Why People Who Take a Christmas Vacation are Geniuses

We are only a week into September, but Hobby Lobby and other craft stores are already reminding us that we need to start stressing about Christmas decorations (and pumpkins! and costumes! and turkeys!), right?!? A friend once said to me of how his family spends their holidays, “It’s complicated.” He was referring to what I call the “holiday shuffle”—the choreographed bouncing from family to family, in-law to in-law, grandma to grandma–all while trying to sneak in some bonding time of their own while the kids are out of school. Even though our family has a plan, I have to agree that for many families, it can get complicated (at the least) and catastrophic (at the worst).

If you find yourself in the category of people who can’t seem to reign in the chaos of Christmas, please give yourself permission for just a moment to envision what your perfect holiday looks like. Perhaps it’s an adventure with your kids or a retreat with your spouse. Maybe you open presents on a ski slope or a beach. Maybe your kids are away at college and you’re wondering how to get the most out of their winter month home. This could be the first year of a brand new tradition your family cherishes. I’m not suggesting you shun your current traditions if you’re happy with them, but let’s face it: some of us need a change.



Here are my top tips for an outstanding Christmas vacation:

1. Start Planning Yesterday!

PSA: It’s a pretty busy travel time! This is NOT the time of year to bank on a last-minute deal…or even last-minute availability. While off-peak locations will offer more flexibility, major destinations like Hawaii may have been booked months ago. If you want your pick, I suggest getting some ideas together sooner rather than later. If you need a little guidance, I’m always happy to help.

2. Think Outside the Box!

Winter travel does not have to be a ski trip! If you’re like me and would rather see the mountains in the summer than ski them in the winter, keep in mind that there are plenty of places across the globe that are in the opposite season. Maybe you want to go escape the cold but aren’t much of a beach person…How about a wine-and-hike in South America, a leisurely resort in Scottsdale, a once-in-a-lifetime exploration of Thailand, or a sail through the South Pacific?

>>Thinking of taking your crew to the beach, but want to stick closer to home? There are so.many.options in Mexico and the Caribbean (all-inclusive and European plan resorts as well as luxury villas that will sleep your entire family) to choose from. Oh, but heed this warning: prices, availability, and airfare will be in a last-call situation by mid-October, so get it while the gettin’s good!


3. Put Some Spin On It!

If you’ve got a sentimental spouse or little ones who would rather see the cousins in Kansas, you need to be prepared to spin this thing. It’s really not enough that this idea appeals to you unless you plan on drinking egg nog alone. Be prepared with answers to the following questions:

  • Why is a vacation better than the alternative?
  • What will make this trip extra special?
  • What problems {read: drama} would a vacation solve?
  • Is there a compromise that could make everyone happy?

After you make your case, give your people some time to mull it over. Trust me on this one! A holiday shake-up is something everyone in your immediate crew needs to be invested in.

4. Game Plan Like a Boss.

OK. You’ve got the naysayers on board and know what kind of vacation you’d like to take. Now comes the BIG part: planning a vacation AND a holiday experience in ONE. How will you integrate the holidays into your trip? What changes will need to be made to your gift-giving traditions (and budget)? What plans will you make for a big family meal (or a cozy,  romantic dinner)? Will you pack the stockings? Will Santa find his way to your island villa? How can you incorporate the Christmas traditions of the place you’ll be visiting? Will you still decorate your home? Look ahead to the sentimental traditions and make sure you’re prepared to adjust accordingly and cheerfully.

5. Give Yourself Permission.

Just go for it! Your extended family will get over your absence (if they don’t, that should tell them a little something about why you’re not sharing your holiday with them).  Plan a get-together with the cousins for a less-stressful time of year that doesn’t require all the manic chaos of the holiday. Excuse yourself from the company Christmas party elegantly with a donation to your boss’s favorite charity. Own your decision and allow it to be the most awesome thing you’ve ever done.


6. Ditch the Wrapping Paper!

My hubby and I decided on day two of our honeymoon that travel was going to be an important investment in our marriage–one of both our finances and our time. This has meant fewer diamonds for me and golf clubs for him at gift-giving season, but I’m so thankful that we are able to give each other and our daughter the gift of memories and time together throughout the year.

Many of our friends have decided to “ditch the wrapping paper” and give their kids (both young and old) a trip for Christmas…even if they don’t actually travel until spring break. Guess what? It’s a hit! And it’s meaningful. Your kids won’t miss the presents, folks. My 8 year-old daughter grows quickly out of the clothes and toys that make for fun present opening, but she can easily recount every minute of her (Christmas gift) trips to Disney World and (birthday gift) to Great Wolf Lodge–along with all the other vacations we’ve taken!

7. Reach Out For Help!

Yeah, yeah – Shameless Plug Alert!! But seriously. I can help you manage the chaos of travel planning and create meaningful memory-making opportunities for your family. I promise you that my expertise, attention to detail and quality service will bring comfort and ease to even the most complicated of travel itineraries!