Holidays spent without family!

Old Nov 11th, 2006, 12:12 AM
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Holidays spent without family!

Just wondering how many have done this, - - decided to abandon family gatherings and take a trip instead. You know for the big ones I mean, - - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter. I've been reading here that many are planning to get away for Christmas/New Years to Europe and I am beginning to think that it would be fun to do this some day.

I just wonder how family reactions have been when you made your decisions. Did your children and grandchildren miss being with you for the holidays? Did you miss them? Was it worth it? Maybe you can share where you went and what you did for Christmas, for instance. Thank you.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 01:49 AM
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doing something different every once and a while can help prevent family gatherings from feeling routine and being taken for granted.

just try it...missing one family event won't hurt anyone. you may find that it doesn't feel right or that you like it. everyone's family connection is different and these type of events have different sentimental value to different people.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 02:29 AM
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We started 5 years ago to go away for the Christmas week. Our son was traveling cross country with his band and we decided that it would be a good year to go some place different for the holiday and that way we wouldn't miss him as much.

Well, we took off for Puerto Rico that year and have gone back every year since for that week - except for one year when we went to Long Boat Key, Florida. It was very nice, but weather was iffy. We go to Ponce, same hotel (Hilton) every year. They treat us very well!

The first year, our families were a bit surprised, but they got over it. It's our son who isn't too keen on us going away but he spends it with the family and has a great time. In fact, this year he is thinking of hosting the Christmas Eve dinner which is big in our Italian family!

So, I do not decorate the house too much - wreath on the front door, pointsettia plants, a small, tasteful artificial tree, a few of our treasured decorations from my childhood and our son's around and that's it! The hotel does the big stuff for us - huge tree, lots of lights, decorations galore! We have dinner on Christmas Eve in the hotel restaurant, La Cava. On Christmas Day, we usually take a walk on the beach, sit by the pool and take a drive somewhere.

We love it, but it may not be for everyone.

Happy Holidays to you!
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 03:11 AM
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Princess Hi,
Three years ago we decided to go away for xmas and the New Year. It wasn't a difficult choice considering winter in Wales where we live.
Australia was waiting for us and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We took the teenagers but the rest of the family had to do without us. Mrs Muck was very apprehensive the first xmas away from home ! But off we went.

So we did the Christmas dinner family gathering on Nov 25th, christmas crackers presents and

I would highly recommend getting away. Christmas here in the UK is a commercial tacky nightmare I hate it Bah

We were on a tropical island for that Xmas day walking up the beach and a gentle swim in the Azure waters off Brisbane.

New years in Sydney was pretty good too !!

It would indeed be fun, you must do it. I will do it again soon.

Good Luck

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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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I ususally go away over Thanksgiving as I hoard my vacation days and we get 4 days off. Until 2 years ago I lived in Florida with my family in PA so it didnt' matter - I sometimes came home for Christmas but rarely Thanksgiving. Even though I'm home now, this year I'm planning a trip to Austria over Thanksgiving. I see family (also big, Italian) all the time so Thanksgiving isn't a big deal; also have been dieting so don't eat much Thanksgiving anyway (small portions), I travel Thanksgiving Day which is usually pretty quiet as everyone is already at their destination. Tickets to Munich (then train to Innsbruck) were $443.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 06:14 AM
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We've done it for Thanksgiving and Christmas at different times. I enjoyed Thanksgiving vacations better than being away on Christmas. Missing Christmas Eve mass at our little country church isn't worth any trip I've ever taken.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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I've travelled solo to Europe for the last four Thanksgivings. No problems feeling lonely or sad that I'm not with family. It's a lovely time to visit London, Vienna (Christmas markets, chestnuts sold on street corners...), and Paris (third trip this year!). My family has come to expect that I won't be around over Thanksgiving but I never travel at Christmas. Did that several years ago and felt sad the whole trip. Love my tree (decorated with all travel ornaments), nesting, holiday traditions at home, visits with friends, family, etc. For some reason, Tranksgiving doesn't hold the same meaning for me, so, off to Europe!

Leave for Paris in 10 days!!
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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I don't do it every year but now and then have gone to Mexico for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don't have kids but my family took it OK as long as I don't do it all the time. Mexico is a very festive place to celebrate, and it's fun to be laying in the sun by the pool or on the beach and have people say "feliz navidad" when you forgot it was Christmas Day!
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Hi Princess we are a huge group and usually take turns to host the holiday dinner. However for the last 2 years we have all taken a trip together, cruises and we really enjoyed it. We were all together, but everyone was less stressed and very relaxed. This year however we opted to go to South Africa, where I still have family. We have not been there for 10 years over Christmas so it will be great.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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We have gone to Oaxaca over the Cristmas holidays in the past, and found it simply wonderful.

Oh, well, have to find another place.

