Why my family doesn’t travel for the holidays.
The holidays are supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” But, lets be honest for a second, it is also the most stressful. When I got engaged I would dream about how wonderful our Christmas’s would be. It would be a magical time, spent with family gathered together. I dreamed about my husband and I with our future children in our home enjoying the spirit of the season. Fast forward several years to a family and you realize your holiday dreams don’t always match your reality. What you don’t think about in your dream-like state, is the endless amount of decisions you will make regarding whose house to go to and when, how long to stay, how much time to take off work, travel and all that goes along with it, and they go on and on. None of that was in the dreamy holiday plans I had for my family. For several years my family traveled for the holidays. We had a toddler and a baby and we went “home” for the holidays.
Off we go, schlepping tons of gifts, our kids, and they endless supply of super-important, can’t live without, baby and toddler items and set off on the road home for Christmas. The car is so full we look like the Griswolds. We are one suitcase away from becoming those people with a cargo box on the roof of our car. Well, it doesn’t take but a few mins into this car trip to come to the realization that this wasn’t part of the dream. In fact, it’s looking more like a nightmare with every passing hour. Once you arrive, you make some memories, mixed with the inevitable family dysfunction and before you know it, you get to pack it all up and head on the nightmarish trek back. Except this time you get to schlep your tired, overstimulated children back for the endless hours in the car. You’re counting down the minutes until you are finally home.
Whose idea was this? Surely it wasn’t mine. That dream just isn’t a reality. This is the main reason we no longer travel for the holidays. Deciding to forgo the added stress of holiday travel has been the best decision for our family. You get to decide when, where and how the holidays will be for your children. You set the tone. There will be no more running here or there from one Grandparents to the other and the endless argument of equal time spent. Now all that wasted and horrific travel time is down time. Time you can spend enjoying each other, watching movies, and making your own family traditions. In the end we all want our children to have lasting positive memories of family and love during the holidays. Togetherness in a cramped car or plane with stressed family members isn’t that positive memory.