The holidays are a time to enjoy with family, show appreciation for those you love and maybe sip a holiday eggnog or seven and gift a toy or twelve. There is no holiday I enjoy more than Christmas. Call me a softy, but I have the warm and fuzzies all of December and truly, truly enjoy picking out gifts that I think will make recipients smile. And Love Actually is actually the best movie in existence. And it’s a time many people travel to see family, especially those they don’t get to visit often. So, what’s not to love?
For me, planning and preparing for travel on or around Christmas sounds horrible, at least in this stage of life which requires all the things for one particular small person (my son). He is freshly one, very into electric sockets, wires and stairs, and very not into sitting in a car seat longer than 30 minutes, or the duration of a nap time.
When we travel to places nearby, it’s pretty easy and stress-free. He needs diapers and a snack and an emergency change of clothes if I remember it. But when it comes to overnight stays, his needs intensify. We must remember multiple baby gates, blankets, stuffed animals, more clothes, more diapers and can’t forget the sound machine because no one is quiet when baby is sleeping at 8 p.m., let’s be honest. We have a packed car, and that doesn’t include our dog or the fact that at Christmas we have gifts in tow. It’s a lot.
One time I took Deacon over for a day-time visit to my parents’ house twenty minutes away. The plan was to stay all day, but I forgot his pacifier – which was a must-have for naps back then – so I just had to drive home. You can be the least materialistic parent in the world, but the truth is babies need things… or at least they need things if they have them at home and are used to them. This need for things causes stress for parents who sometimes forget said things because, life. As a result, packing for overnight trips is stressful, and the anticipation of forgetting something is ominous.
Aside from the practical challenges related to traveling around Christmas, there are also emotional reasons I’d prefer to stay home. Growing up, Christmas Day was the best day. We had our own family traditions – all of which took place at home and all of which now make me feel cozy as hell just thinking about them. My favorite thing to do after Christmas quiche was to lay out all my toys (and later clothes) on my bed and just stare at them, so thankful and excited. I’d try on the clothes for my mom and play with the toys one by one with my sister. Aside from that, there was no pressure to do anything, even get dressed in anything aside from pajamas. We’d probably watch a Christmas movie, play games or again, just play with all our new toys.
I love our family, and I love our extended family. When celebrating any holiday, including Christmas, I want them around. But when it comes to Christmas, the nostalgia of the holiday and stress that comes with travel- like packing the car and heading out into freezing temps with our little guy- takes some of the magic away from the holiday that is supposed to be all about magic. And if it’s my choice, I’d rather skip the trip. We have a great guest bedroom, after all.