Need a break? Be daring next year: celebrate Christmas without extended family.
I look out the water park window and the snow is falling. It's going to be a picturesque movie-like White Christmas this year.
The guilt is stirring in my mind.
I take another sip of my margarita and wipe the steam off my phone. I look at the text my brother sent again. It includes a photo of all the nieces and nephews celebrating at Grandma's house.
Three words: We miss you.
We decided to celebrate Christmas with just our immediate family. As a gift to the girls we booked a 4-day weekend at The Tundra Lodge indoor water park. The idea felt great in theory, but on Christmas Eve the weight of the decision started to feel heavy.
The girls interrupt my thoughts with their laughter.
"Mom, it's a huge EIGHT. Take a picture! Take a picture!" I happily oblige and join them down the water slide.
I sit back down to my drink and novel. My girls are strong swimmers and because we are the only family in the entire facility, I comfortably dive into my book.
My phone vibrates and another photo pops up. I stare at the photo, then look back to the window again.
I am mesmerized: the girls' voices melting into the constant sound of the water rushing, the soothing warmth of the pool air on my skin, the gentle snowfall.
"What are you looking at?"
And in a split-second all the guilt washes away.
YOU can love your extended family with all your heart and still want to spend a quiet holiday with just your spouse and kids.
My husband sits down next to me. I nod my head to the window, "It's snowing."
If you struggle this holiday season, make a commitment to ditch the guilt and consider planning a holiday trip or celebration for just your immediate family next year. The key to a success is Charles Dickens.
Pause. Breathe. Then say...
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Take the time to shower your extended family with love, presence, and presents 364 days of the year. You deserve this one day.
P.S. I'd love to fly away for a BEACH VACATION. Someday in the not so distant future! The 80 degree water park is the next closest thing here in Wisconsin. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the adventure. That last black and white Instagram is titled, "I'm not tired."
When we weren't in the pool, our family spent the day in matching holiday PJs having fun at the hotel. Rose was a huge fan of the ferocious stuffed bear outside of the pool at The Tundra Lodge. Sometimes she'd wrap her arms around his leg for a "bear hug" and other times she'd laugh hysterically as Dad punched the bear in the tummy to protect her as she cowered down from what would likely be certain death.
The kids love this annual matching PJs tradition. Our fleece PJs are no longer available online, but check out some adorable family pajama sets on Amazon.
If you want to make this an ongoing annual tradition, I highly recommend going with a company like Hanna Anderson for family PJ sets.
They've had this traditional collection for YEARS. Which means, you can invest in a pair of adult PJs that basically last your kid's entire childhood. It also means that you can easily sell and buy future PJ sizes online new or used through resale sites like eBay. They style is pretty darn cute... Wishing you a relaxing holiday season!
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