Before anyone mentions the true meaning of Christmas, we know it. Promise, it’s something my family is very aware of.
Ever since my children were born, Christmas has been the one holiday where we have “spoiled” them. When I was a kid, my family was considered low income. Let’s face it, we were poor but when we opened our presents on Christmas morning, we felt like every other child regardless of how many presents we received. My husband also has fond memories opening Christmas presents and can remember the wrapping paper and gift tags scattered all over the living room come Christmas morning.
When we had children of our own, like many parents, we always “over did” Christmas! I’m not saying we bought ponies or spent thousand’s of dollars on each child, I’m saying we waited until Christmas to buy them presents instead of throughout the year. We don’t buy video games or go “shopping at the mall” just because. We don’t buy the newest tech gadget or popular toy throughout the year. And we are not afraid to tell our children “No” at the stores. In fact, they don’t even ask.
This year (as in the past) Christmas will be very small for our family.
Because we choose to travel.
I write about travel and have had many opportunities which allow me to bring my family on various trips. Regardless how many opportunities I receive, we still have out of pocket expenses that are involved. Days or even an an extra week missed of work can be costly. Imagine two household incomes missing a week of work – unpaid! It’s not always easy. Plus, (just like anyone else) we pull out our debit card and book a vacation just like everyone else.
Last weekend we went to a large New Orleans area shopping center. It was packed with holiday shoppers carrying bags of goodies for their loved ones. My kids and I went for an event and had a light snack at the mall. We didn’t walk into a single retail store, nor did they ask! Like me, they would rather save their own money for an experience and not on tangible items. Sure, a new makeup palette or device would be nice but will we miss not having right this minute?
So several months ago ( as I did last year) I asked my children if they wanted to have a small Christmas and enjoy an extra week to travel. The entire family said YES! No, I did not contact my PR friends, travel blogger buddies or pitched a destination/resort. I took out my debit card (no credit card debt) and booked an extra vacation. We took on a few extra projects and saved our money.
My children have finished making their Christmas list. My teenage daughter wants a new fleece blanket and my son asked for a watch. I have a few surprise up my sleeve but it’s definitely unexpected. So the newest video game, phone, hottest toy will have for someone else to purchase them on Black Friday. It’s not for everyone, and everyone has their own opinions so I understand how this might not work for your family. But I’m glad, travel is the gift of choice!
While it’s going to be strange with so little under the Christmas tree again, the gift of travel needs no wrapping paper.
Thoughts? Would your children prefer travel over toys? If not, why? Share so others can understand your viewpoint as well.