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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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In my case, it's the Passover/Easter time of year when we've been away several times over the years... we have nine granchildren, five kids and numerous cousins and "friends of our large family"...but thus far, because we prefer traveling in either spring or fall, we've often been overseas during Passover/Easter time (which usually run concurrently or close to it).

Thus far have spent the Passover Seder nights in Kyoto (1947 and 1948...when I was a young soldier stationed in Japan); Jerusalem(1979..we joined cousin's family for that night); Rotterdam (1987...while traveling through Belgium' Netherlands..joined a community seder at local synagogue..what fun!); Warsaw(1993..traveling on one of our many auto trips through Eastern Europe..joined the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising commemorative seder in the only synagogue remaining in that city, very emotional...also were guest visitors on the set of Shindler's List in Krakow where Stephen was wrapping up "shooting" of the Academy Award winner); Caen, Normandy (2001...we were "placed" with a family of Algerian-Parisienne Jews..remarkable unforgettable evening of fellowship,good cheer and multi-languages); Split/Dubrovnik (2004...couldn't find a seder mainly due to our inadequate late research)

...for next spring, we are planning to be in China and Japan...for a seder while in Beijing we have already begun finalizing arrangements through the Jewish community of 1,000+, mostly ex-pats, business folks working in the capital, etc)...really looking forward to it. I already have a preliminary invitation to be a guest speaker during the dinner, on the subject of one of my historical novels.

Being away, in effect,gives one a sense of being closer to one's loved ones...especially after returning and telling the many fascinating stories that result.

The family has always understood, gets along very well without the patriarch and matriarch, oldest daughters take turns to fill in beautifully... and everyone can't wait to crowd around once more as we display the photos and tell the stories! Lately, with the convenience of the Internet, we always send greetings on that night to all in the family!

Stu T.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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I've been in London both over Thanksgiving and over Christmas/New Years. On the latter trip it was a little odd being alone with everything pretty much closed. I spent those days walking a lot and hanging with the ducks & geese at the parks. My parents were fine with it, my mom especially loved it when I called on Christmas with the church bells ringing in the background.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Stu T.

Your holiday tales wins IMHO!

Hmmmm if I left at Thanksgiving, who would cook? THAT is an interesting topic. Alas I have a quick trip to the ER which should put off my next European trip off for another year. Alas. I'm interested in more stories.
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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We've done this twice. The first time was over Christmas and New Years with our two daughters (ages 16 & 20) at the time. The 16 year old had a major attitude for most of the trip and was NOT happy about missing the family traditional festivities at home. The relatives left at home managed without us. I probably wouldn't travel over Christmas again with younger kids.

The second time was last year over Thanksgiving and my husband and myself went alone to London & Paris. It was a business trip for him and I tagged along. I really enjoyed not being here for Thanksgiving and had a great time. Our adult kids took the opportunity to go visit their grandparents in British Columbia and they also had a good time.

I think the ones who had trouble dealing with us being gone were all of the relatives who don't seem to be able to plan and carry out holiday dinners on their own.

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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 09:43 PM
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While we've never been gone over Christmas, (my 85 year old mother-in-law is still alive), I spent the first Thanksgiving without my mom, landing in Chaing Mai from Vientienne in 1997. This was when Vietnam and Laos were first "opening up". I was thankful the Lao Air flight had landed and that I was with someone I loved.

Last year, my husband and I spent Thanksgiving Day touring the Hellfire Pass area around Kanchanaburi, Thailand, with couples from Scotland, Perth, Australia, and Belgium. At lunch, they all toasted our American holiday and then we dug into our vegetarian lunch, all agreeing that we gave thanks for the beautiful day and food and company, given what we had just seen. We're in our 60's, and it was my favorite Thanksgiving - what it should all be about in the end!!

My husband's daughter wasn't happy that we were gone, but her world revolves around her 12 and 13 year old boys, and she has never left the country. I hope someday she'll understand!! My cool 85 year old mother has traveled and "gets it".
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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I am just loving all of your responses/stories. My husband and I should really do this one day. Our grandchildren are young, - - 4 through 7 years old. I have a couple of elderly aunts who haven't any children of their own, and have celebrated every holiday with us. I work full time and am scrambling to have everything prepared and ready for each and every holiday. (My only daughter works hard and has the young children finding it difficult to have the celebrations at her house.) I always manage to pull it all together, but have to work very hard at it. I know that everyone has a great time and that makes me happy.

