Traveling for Christmas - do you always have to? Need some advice or empathy
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 12/3/2012 by lattemomof3 in NSBR Board
 

lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:45:26 AM
My kids have never gotten to sleep in their own beds on Christmas Eve, & gotten to see what Santa left them Christmas morning. All of our extended family- grandparents, cousins etc live 3 hours away, so we have always gone to my family's Christmas eve get-together, which my kids love- Santa shows up & there are cousins to play with. Then we drive for another hour, and arrive at 10:30 pm at my in-law's house, sleep there, then spend Christmas morning & afternoon there, again, my kids love it, they get to see their cousins. Then we pack up & drive home, getting home on Christmas day to finally see what Santa brought & have our own Christmas at about 8pm, so there's not much time to play before bed.

Sigh, Does anyone else have to do this? We have to put the kids in the car before we leave on Christmas Eve, back it out of the garage, make an excuse about getting some more things & locking up the house so we can rush around putting out the Santa gifts & filling stockings, while our blood pressure is sky high because we're afraid a child will come looking to see what is taking us so long.

My kids don't know any other way to do Christmas, & if we stayed home, they would not see any of their grandparents & cousins. They would not come to our house because they all live near each other & also near their in-laws, so it would upset an entire Eco-system if some family came to visit us on Christmas. So we'd be able to sleep in our own beds & have our small Christmas, but we'd still probably end up having to travel to take gifts to the extended family before or after Christmas, and it would just be us, so It might seem a little lame. Not sure what I'm asking, just wondering if anyone else has to go through this utter madness over Christmas. The older I get, the more I hate it.

Our kids are 13, 10, & 6, so the younger 2 still believe in Santa, & we don't want to pretend Santa is coming to our House the day before Christmas eve, because I think it will make them suspicious, this is probably the 10 year old's last year to believe. Also- we simply don't have room for all of the extended family's gifts, our luggage & our kids Santa gifts in our small SUV, so taking them with is not an option either. Ugh!!!!

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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:53:22 AM
Oh heavens. I would have to put a stop to that. It is likely far too late this year, but Christmas 2013 would find me and my family at home, warm and snug in their own beds.

Could you not go on the 22nd/23rd to see family and come back to your home on Christmas Eve this year?



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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:54:39 AM
We dont travel for Christmas. Granted it's a 10 hour drive for us right now and would involve more than just the two days. But even when we just lived an hour away we spent Christmas morning at our house and met up with family later.

If everyone lives close to each other but your family see if they would be willing to get together on a different day for a family party that just doesn't involve Santa but you can still see all the cousins and exchange gifts. Be prepared for people telling you you are ruining Christmas if you aren't at their house on Christmas day like you always are. But if it's important to you to have Christmas morning at your house, do it. If the kids don't like it as much, go back to the other way the next year.


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PierKiss
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:56:09 AM
We used to do something similar growing up. We would always travel from our house up to MD to have Christmas with my parents families. Christmas was always at my Aunt's house. It was fun, we got to see our cousins and have this giant Christmas morning thing. But it was sort of weird that we were never at our house for Christmas morning. And, on those Christmases, we would open gifts, have breakfast, open stockings, play for like 20 minutes, and then get shoved into the car to go visit my moms parents, my dads parents, and then their siblings. We'd get back to my Aunt's house at like 8pm-so still no time to play.

I finally asked my mom if we could stay at our own home for Christmas the year I turned 9. My parents talked about it, and agreed that we could start staying home. It was great for me and my brother! We loved it. No more traveling! Yay! I do not believe any of our extended family complained or threw major fits about it beyond saying, "We sure will miss you guys this year." But my family is very very low on the drama.

Honestly, if you are hating it more and more each year, I would stop doing it. Yes, your kids won't get to see their cousins on Christmas as they have been before, but they will be making Christmas memories with their immediate family. You can always travel the day/weekend after Christmas to see everyone and do a different sort of Christmas with your extended family. It will be okay.



eebud
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:00:07 AM

do you always have to?

I don't HAVE to do anything. As an adult, I make my own decisions.

Would I keep doing what you are doing though? It sounds WAY too hectic. However, the kids love it and they enjoy seeing everyone, playing with their cousins, etc. and I don't know that I would want to take that away from them. What I would probably change if I could is driving home on Christmas Day. Why not stay until the 26th or 27th before you drive home or do y'all need to be home due to going back to work, etc.? If I didn't have to be back home on Christmas Day, I would leave the morning of the 26th or 27th and the kids can see what Santa left them when they get home.





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shanni
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:00:50 AM
We live just over 2 hours from all of our family. Every single year we toy around with the idea of just staying home, but every year we end up going. (We DID actually stay home for Christmas morning ONE year, but it ended up being more trouble than it was worth. We went up for the Christmas eve stuff, drove back home, then went back up for Christmas afternoon/evening. WAAAAY too much driving on Christmas!)

