As transplants, to travel or not to travel for the holidays was a big decision my husband and I were forced to face when we started having kids. Holidays, more specifically, Thanksgiving and Christmas were huge family holidays for both my family and my husband’s family growing up. In my family, we always spent Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas days with a lot of extended family. My husband and I have always lived more than 12 hours from both families, with mine being in Kansas and his in Delaware. Therefore, before we had kids we were constantly traveling over the holidays to either of those two places to be with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We really enjoyed being able to take the time and spend the holidays with all of our family and continue traditions we have done our whole lives.
But together, we decided after we started having kids that we were going to stay home for Christmas and we would rotate years and travel to our families for Thanksgiving.
Many moms I have talked to have also struggled with the question of whether they should travel to family or not for the holidays. Should you travel to family for holidays so your kids get the same experiences you did growing up or do you feel fulfilled starting your own traditions with just your immediate family? It really is a difficult decision to make.
So many people want to be surrounded by family during the holidays, so why wouldn’t you travel? We took a lot of things into consideration. Yes, it is nice to be with family, but when we started having kids, I couldn’t wait to start Christmas traditions with my kids and that’s really hard to do when you’re traveling over the holiday. I also knew it would be hard when they got a little older and really started believing in Santa Claus and wondering: How would he know we aren’t home? Will he be able to find us? Traveling is already stressful with young kids, but holiday traveling with kids is a thousand times more stressful. Not to mention, when we stay home, we save money by not traveling, we get more time alone with our kids, and we get to do our own things instead of being on everyone else’s schedule. Choosing to stay home hasn’t been the easiest decision to make. There is a lot of guilt and pressure, and not everyone gets your decision and some will even tell you so.
These are just a few reasons we chose to travel for Thanksgiving and stay home for Christmas. For Thanksgiving we don’t have to worry about Santa finding us, we don’t have to worry about whether we packed all the gifts, and we don’t have any Thanksgiving traditions in our immediate family. Thanksgiving is known to be a time for family to gather, and is only about a month from Christmas. This makes it easy to celebrate Christmas with the grandparents early, and the kids still get to have the gathering of family for one of the two major holidays.
I know that the kids’ grandparents and our extended families would really love if we traveled to them for the holidays, and sometimes I really miss spending those times with family. I also know that when the kids are older and no longer “believe,” they might want to travel to their grandparent’s house for the holidays. We will probably reassess traveling for holidays when the kids get older, but for now I am going to enjoy our Christmas traditions at home with my babies!