We are home!
One of the tricky things about travel over Christmas is what to do about gifts. Do you do them before the trip or after or drag them along on your trip? This is doubled or tripled by what does your family do? Give in person or ship to your home? Complicate that more by variables unique to each situation and you get quite a situation.
We have been doing this for years and have come up with a few things that seem to help so if you are thinking of traveling during Christmas and wondering what to do here is what works for us;
- If we are traveling very close to Christmas we do gifts before we leave
- Also if something that is a Christmas gift but also needed on the trip
- If we are leaving well before Christmas (like this time) we told the kids the gifts would be waiting when we got home and we would do Second Christmas
- To make this work well I wrapped gifts well before we left and put them out so they could be shaken and wondered about, physical proof gifts exist
- Had a friend put out the last few gifts and arrange them a bit and text a picture so on Christmas morning I could show the kids that Santa had come and set the gifts out just like normal and there they were, waiting for them.
- “santa” still came to us in Hawaii, but, for us Santa fills the stockings so that wasn’t hard to do there
- Make Second Christmas a real deal – We got home late and groggy and cranky from travel and I made the kids wait one more night so this morning we woke up to Second Christmas where we had fancy pancakes and talks with relatives as we opened gifts and I’m treating the whole day like a private Christmas.
- Also talking up the fact that we have an extra Christmas day full of family time and nice food etc helped them feel good.
Bottom line is that we talked honestly about what would happen and how and why over and over to make sure they knew. Also, a good time to work on the fact that a trip to Hawaii and all the fun things we did were part of their Christmas, and, spending time together is better than spending money on gifts… However, that is a concept that is beyond many adults so I had realistic expectations for my kids and they did really well. Especially well now that they have their second Christmas 🙂
They did thoroughly enjoy what we got them and what was sent from family. It seriously sounds like Christmas here today with all the playing with all the toys.
Next I need to tackle the unpacking. Our flight was nasty timing, departing at 11:50 pm meant that we couldn’t really have a normal bedtime but on the positive Zoe and Niamh and Lars slept. Fiona kept half waking up and freaking out so she and I did not get much rest. Landing in LA at 7:30am with a 2-hour layover was not too bad. You need at least 30min in LAX to get to the right place so we had enough time for a little breakfast and getting where we were going. I was a zombie and Niamh kept falling asleep everywhere but we did ok. Thankfully we had Vacation Mom to pick us up and we got home and ordered pizza and told the kids to eat and watch TV while we went to sleep. Lars actually ended up sleeping on both flights so he was reasonable when we got home and went to work to pre-catch up.
I’m, not unexpectedly, unsure on what day it actually is but I know we have a weekend and new years day to go so we have plenty of time to readjust to this time zone and weather. The house is decent, I need to grocery shop, but I did leave my sisters with clean laundry so I’m going to enjoy this day.
PS. this day for me made possible by my prents getting married 38 years ago. Happy Anniversery!
I’ve been blog and I have a list of reasons why…. The biggest is my computer decided to be ‘on vacation’ without official leave.
I have so many awesome pictures, we have been doing the family thing and the tourist thing and generally enjoying fantastic weather. When I get home I’ll do a massive update (maybe) but I’ll see about doing a gallery or something for those of you who care to see tons of pictures of Hawaii. I’m posting one a day on Instagram at least.
Today and tomorrow will be fun for us and I hope you too. I know this is a crazy stress time of year for so many and I am putting out only good thoughts for the day.
Off for now, Happy Merry Everything
We made it!
In my opinion, the key to travel is to absolutely ignore the things that could go wrong and focus only on the reality you want. I refused to acknowledge the possibility of a snow storm or ice or delays or lost luggage and things worked!
We got a limo (just what you get when you have 5 people but it feels fancy) at 4:30. It was also key to get into a warm car because I made everyone leave coats at home.
I did my best to plan for things and we had a nice pile of food and snacks, I even went for lunchables for the kids because they have been wanting them for ages so that makes them ‘special’, and more importantly to me, they are reasonably crush proof so they were intact after hours of travel. The three planes and the three airports each had things to nitpick, but, overall it was worth it to get here.
Plane #1 was just fine and our layover was just long enough for a walk, a coffee, and a bit of a charge.
Plane #2 was the looooong one but I kept telling the kids it would be 8 hours but it was actually only 6 so that was a nice surprise. We kept decent entertainment levels and constant snacks and things were pretty good. Some of the surrounding people were not my first choice, but hey, that means we looked better in comparison.
Plane #3 was so short that the stewardess practically tossed juice to everyone from the back of the plane and then collected the cups and then we landed.
My sister met us with the super pretty flower and we stumbled to her house and went to bed on a flat, non moving surface.
The fitbit was very confused, I somehow managed to get 10k steps but my day was an extra 4 hours long and I started at 4am. However, Fitbit could not figure out what to do when I synced so I had two Thursdays for a while. I just need it to tell time in general so my steps will sort themselves out some how.
Today was more or less paperwork day. We needed passes for the base, we planned out the big outings for the trip and got advance tickets to secure reservations and prices. We visited a different base on the island for a drink and a view of the island and the harbor from the high ground. The view from the grocery store was pretty good too, almost everywhere is either something pretty or something interesting. I love the variety of things here. My sister lives in a historic home in a historic neighborhood and the base is full of architecture from every era, but, in some ways time stopped here 75 years ago (once they cleaned up the mess that is).
We got out and about a little bit but not a lot. Just the ability for the kids to play and us to eat dinner outside is a novelty.
