that, a scavenger hunt that took place throughout the resort – this was fun. The girls loved looking for the bears. However, their favorite activity by far was the gingerbread cookie decorating. And then the gingerbread cookie eating… Sorry Mr. Gingerbread Man.
Other awesome attractions
The Gaylord is not the only thing worth checking out while in the area. We rode the Capitol Wheel, which was tremendous. We visited the Peeps store. We checked out this amazing beach sculpture of a man buried in the sand. And of course, we hammed it up with various iconic statues (yeah, that’s me and Rosie the Riveter) and other items.
As I write this, I think back to just a couple of days ago when my husband first approached me about this idea. Of course, at the time, I didn’t want to do it but I am so glad we did. We had a wonderful time and I would love to be able to make this an annual family tradition.