There are many reasons to travel over the Christmas holidays. For one thing, schools are out yet it is before the mad rush post-Christmas to hit hot spots like Disney World. If you travel during school times, it is often an unexcused absence or you will have to prove your vacation had educational value.
There are also some wonderful things to do and see over Christmas: from European Christmas markets (or markets in cities like Chicago) to holiday cruises to Christmas festivities around the globe. Many theme parks and amusement parks have Christmas-themed activities as well.
Deciding to Travel Over Christmas
If you’ve spent most of your life doing Christmas the traditional way, perhaps at grandma’s house opening presents followed by a big dinner, it can be a very emotional decision. A Christmas with just immediate family can also be very intimate, and can be a refreshing break from being surrounded by aunts and cousins and siblings.
Before you decide to travel over Christmas, consider:
- Is everyone in your family who will be traveling excited or at least intrigued by the possibility. Talk to your spouse, and talk to the children too. If this is just one person’s idea, there could be some hard feelings Christmas morning.
- If there is a mix of feelings, consider traveling near Christmas instead of being away from home or family on Christmas.
- If it’s still hard, get a big wipe board or paper and, as a family, write the pros and cons of traveling on Christmas vs. doing whatever you traditionally do. Even with an exotic and indulgent vacation everyone is excited about, running through some of the negatives beforehand can help with reasonable expectations.
Explaining Travel Over Christmas
It is no easy job to tell family you will not be at your home or theirs for Christmas. Some could become quite angry, resentful and critical. Here are some tips for helping friends and family who have negative reactions to your plans to travel over Christmas:
- Get together right before or after Christmas, and do whatever you can to make that get together special for friends or family who are upset about your decision.
- Make plans to connect on Christmas Day as well if that is important, whether it is via a phone call, an email, a YouTube video or Flickr pictures uploaded the night of Christmas to share, or some way to make those family members left behind feel a part of the holiday.
- Offer to meet them at the travel destination, and essentially invite them on your family Christmas getaway. That may not be feasible for many, but there is no reason you can’t have a destination family Christmas vacation if it is doable and affordable for everyone.
There is no doubt that deciding to travel on Christmas can have its challenges, but it also has rewards. Be sure to think the decision through and handle criticism with sensitivity, and this can be a viable travel option.