I have three kids (6, 3, 20 months) and the amount of stuff we have acquired is embarrassing. In fact, when I was tucking in Quinn tonight he said that he cannot even find the stuff he loves to play with anymore. We wanted to celebrate Christmas. I don’t think there is much that beats the butterflies and excitement on Christmas eve for a child. I remember those feelings fondly.
While I feel the pressure to live up to those expectations, the last thing we wanted to do was fill our house with more stuff just for the sake of stuff. Eleanor seemed oblivious that she should even want stuff and every time someone asked her what she wanted, I cringed a little. Maybe I was beating down the door of contentment. Her list ended up a little something like this: a picture of my family, paper, snow globe and a scarf.
Quinn has been begging to fly on an airplane for as long as I can remember. While he has never been more then a 3 hour radius (driving) from home, he enjoys exploring new places and “wants to see the world”. The only thing on his list: plane tickets and time with family.
Despite drowning in stuff, I must be doing something right, because I haven’t completely lost them to consumerism. As summer ended and we started to turn our attention to the holidays and the Christmas money my husband and been putting aside in the “Christmas Club” was due to arrive, we started talking about what we were going to do for Christmas.
Our kids need nothing. As a LeapFrog Blogger, I had already received one of the hottest toys of the season–a LeapTV along with various accessories and all the games. We started to entertain the idea of a family vacation. This has long been a dream of my husband and mine. We are hardly financial wizards, and there are a million and one smarter things we should be doing with our money, but we knew that affording Christmas and a vacation was highly unlikely–ever. We loved the idea that Christmas morning could be more about where we as a family would be exploring and less about things.
We started looking at packages online. We wanted something warmer, perfect for every age and we had a number in mind. We booked a trip and then kept it a secret for months! We wanted it to be the kids news to tell.
We ended up picking San Diego, California. Perfect weather, affordable and a variety of activities that are all nearby–meaning less stress for us! We know we will enjoy the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Whale watching just as much as our kids. We were excited about doing something that engaged Hudson, just as much as Quinn and Eleanor.
Santa brought the kids plane tickets, along with a few other things–trip essentials as well as a few creative toys and family games. We felt they were to young to comprehend nothing under the tree, regardless of how much a vacation costs. Once they opened up their plane tickets, which were in their stocking, we gave them another box (from us) to open. Santa & mom and dad were in cohoots!
While Santa brought the plane tickets, mom and dad will be paying for the hotel, car, outings & food. The box contained two books on whales and dolphins, a flyer that highlights plans for the trip and a countdown calendar.
Then we busted out the suitcases. My husband and I don’t even own luggage, but the kids do!
I realize that we are very fortunate to be able to give the gift of travel. We as a family are incredibly excited for our first true family vacation. We realize that there our families that celebrate Christmas and take family vacations and families that barely scrape together a Christmas. We are literally figuring this out as we go and feel that this was the best decision for our family. Sure we spent more money for less stuff, but the time as a family and the experience will be far more memorable and well worth it.
We hosted a Christmas morning breakfast for my immediate family (13 people).
My sister hosted our whole entire family for Christmas day! She opened her home to roughly 70 people! Since my grandparents selling their home followed by my grandpa’s passing, it felt so good to celebrate Christmas the way I remember it as a child. My kids had so much fun running around all day with their cousins! My sister even set up an adorable photo booth with her iPad.
We are blessed beyond belief and regardless of what gifts we open on Christmas, I am always in awe of how lucky I am.
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