2020 might be just around the corner, but one Florida family is throwing it back to 1980 for the newest card in their epic annual Christmas card tradition.
This year, Cindy Simmons of Orlando, Florida, along with her husband, mother, and two daughters, is reliving her childhood with denim vests and sky-high hair.
“With ‘Stranger Things’ being such a big part of pop culture and VSCO girls being such a middle school phenom, we thought a cheesy nod to the ’80s would be a perfect way to go for this year’s family Christmas card,” Simmons said.
The tradition of over-the-top family Christmas cards began after Simmons survived breast cancer, she said. Simmons and her mother, who goes by “Momma Jane,” are both cancer survivors.
“Doing this Christmas card every year with my favorite people makes us so happy and brings us huge amounts of joy,” Simmons said.
“Once you go through something like that it just makes you go, ‘Let’s live life big,’” she said. “Once that happened, I think our family perspective just changed, we wanted to create experiences for our family instead of worrying about just things.”
Simmons said she starts planning for the Christmas photoshoot about a year in advance and the theme is always a tightly-held secret.
“No one knows except our photographer,” and her friend Christine Eberle, who does the cards each year as part of her Eberle Invitations company.
“I think about them a year in advance,” she added of the Christmas cards. “My husband and I joke that we always have to file an extension on our taxes, but we always know what our yearly Christmas card is going to be.”
In 2018, the family went for a “Mary Poppins” theme, tied to the release of the film “Mary Poppins Returns,” and immediately started scouting locations in their community “that looks like 17 Cherry Tree Lane.”
In the photo, Simmons dressed up as Mary Poppins herself, her mother dressed up as Mrs. Banks, her husband, Eric, dressed as Bert, and her two children — Lily, 13, and Luna, 6, — dressed as Jane and Michael.
Simmons said she tries to find elements for the costumes on the cheap or even make them herself when she can, noting, “This is supposed to be about an experience, not spending.”
“I get on eBay, I use Amazon points, I try to DIY,” she said. “I’m not crafty but … you can really do anything by watching a YouTube video.”
In 2015, Simmons and her Disney-obsessed family recreated beloved “Star Wars” characters.
“We’re huge Disney fans, we’re huge ‘Star Wars’ fans,” she explained.
In other years, the family has done Vintage Florida, Emergency Room, and Farm Life-themed cards.
Her young daughters “love it,” Simmons said of the family tradition.
“They’re going to get to an age where they might be like, ‘Ugh,’” she added. “But we know that when they have grandchildren this might be a good tradition they can carry on.”
The response from friends and family to their over-the-top cards each year makes it worth it, said Simmons.
“We just want to spread joy, that’s it,” she said. “That’s our sole goal in our family.”
*Disney is the parent company of ABC News.
**Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Dec. 12, 2018.
Author: Cindy Simmons
Born and raised a California girl, Cindy spent eight years at KIIS-FM-Los Angeles (Ryan Seacrest’s station) hanging with celebrities and worked on a syndicated show live from Disneyland California. She then continued her radio career in Atlanta for 12 years where she not only performed on her show with Lionel Richie and MC Hammer but was the driving force behind introducing the country duo Big & Rich!
Currently, you can find Cindy spreading JOY on the radio every day from 10AM-2PM at Z88.3 Orlando, hosting her own weekly Facebook live show, Coffee Convo Wednesday and hanging out at Walt Disney World while living on social media.
Cindy is a wife and a mom of two little girls. Cindy and her family love to travel together and do crazy fun Christmas cards every year. In fact, their 2018 Mary Poppins Christmas card was even featured on Good Morning America.com! Cindy spent most of her childhood with her family at Disneyland Resort in California and as an adult, can count Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris (twice), Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii and four magical Disney cruises in her family’s Disney repertoire!