Hey Boundless Travelers! Now that the holidays are finally over, and we start the countdown until next Christmas, here’s something to think about trying in 2019. We have all been there, well most of us anyways. We have kids, and all of a sudden turn into good old Saint Nick, and Nicolette before the child is even old enough to understand what’s going on. We fill the tree to the brim with presents, while emptying out our wallets for nothing in return. Shoppers in the US spend an average of $900 per person on Christmas gifts, as we rush out to Walmart, Target, and scan Amazon for the top gadgets, toys, and clothes. We make it to Christmas day, only for our kids to say “wow thanks mom”, and see the $59.00 new Hot Wheels set thrown in the closet with the rest of the forgotten toys, two weeks later.
We’ve been “skipping” birthday gifts for waterpark trips every since my oldest was born, but for the last two years, my family has, for the most part, skipped the normal holiday traditions when it comes to buying gifts. Instead, we put our money towards family travel. My kids happily traded in Santa Clause for a 4 day trip to the mountains, or a cruise to the Caribbean. The first year we skipped X-Mas, we asked our son who was 5 at the time, for Christmas, do you want toys, or to travel somewhere like we always do? He immediately replied, “toys are nice to have, but traveling is most fun”. My Grinch-like heart for the holidays was filled with joy as my son made the decision to punch in a passport stamp, instead of a new set of toys.
This year, we set aside money that we would have spent on inevitable broken plastic toy pieces that were going to end up in the trash before February and paid for two trips to kick off our 2k19 traveling. before January 1, 2019, we had already bought the tickets, booked the hotels, and bought our gear. If Christmas is your thing, buying gifts isn’t hurting your pockets, and you have no desire to spend money on travel, I get it, however; for the people in the back that are seeking change, here are our 5 reasons why we skip the holidays to travel with our kids.
I know it’s hard to believe but the money we spend to fund a trip or two for all 5 of us is amazingly still less than how much we were spending on buying X-Mas gifts for our family, especially if you’re looking in the right place for deals. Spending money on an adventure that will create memories that last a lifetime, is a lot more enjoyable than spending money on toys, gadgets, and clothes that will only last a season. Buying tickets after the holiday season can save you big, by going to a destination during their offseason. On average we save about $200-$300 on travel when we go during the unpopular times of the year. Places like Sea World will run you about $150 less than what you would pay during peak season. Going to Florida during the holidays can save you plenty of cash, instead of waiting until the summer.
My kids literally remember every trip that we have ever taken, down to the name of the hotels. They do not remember that I bought them Magic Tracks for the 4th time one Christmas, or the 300 piece Lego set another Christmas. We create the best memories while traveling to new places, meeting new people, and trying things we never knew existed. We grow the closes when we are traveling together, and we learn each other in ways we never would have, had we not traveled. Nothing can beat seeing everyone enjoying themselves, evolving, and engaging.
As the Christmas jingle goes “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” however; that is far from the truth for most American households. The holidays are overwhelming. The feeling of obligation to buy everyone in your family a decent gift makes you swipe your hard earn cash, cooking up a delicious grand feast with all the bells in whistle becomes an obsession, and on top of that, you still have to pay for your everyday necessities. It is downright the most horriful (is that even a word) time of the year. When on vacation, my family gets the best version of me, the easy-going mom, the i’m not seeing you break your toy that I spent the rest of my check on mom. You stress less on vacations, especially when you feel like you have the money to be there in the first place.
Put your Happiness First
Stop letting society tell you that Christmas is mandatory for all kids and that you’re a horrible parent if you decide you’d rather focus on enriching your kids lives in other ways, instead of depleting your funds for the sake of 24 hours of tempory joy. Your sanity is important, your travel goals are important, the way you want to spend your money is important. Do something that brings you peace, happiness, and most importantly an organic feeling of love. The Brookshire Tribe decided that Christmas just wasn’t that important to us anymore, and to be honest we will never go back to it.
So say a sweet, and sour farewell to the holidays Boundless Travelers! Travel $mart, strengthen your marriage, grow closer as a family, refocus on values, dismantle stereotypes, and create a happier home life.