The one thing we do differently than you is that Santa comes to the house that we are sleeping at. We just leave a note at home telling Santa that we are at Grandma's house, and he always finds us. It does take some planning to accomplish it, but I think it's worth it.

I do a lot of my shopping online, and just have all the Christmas stuff shipped to my mom's house. It's a mad rush to wrap everything after the kids go to bed, but I think it's worth it. The other thing we did was invest in a car topper. It has saved us on several occasions. If we have a large item, Santa wraps a box with a picture of it (and some of the accessories for it, if possible) and a note that says that he knew this wouldn't fit in our car, so he left it at our house.

Like I said before, every year I think that THIS is the year that I will bag everything and stay home for a quiet Christmas with just my little family, but every year I cave. Deep down, I know that Christmas just wouldn't be the same without all the cousins and Grandma's.

Really Red
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:01:20 AM
It is too much. We did this starting with 2 one-year-olds and ending up with 3 under 3yo. We were WIPED.

Then we started having people at our house. UGH. Not an option either.

Then we just did it with us. Who is peaceful? The parents!!! The kids miss that connection a LOT.

So. Maybe you could try it this year (and go up to grandparents the next day) and see how the kids do? If it doesn't work out, it's one year. Go back to your traditions next year.

I love staying home.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:02:41 AM
You said yourself the kids love it. It doesnt sound that bad to me.

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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:06:43 AM
Went from house to house growing up & at 10 my parents divorced. It was even more chaotic. We stay home with our kids, best decision we ever made. Santa has never played into the decision.

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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:15:10 AM
We have always traveled for Christmas. Like you - we are the only ones in either my or DH's family to move away - if we didn't travel, we wouldn't see anyone in our extended family over Christmas. Even though I would like to stay home sometimes, I would be very sad to miss out on the extended family celebrations.


Our kids are 13, 10, & 6, so the younger 2 still believe in Santa, & we don't want to pretend Santa is coming to our House the day before Christmas eve, because I think it will make them suspicious, this is probably the 10 year old's last year to believe.


Santa always came to our house before we started our Christmas traveling. My sons (who are grown now) never had any trouble believing that Santa knew we wouldn't be home on Christmas so he came to our house early. After believing he flies through the air and delivers toys to everyone, coming to our house early didn't seem like much of a stretch. We would celebrate our own little Christmas and then still have the big family celebrations a few days later.




Tuva42
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:03:59 AM
Just tell the little one that Santa knows you won't be home and so will come the day after Christmas. That gives you a morning of excitement the next day. If your 10 yo doesn't go for that its okay, its not like he/she doesn't suspect already.


Laurie

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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:03:07 AM

Our kids are 13, 10, & 6, so the younger 2 still believe in Santa, & we don't want to pretend Santa is coming to our House the day before Christmas eve, because I think it will make them suspicious, this is probably the 10 year old's last year to believe.


I think people give most kids way too much credit. I've always said that if I can't make up a story to satisfy my kids, then I need to give up.

My dad had to work Christmases sometimes when we were kids. We went to our grandparents' house on Christmas Eve. My granny would need something from the store, and my dad would volunteer to get it. When we went home, there would be a note on our door from Santa, explaining that he knew our dad had to work the next day so he brought our presents early.

I never ever once guessed what was really going on, and I was 10 or so when this happened.

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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:43:44 AM

Sigh, Does anyone else have to do this?


We don't have too, but we all spend the night at my parents house on Christmas Eve and wake up with my family Christmas morning. Santa delivers his Christmas presents and fills the stockings at my mom's house since he knows that's where the kids will wake up.

We take all of our gifts to my mom's house so we all open everything there.

My kids are 13, 23 and 30 and they still spend the night at my mom's house. My 23 yr old did Christmas with her boyfriend's family last year and is now bringing him this year since they love it so much.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:57:02 AM
What do you do for Thanksgiving? drive down there also?

We do every other yr with my family, which is 4 hrs away.
If we do Thanksgiving with my family, 4 hrs away, then we do cmas with my dh's family, and visa versa. Dh's family is about 30 mins away.
When we do cmas or thanksgiving with dh's family we stay at home, and just drive out there for the day. If we do my family we drive down 4 hrs, and stay for 3-4 days.






voltagain
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:04:22 PM
If it matters to you; I was in your child's shoes growing up.
Wanna know something? I don't regret one single second of it. I have never once wished I had woken up in my bed on Christmas morning. In fact I don't understand the alure of wanting to do that.

What I do have that I cherish is wonderful memories of family... big, noisy, extended family. An overnight party of cousins camped out in our sleeping bags on grandpa's living room floor and giggling half the night away. Sneaking cookies with my aunt.

