Thursday, November 12, 2009

Looking For Christmas Advice

We have an awesome plan for Christmas this year! My whole entire family (including parents & 2 siblings + 1 nephew) is going to Florida for Christmas. We live in Michigan, so the transition to Florida in late December will be fabulous! My parents lived in Cocoa Beach for a few years after they were first married (mid-1960's) while my dad was stationed at Cape Canaveral. My older brother and sister were born in Cocoa Beach. My parents haven't been back in 45 years, so this is their dream - to return to their old stomping grounds. I think it's a "Bucket List" thing for my mom. In addition, my husband's parents, who live in Florida, will be joining us for the week, and then we'll continue on to their house after Christmas.

Sounds like a dream, right? Two weeks in sunny Florida during the snowiest season in Michigan? Yes, I am very excited to get some sunshine and vacation with family for almost 2 weeks.

But there are 2 problems. One is that our children, although they are also thrilled about this trip, are very disappointed that we won't be having a White Christmas. There is something magical about waking up to a snowy Christmas morning. I plan to bring along some Christmas decorations, since we'll be driving, but obviously I can't duplicate the snow.

The 2nd problem is that we have NO money. Zip. Zero. Zilch. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel to make this trip happen, for the sake of family. We've told the kids that this trip IS their Christmas gift. Sounds lame, maybe, but that's the reality. We will have no money to buy gifts for the kids. And of course, we all know that Christmas isn't about the material things, but it's extremely hard, as a parent, to not be able to give my kids presents at Christmas.

I hope that this will be a good chance for us to experience that we don't need all the "stuff" to make Christmas happen. But I'm afraid it will bomb and my kids will be really sad.

Any ideas on how to make this a memorable Christmas???


  1. I think if you can get them down there, then your family can give them gifts, so they will end up with presents. Heck, going to FL would be at the top of my wish list :)

  2. i don't know... if its really stretching the budget I wouldn't go. I lived away from "home" for 10 years and every year we were expected by family to come back for really was too expensive for us. In retrospect, the inlaws/parents should have visited us. It would have been less stressful for everyone involved. But it is nice to see family and florida is nice...tough choice.

  3. If you really want to give out stuff, go to Dollar Tree. But I agree, the trip is pretty big for a gift.

  4. Hm....Stay home? (Ooooo, I expect that is not possibility.) Could you have Christmas at home, THEN go south? I have to say that I once had the misfortune to spend Christmas in Santa Barbara, California. Yes, it was sunny and nice and when I saw poinsettias GROWING outside the church, I wanted to rip them out by the roots!!!! The nerve!!!!!

    Kids are very attuned to tradition, and when you take the tradition away they feel they've been cheated. I expect that aspect of it will be worse than the presentlessness.

    And, I do think (don't you?) that family will chip in and there will be a few gifts for each child - right? The big positive about this plan, if it were my family, would be breaking the "lots of gifts" aspect of the routine. In fact, I'm hoping to give some "experiences" rather than so many concrete gifts this year. Hope that works out.

    This is a little lame, but I think you might really emphasize that this is a "special" year and that NEXT YEAR Christmas will be "the same as always". That might help them feel safer about things in general. I think that when we change things that are "written in stone" like holidays, that it can actually inspire some deep-seated anxiety. Fear of death, stuff like that.

  5. I just bought stuff to make a tutu for my niece for $5 - no sewing involved! The video on youtube to help says it take 1/2 hour to make. Don't know if your girls are into that but a few dollars can get your a sweet homemade gift.

  6. Maybe you could challenge your kids to come up with gifts for each other that don't cost anything. And maybe you and your husband could give each kid a gift that doesn't cost anything- like special time with mom and dad without the other kids, or a night where the child could choose the plan (what dinner to have, what movie to watch, what game to play, etc). Then you are spending time together and each person gets to feel special. The dollar store might be good for a few stocking stuffers if you really want them to have something physical to open.
    As for the no snow- they may miss it but my guess is that once they are in Florida with everyone they will get caught up in the fun and excitement and the no snow won't seem as dissapointing. Plus you could point out that there is always the chance that Michigan might not have snow at Christmas anyway (does that happen? I am in MA and we don't have snow every Christmas)


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