Weekend Assignment #247: Home for the holidays?

Weekend Assignment #247:“There’s no place like Home for the Holidays” – or so the song claims. Are you heading “home” to family and friends? Are other family members heading “home” to visit you? Are you heading someplace that definitely isn’t home, or perhaps just staying home, with no visitors on your doorstep? In short, what are your holiday-related travel arrangements this year, and is that they way you prefer to spend it?

Extra Credit: Tell us a holiday travel story from yesteryear.

It seems that for much of my adult life, the holidays have involved travel for someone close to me, although more often than not, the person or people in question have traveled to me and my home, even if that wasn’t really “home” for them. After my mother went into a nursing home in 1992, my dad came up to Memphis for nearly every Christmas until my first marriage hit the rocks, a time which roughly coincided with my mom’s death; my dad moved to the West Coast to be near my sister and her family a year later. When I moved to California myself in 2002, my own holiday travel became a Christmas Eve drive across town to my sister’s house and a couple of airport runs to and from LAX for my son’s flights out here to spend the holiday break with me.

Since Tall Paul and I have been together, Christmas Day has usually meant traveling to his parents’ home (which was never his “home,” since they built the house well after he and his brother had grown up and moved out), but that’s not a really major excursion unless the weather and/or traffic are really bad – it’s a two-hour drive south if they’re not. This year, we’re just making it a day trip; my stepkids are with their mom on Christmas Day (officially, at any rate – in fact, we’ll all be at Grandma’s, but their mom will be parent-on-duty) and I have to be at work on the 26th, so Tall Paul, Gypsy, and I will drive down in the morning after opening gifts with the kids (who’ll be spending Christmas Eve with us), and will head back home some time after dinner. Next year, the alternating-holiday schedule will have Tall Girl and The Boy with us for Christmas Day, and we’ll try to convince Grandma to come up to our place instead – one person traveling is much easier than four people and a dog.

This will be the first time since his birth that I won’t see my son on Christmas, but he actually is going “home” this year – to his hometown, at least, where he’ll spend Christmas with his dad. He was here for Thanksgiving, and at this stage I assume that seeing him during the holiday season will probably be a year-by-year, play-it-by-ear thing, given that he lives on the opposite coast and that eventually, a significant other with a family of her own will most likely be a factor in the plans too.

When my ex-husband was in grad school, we made the cross-country Christmas trip “home” to Florida from central New York a couple of times. One year we caravaned with friends who were also heading to the Tampa Bay area, and that was fun, but for the most part I’m glad to stay put at Christmas and let folks come to me.

Do you have travel plans for the holidays, or will you be host for out-of-town guests? Does your holiday “travel” just involve a drive to the next town? If you’ll be leaving home for the holidays at all, please be safe!

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  1. Sorry you won’t get to be with your son. We’re staying home – it’ll just be the 3 of us and a guy who works with my hubby who would otherwise be alone.

  2. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I was kind of prepared for it, but Christmas morning will still seem kind of weird without him. It would be worse if he hadn’t been here for Thanksgiving, though.

  3. Early in my marriage, my husband and I alternated between going to the in-laws or my parents home for the holidays, but with work schedules being what they were and the driving distance, the spending-more-hours-in-the-car-than-actual-visiting got old fast. I always thought it was funny that we have to travel to them for the holidays when they have more time off around that time than we do.

    Then we discovered how wonderful quiet holidays with just the two of us can be. It was hard at first, not being surrounded by family, but now I really prefer it. I think it makes our families sad, and I feel bad about that in some respects, but not enough to change my plans.

    We still do the family thing once in a while. As awful as it sounds though, I can only take so much of my family. :-S

  4. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I know; sometimes a little family togetherness goes a long way :-).

    Speaking as a parent, I addressed the sort of Christmas that you and Anjin have now in the Moms Blog post I linked to. I expect that eventually, my son will have a family of his own too, and for various reasons we won’t see them every Christmas.

    Tomorrow, we’ll be making the drive to my mother-in-law’s house near Oceanside in the morning, and coming back the same day – and we want to stay long enough to make the drive worthwhile, so I definitely know what you mean there too!

    Have a wonderful holiday, Wendy!

  5. Your previous writing on the subject is what gave me the idea for this topic! I admire the way you juggle all those family connections to spend time with loved ones over the holidays. It’s good that you got to see your son, even if it wasn’t at Christmas!

  6. KFB – I never would have guessed that I gave you that idea – thanks for letting me know that!

    In some ways, it was better seeing my son over Thanksgiving – less hectic. Christmas was fun this year, but it involved a lot of running around.