Welcome to Blogmas 2017! We are so excited to have Emily from Coffee, Mom, Repeat with us today!
Should You Stay or Should You Go?
The Pros & Cons of Traveling vs. Staying Home this holiday season.
Ah the sounds of kids fighting in the backseat. The crying of a baby across the aisle on the plane. We’ve all been there. Questioning our sanity in the 4th hour of a 6 hour car ride. Or wondering if the flight attendant will ever stop giving you those looks of pity before the plane lands. But we also love to reminisce about our own childhoods, those road trips with our families, on our way to spend the holidays with cousins and grandparents. So we’re keenly aware of the memories our kids will make, the times they’ll cherish when they’re older. How do we decide the trips that are worth taking? And how do we decide when it’s time to stay put and create our own family traditions?
Personally, we didn’t plan ahead a whole lot our son’s first year. I wish we had. Instead we spent the whole year trying to making everyone else happy. We spent more time on the road with our baby in his first year, than we did the next two years combined. As a result, by his second Christmas, we were tapped out. We decided to stay home. And even though we lived in a fairly small two bedroom apartment at the time, we hosted my parents and brother & sister-in-law. And it was wonderful. There was a little guilt that we didn’t see the other side of the family, but in the end we had to just let it go.
When it’s time to stay home.
There are plenty of reasons why staying home with your kids is a viable option this holiday. Here are just a few.
Everyone gets to sleep in their own beds.
This might be my favorite reason for staying home for the holidays. Some kids can sleep anywhere, but babies and toddlers sometimes have a hard time adjusting to alternative sleeping arrangements when they’re away from home. As adults we know how much we miss our own beds when sleeping in hotels, or on sofa beds or even air mattresses. So depending on the ages of your kids, this alone might the mitigating factor in your holiday plan decision making.
You want to start your own traditions with your own kids.
Christmas with cousins is the best. I have very fond memories of holidays with my cousins growing up. They always lived far away, and getting to spend time with them was something special that we always looked forward to. But staying home can also give you the opportunity to begin new holiday traditions with just your kids. Maybe it’s serving Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter together. Or making an advent calendar and counting down together. Or perhaps it’s just a special Christmas morning breakfast you make every year that your kids will talk about their whole life. Either way, these times are what families are all about.
Opening your home to those who can’t travel.
This might be my favorite perk to staying home. If you like to host, or even just really enjoy caring for others, this may be the most important reason you chose to stay home this year. There is often someone in our circle who maybe has to work on Christmas, or whose family lives too far and maybe they can’t afford to fly. Offering a place to have a Christmas meal and share in some of your family’s traditions may be an incredible gift to someone. Likewise, staying home with your family can save you a lot of money on gas, airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc.
When you should consider taking that trip.
Holidays are meant for families.
And living in this post recession era when it’s common to move more than once, or twice, for your career means that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of living near their entire extended family. Sometimes when you have the opportunity to take time off work and travel during the holidays, you should embrace it.
Life is short, spend it wisely.
We are not guaranteed anything in life, except that it is unpredictable. And spending time with our loved ones is something we should never take for granted. A major pro to traveling for the holidays is that it may give your kids that rare opportunity to spend precious time with extended family they don’t get to see very often.
Not hosting means less work for you.
Of course, being a gracious houseguest means offering a helping hand. But when you’re not the one hosting the holiday, a lot of the pressure comes off. You may actually get to enjoy more of your holidays, because you’re not consumed with cleaning, cooking, and all the lists.
You could have a different holiday.
If you’re going to travel, consider doing something out of the ordinary. A lot of tropical destinations are discounted in the off season, for example. Visiting places like Hawaii are less crowded and few tourists are flocking to popular attractions. If you live in warmer or beach climate, traveling could give you the possibility of a white Christmas! Create a Christmas your kids will never forget, and talk about into adulthood.
You can’t please everyone, so stop trying.
The holidays can bring up all kinds of emotions, not all of them good. Some people have negative childhood experiences they’ve hung onto, and have a difficult time enjoying the season. Others may have lost a loved one recently and the holidays remind them of that person’s absence. It’s important to remember that no matter what you choose, traveling or staying home, you will not please everyone. Making your decision based on who else will be happy or disappointed will ultimately result in a lot of unhappiness and guilt. Stand firm in your decision once you’ve made it. If you are afraid of disappointing someone, let them down gently. Take their feelings into consideration when explaining your decision. In the end, they’ll appreciate that you took the time to communicate effectively.
Whether you’re staying home or traveling this holiday season, try to remember the reason we celebrate. It’s about loving each other, and giving rather than receiving. If our focus is instilling these values in our kids, I believe the rest will fall into place. If you are taking a road trip with toddlers or babies this holiday season, click here for some essential survival tips.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season; wherever you may be.
Emily Torres is a the stay-at-home-mom to her three year old son, a writer and enthusiastic homemaker. She blogs over at Coffee, Mom, Repeat on parenting, cooking, planning and motherhood.