A friend said once that visiting family isn’t a vacation, it is a trip. People imagine Hawaii like a luxury hotel or on a cruise or even on a massive cram it in sight seeing extravaganza BUT I am living life with my sisters family and it will include doing fun things, and, the best is that we are all in it together for the next 2 weeks.
When I was younger I remember friends moms spending weeks doing Christmas cards. They would seldom be hand making them (but I do remember some doing that) but they would be writing personal, long, notes to everyone on a very very long list. Hundreds! Maybe this is inflated by memory, but, I am backed up by tv shows of the era.
Then there was an era of long braggy letters, I recall this in my teens… The evolution of wanting to say all the things to all the people without handwriting it. This seems to be short lived since pretty fast it became the thing of sitcom jokes.
When I first got married it seemed pictures cards became the norm and that is something I can get behind. But the trend also included sending cards for way more holidays? Maybe that was just my friends… This was all pre Facebook being big
The trend I’m noticing now, post facebook, is people just not doing cards. The original reason to ‘touch base’ with all your far-flung friends is now moot because you can do that daily for free on Facebook. The long (personal or group) letters are also moot because as each thing comes up you post and those who care are happy and those that don’t ignore it, and those that hate it eventually block you but at least you didn’t waste a card and a stamp to tell them your baby now eats solid foods and can roll over.
Personally, I made the decision a few years ago to cut down my list but I still do them because the people I send them to I know appreciate them. I love getting picture cards so that is what I send. *I also save every picture card I ever get* My list also includes people that are not on facebook, but, my list is now only people I know and care about and not a giant list of all the people ever. Based on my facebook, I know how people used to have 300 person lists if they cared to keep in touch (and I do, always have, always will).
I, like many others, still don’t have time to add a personal note to all of them even though I want to. Today in the post office, as I stamped each one, I made a wish for each person. I wrote them a note in my head. So no, they won’t literally read it, but I hope that the intention reaches them.
To you dear readers, of whom there are apparently over 1000, I don’t have your addresses but I wish you all well too.
ps. yes, I send at least one Jewish friend a Christmas card. I don’t think they personally care, plus, Jesus was Jewish.
Today’s post is based on product given to me by Oriental Trading company in return for a post. I almost feel bad because they are so fast and shipping and I’m comparably slow at posting.
*in my defense, they just pull from a warehouse and ship the next day, I have to wait for my heard of cats to be in a crafting mood. * Lucky for me, they inherited my love for crafting gene so far 🙂
I got quite a few things this order but my first goal was to get things that the kids could create gifts with. There is a TON of jewelry options but I settled on 2 kits and then some charms and cute lampwork beads, one that looked like apples and another set that were just pretty. I also got a few basic supplies like wine charm wire loops and necklace chords.
The older two were enchanted with the box of what can only be described as treasure. Both dove in to create teacher gifts and with zero guidance from me created wine charms with bits and parts I was not expecting them to use. It was ABSOLUTELY within their level (of age 6 and 8) to not just manually make it happen but to put together something pretty.
The Santa kit from the picture is actually too hard for them. I plan on doing them myself and they will find their way to some lucky family members. (here is where I hope my sisters are too busy to read my blog)
The final thing that I want to highlight is, according to Oriental Trading, another Christmas craft, but, I’m planning on wearing it year round. The safety pin in this picture actually also comes with a tiny nativity scene but for me, this is going to indicate my willingness to help anyone who needs it so I’m going to use that charm elsewhere. The safety pin symbol , I think, is a great idea in its simplicity.
I was very impressed with the overall quality. Makes me wish I had time to just sit and play with beads all day. I will settle for the time I have and I’m double grateful for the fact that I can put a pile of supplies in the hands of my kids and let them create.
blogging; like the weather expect anything
naps; I’ve had more than Fiona
Books; Onto the next in my Golden Fool series (Robin Hobb), started a new collection of Stephen King short stories on audio, Have written nothing in 2 weeks but my writing partner has so that counts :). **forgot to mention a pretty weak romance I listened to called ‘Montana bride’.
Health; everyone around us is sick so I’m hopeful that our kids hold out.
Visiting; have seen every family member in the state, 1 friend briefly, and met a few new people at the yacht club.
Exercise; ? what? my exercise apps think I’ve died and are sending reminder beeps.
I should probably have an entire category dedicated to the fact that when my schedule is off I no longer have the ability to remember the day or date. I’m in NY, I believe it is Monday, but I can’t even say that it feels like an X day because I’m just in vacation muddle. Fortunately the kids are all having a good time with different toys in a different space so my lack of planning looks more like ‘taking it easy’. I know some people plan vacation to simply do nothing but I’m not that person.
All the holiday festivities of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing day all had prescribed and traditional things that I was happy to participate in and plan little of. I made more rainbow cookies and other than that I’ve been in the helpful crew rather then the leadership team. That is nice for a change 🙂
I am getting in the mindset of the end of year review. What went well, what didn’t work as planned. Mostly things feel the same but if I give thought to it tons has changed. My big personal change was leaving behind problems I could not solve and had no business solving. That has simplified so many thing! I can’t worry about how other people lead their lives, and with that, I accept what they choose and if I strongly disagree I just drift away from the situation. That isn’t what I planned on writing but I don’t totally plan my writing here anyway.
Well the day moves on and I think I’m going to force the nap issue today since the last few bedtimes have been not ideal with #3. It is also sunny so I’m going to enjoy the double reason to go out for a walk (plus I need to know what happens next with Mr King’s person eating car).