Sharing the piano bench with a cousin at the table because there werent enough chairs.

Fabulous, glorious, tinsel festooned memories of family in its completeness. A circle of generations.


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robnjenb
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:12:27 PM
A couple years back my BIL announced that they would be staying home on Christmas day from now on... and I was really offended! But you know what? It was the best gift he could have given us! We now do our family party whenever our parents fly in from Florida, spend a couple of hours on Christmas Eve at my MiL's and on Christmas day it's presents, breakfast, jammies all day and lots of family time...


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Creativegirl
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:18:12 PM
Can you celebrate Christmas at your home on the 26th or 27th? That way, you have the evening after you return to set everything up and the kids can still have a Christmas morning in your home. I know it's not THE Christmas day but really, I sure as heck wouldn't complain about an extra Christmas day if I were a kid!

As far as Santa- I would have him leave a note, "Sorry I missed you yesterday- I'll stop by tomorrow on my way back the North Pole!" or whatever.

As long as there is happy family, presents, excitement, etc- I really don't think kids get as caught up in the details as adults do. Whether it's the 25th or 26th, they are having a fun Christmas morning at home and they will love it.


Anna




writermom1
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:23:36 PM
I traveled as you describe on Christmas as a kid and felt as Voltagain did. I LOVED it. I felt sorry for the "home all day" crowd.

I think the suggestion that you move your home celebration to the 26th sounds great.

If you aren't comfortable with Santa making a second stop at your home I would just ask Santa to deliver them as usual but put them somewhere that mom and dad can find and move them later. They will be delivered as usual but you wait until 12/26 to open them. Santa might also put them under the tree with a blanket and note "not to be opened until December 26th."

I think that sounds fun. Get up and have a great meal and second celebration.

Santa might even hide a few and expect a scavenger hunt because he's squirrelly like that.



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ksuheather
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:24:32 PM
That is not unlike the schedule we kept when I was a kid and I put my foot down as an adult and we stay home for Christmas but will travel the 26th. I say do what works for your family but I don't understand why Santa can't come to grandmas.



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writermom1
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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:26:37 PM
KSUHeather I think Santa can't come to grandmas because it can be difficult to get Santa's bag in the family car for the trip without the kids seeing it?



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lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:07:48 PM
Thanks peas, we decided to stay home Christmas Eve, so we'll miss my big family celebration (3 hours away) (we did spend thanksgiving w/ them though), we'll get up early & do the Santa stuff, then leave at 8:30 am to drive the 3 hours (different town than my side) to dh's family. We didn't want to take Santa stuff with us because, well, been there, done that, not fun. Also, with packing our luggage, food and gifts for both sides of the family, & our dog's kennel, we'd have to drive both cars to get everything there if we also took Santa stuff. I e-mailed & called everyone today, my mom was great, my 2 sis in laws, not so much, but- oh well.

Eleezybeth
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:26:55 PM
It's not that I mind traveling, I hate that it is the expectation. My in-laws are divorced and with my family it is a heck of a cluster just to make everybody happy. And it was never about making me happy. I had an uncle corner me and tell me I "would be at every Christmas until Grandma dies. That's just how we do it here." Okay... so we moved away and it just isn't possible.

When we do go home, it is beyond stressful. While everybody lives within 2 hours of each other it is a ton of time on the road - wasted time. Nobody offers to chauffeur us around either so it is the cost of the flight plus rental car, etc. Again- expectation that we will just have the extra money. Not to mention the cost of shipping the crap home and then shipping the crap back again. Nightmare.

omarakbt
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:47:34 PM
Different but the same
My inlaws lived in Florida, where all my MIL's children lived. I worked every other year ( nurse) so we went to Florida every other year. And my MIL did Christmas differently than we did or my FIL's family before he married MIL ( first MIL passed away), Big Christmas eve, Mass, little kids went to bed and had their Christmas in the AM
Sadly both of my in laws passed in the last two years. My DD is a grown woman. My mom came this past year, this year she opted for Thanksgiving instead
But we went to Florida so our DD would grow up knowing her extended family. It was the time we set aside to be together as family so yes, I would do it all again. Those are memories they will have for a lifetime


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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:54:09 PM
Oh I really do feel for you!

My dh's family lives 3 hours away from us and we trek up to their place every Christmas morning and come back later that day. Its a LONG day in the car for everyone but his family ALL gets together that day so its very important to dh that we go on that day.

Id prefer to stay home on Christmas day and let the kids just be lazy and hang out.

I think your idea of being home in the morning and going to family later in the day/morning is a great idea.

I hope it works for you!



