The holiday season is upon us, and it is truly my favorite time of the year! I enjoy the warmth, the family time, the decorations, the Christmas music, even the chaos of the parties and festivities. There’s just something about it that makes me feel all the lovey feels.
Since having kids, my feelings about the holidays have become even stronger. Now, not only do I want to embrace this wonderful time of the year, but I want to cherish these moments more than ever – because I’m sharing them with my own little family, and that is what the holidays are supposed to be about.
When I say that I refuse to travel for the holidays, it’s not because I’m a scrooge. Really, it’s the opposite. After a few years of traveling to see family for the holidays, I realized that the joy of the season was quickly depleted by the stress of it all. So, I decided that, for now, we will not be traveling for the holidays. If you are a mom of littles, I am sure you understand exactly what I mean.
Why I refuse to travel for the holidays:
- Carseats, strollers, luggage, oh my! I have three children under six. So when we travel as a family of five, that means three car seats, one stroller, a baby sling, coats, hats, gloves, and luggage. I believe that I am a pretty efficient packer, but, even when I pack as light as possible, there is still A LOT to carry through the airport! Even if we check what we can, that’s still a lot of STUFF to keep track of. No. Thank you.
- Expensive. Our family is waaaaaayy too far away to even think about driving, so, flying it is! That’s four airplane tickets + a rental car + hotel. This ends up being thousands of dollars. No matter how far in advance we book, we are still spending a pretty penny (and by “a” I mean a lot!) Not to mention eating out or any other activities we do. You can say goodbye to any big Christmas presents if we do any sort of traveling. Sorry kids!
- What routine? If you are traveling, good luck keeping any kind of routine. It’s nearly impossible to stick to a sleep schedule – especially if you are in a different time zone. It’s taken me a while to realize just how much kids thrive on routine. When you are traveling, that all goes out the window. This makes for tired, cranky kiddos, and exhausted parents.
- Exhausting. Between prepping for the traveling, keeping track of everyone and their stuff, and trying to keep routines as normal as possible, traveling is just plain exhausting. Not to mention, when we are traveling, we are asking A LOT from our kids. They are literally made to move. Asking them to stand in line after line, sit still in the airplane, and then again in the car…that is going against their instincts as a child to move! By the end of the day, I don’t think anyone has any patience left.
- Little QT. The whole point of traveling for the holidays is to spend quality time with the people you love who you don’t get to see often, right? Well, when we travel, we are expected to see everyone at once. We travel all that way, so of course, I want to see everyone. But the tough part is, the quality of time we get to spend together just isn’t that great, and that’s disappointing. (I suggest everyone comes to visit us. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a few days in the best city in the world? Am I right?!)
There you have it. Now you know why I have decided to swap a stressed, chaotic holiday for an enjoyable one. I am so much happier since I have decided to protect the sanity and joy of this holiday for my family by removing the stresses of travel. However, if you do travel…
A few tips to make it as stress-free as possible:
- Pack light. Pack only what you need and combine luggage when you can (I usually put my daughter’s stuff in my bag).
- Plan ahead. Make sure you have plenty of activities for your kiddos! (I gave up my wannabe “Pinterest mom-mode” a long time ago. Traveling is the one time I have zero shame busting out the iPad that’s full of apps and movies).
- Set Expectations Low. Things are bound to go wrong or take longer than anticipated. You’re asking a lot of yourself, your partner, and your kids. Be gentle. Be patient. Take deep breaths. You’ve got this!