But, - - oh how I'd love to travel to Europe for one of the holidays.
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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My husband and I have 'off years' when the kids go to the inlaws and we really look forward to going somewhere over the holidays. The first time, we went to Stowe, Vermont at Christmas with 2 other families and had a blast. No presents to buy and very little decorating. It was wonderful!
Last year we went to Cloudcroft, NM. This year we are meeting the kids and their families for Thanksgiving and they will have Christmas in their own homes- daughter and her family live north of Dallas and son and his wife live in the DC area. There is just no way we can expect them to have every holiday with us- it is time for them to start their own traditions and they also have a set of inlaws that want to spend time with them. This year, my husband and I are going to Paris for Christmas. And we are already thinking about Portugal for either next T/giving or Christmas. I think my kids are happy to have active parents who live their own lives and don't put them on guilt trips about holidays, etc.
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 10:42 AM
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We have lived overseas for 6 years - and, as such, have missed spending holidays (Xmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, Mother's day, father's day, and most birthdays/anniveraries) with family.

When we moved overseas, we made it clear that we would be home each summer, but that we would not come home at Xmas (for a variety of logistical reasons!).

Yes - it's difficult. I especially miss the long, lingering dinners at my mother's table. But, we now have our own family traditions - just for the 4 of us - that are somewhat different and unusual. We are usually travelling at Christmas, so we do a whole Christmas celebration - meal + music + presents - in mid-December and then do a smaller celebration where ever we happen to be (it helps that our kids are now teenager!).

And each summer, when we visit my family in New Orleans or my husband's family in Pennsylvannia - we always have a big party to celebrate ALL the family occaisions.

So is it hard - of course! It is bet!
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Hi Princess,
Thanks for asking. I'm happy to share our last year's "Christmas and New Years in Amsterdam" adventure! My husband, myself and our 20 year old daughter left on Christmas eve day, arriving in Amsterdam early Christmas day morning. It was our first time away from the grandparents, siblings and their families, which was and is always a typical traditional family gathering (same menu, same games, same loved ones).

Upon arriving in Amsterdam, let me just say that we weren't entirely "family-less" since my first cousin lives there with her husband and two kids (aged 18 and 20) and we were there because of their invitation.

We were up for the adventure and were excited to share in their traditional Christmas feast - STEAK! Lots of other goodies too, but I must say I did miss my roast turkey with all the trimmings! Presents were shared, and Christmas music filled their home.

My cousin knew how much I wanted to attend mass, so we attended an afternoon mass the following day. That was a highlight and I shall never forget the ancient church with its stained glass, amazing statuary, the incense and candles and even though the entire mass was spoken in Dutch, since the mass is universal in format, we were still able to participate with the community. Truly wonderful experience and rejuvenated my soul!

One of the other highlights was the three days we spent in Brugge, Belgium. Brugge is only about 3 hours train ride from Amsterdam. My cousin had never been there before, so we were all thrilled to see this medieval city together, take in some art galleries, shop, etc. We did a lot of walking - the best way to see the city. Our B&B hosts were very helpful in recommending some fabulous restaurants.

Now, New Years Eve in Amsterdam was something I shall never forget. Traditionally in Holland, every household (and I mean EVERY household) purchases vast quantities of fireworks - professional grade fireworks - and at the stroke of midnight the skies are filled with the most incredible fireworks display I have ever witnessed! Wow!

Our families at home were excited for us when we told them of our plans to visit Holland at Christmas /New Years - and even though I seem to be the primary "turkey" provider and hostess for our family Christmasses, everyone back home had a great Christmas too.

I think if you can get away to Europe at Christmas, you should. A Christmas away from the normal routine is one that you will never, ever forget.

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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Like Grcxx, we live overseas so spending Christmas holidays without our families is the norm rather than the exception. And even when we lived in the U.S., for 10 years in a row I had to attend a big convention in Chicago that started two days after Thanksgiving, so we couldn't really travel to relatives then either. (And Thanksgiving isn't even a holiday here, just another day in the week, so we usually go out for dinner at a local restaurant and give thanks but without having a traditional dinner.)

Usually my husband and I are alone (with our dog) for the holidays but in the past few years, we have each spent one Christmas solo...three years ago, as a Christmas gift to his parents, I sent him home to them for the holidays...he had seen his mother only once in five years. The dog and I actually had a pleasant if quiet holiday.
My father died in September 2004, so in Christmas of that year, we flew Mom over to the UK to spend the holiday with us and last year I flew to Florida to spend it with her, leaving DH home alone with the dog. This Christmas we want to be together so my brother will be spending the holidays with Mom.

My husband and I both come from families where it was not a huge deal if the family wasn't father was a mining engineer and had to spend some holidays off in the mines of Africa or South America. And DH's father was an international construction project manager and spent a few holidays on sites in Indonesia or Kuwait. My mom was a nurse and had to work occasionally on Christmas or Thanksgiving. So we enjoyed our "holidays" whenever they happened to fall, even if the dates weren't the last Thursday in November or Dec. 25.

In some ways, I'm glad our lives are this way...while we would like to be with our families more, we've never had to deal with the stress of turning Thanksgiving or Christmas into an extravaganza.
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