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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:28:46 AM
We travel 7 hours each way and spend several days with my family over Christmas time. We have stayed home a couple years and my kids were bored. They love going and being with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My mom does Christmas big and it really means a lot to her to have as many of her kids & their families with her as possible.

I hear you on the gift hauling. When the kids were smaller, Santa gifts were picked up by my mom or sent to her house. We've gotten into the habit of opening presents from each other the night before we leave. That works out great. There are plenty of gifts for them to open from the rest of the family.

I really wasn't too excited about going this year. My parents are separated after 45 years if marriage and I have one sister that I deal with best in small doses. My 17 & 18 yo DDs really want to go. They love being with family and all the fun traditions my mom has created over the years.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:01:04 AM
We're military. In the early years, we went home almost every year. It was hard on the budget, but DH was often deployed over Christmas and I didn't want to be alone. Then the years he was home, he wanted to be with his family because he had missed the previous year.

When we finally had kids, we went home that first Christmas and I said never again. It was just too much and the baby was a mess. After that, the grandparents came to us. But I missed all the family, cousins, aunties, my grandmother, etc. So when the kids were in school, we started going home again.

Some years, we open gifts before we fly out. Some years, we do it when we are home again. But I don't take all of our gifts with us. Santa is at my parents' house, but Santa brings small things, because that's a lot of toys to fit in the sleigh! The year the kids got bikes from Santa, I just gave them a small trinket to open Christmas morning and then a letter saying there was more back at the house. Never once have my kids complained about more gifts!

In the end, I had to choose between family and peace and quiet. I chose family. After my grandma is gone, that may change again. But for now, all the family is at Grandma's house on Christmas eve. All her kids, and all the grandkids at least stop in for a bit. (I'm the only one that moved away.) Some years, there are 40 some people in the house. But my kids love it--that's Christmas to them. They are teens now and I don't know how much longer we will keep doing it. But for now, it's our family tradition.


Michelle

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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:07:22 AM

What I do have that I cherish is wonderful memories of family... big, noisy, extended family. An overnight party of cousins camped out in our sleeping bags on grandpa's living room floor and giggling half the night away. Sneaking cookies with my aunt.

Sharing the piano bench with a cousin at the table because there werent enough chairs.

Fabulous, glorious, tinsel festooned memories of family in its completeness. A circle of generations.


this!

amom23
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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:13:40 AM
My oldest is 19 and he has never had Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at home. We either travel to see my family or DH's. This year we are finally in our new and much bigger house and Christmas will be here. I am so over traveling and all that that involves. Several family members are coming and I'm excited to host.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:26:15 AM
I can empathasize with the stress but love love love Christmas with the big family. I have lost both parents and live 4 hours from my side and 5 hours or more from DH side of the family. Since loosing my parents at 51 and 54- we know that life is short and try to make the best of what little time we have left with everyone.

Santa comes when daddy can be home... there are too many houses to try and get to in one night. So, he is relieved when someone asks him to come earlier.

Last year, DH had to work on Christmas Day and our kids left Christmas night for a Youth group ski trip. So, we left my Grandmas house on Christmas eve night-late. We ended up having a late supper at a buffet and doing santa before we went to bed so that DH could see what Santa brought.

Wouldn't have done anything different.



DawninTX
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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:26:33 AM
I can empathasize with the stress but love love love Christmas with the big family. I have lost both parents and live 4 hours from my side and 5 hours or more from DH side of the family. Since loosing my parents at 51 and 54- we know that life is short and try to make the best of what little time we have left with everyone.

Santa comes when daddy can be home... there are too many houses to try and get to in one night. So, he is relieved when someone asks him to come earlier.

Last year, DH had to work on Christmas Day and our kids left Christmas night for a Youth group ski trip. So, we left my Grandmas house on Christmas eve night-late. We ended up having a late supper at a buffet and doing santa before we went to bed so that DH could see what Santa brought.

Wouldn't have done anything different.



CreativeEngineer
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:14:49 AM
I spent my childhood being dragged between grandparents' houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a huge drag to open my gifts on Christmas morning and then be taken away from them to go and visit my bratty cousins at my dad's parent's house. We only lived about 20 minutes from gran's so I got to see her all the time. The "draw" was my dad seeing all this brothers (which really meant hanging out at the beergarden with them after dinner). Oh and my sister, mom and I usually got stuck doing the dishes (by hand) for everyone because my aunts from out of town were "on vacation" and couldn't be bothered.

So once I had kids, I decided that we'd be staying home for Christmas. I'm the only one who has moved away (4 hours) so everyone else gets together for the holidays and I'm okay with that. We visit at other times of the year. We also sometimes go the week between Christmas and New Year's but not often. My kids like being home because it's all they know. And I'm much more relaxed. Sometimes the older kids will stop by with the grands, but they too like to be home for Christmas and I totally understand that.




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