As children, we watched as our family got together. We even thought everyone was so happy to oblige. We had our smiling aunt with our happy mother and grandmother. Then, there was our father who lounged in the living room with our grandfather and uncle. The kids were told to find something to do. It was a happy time. At least, that’s what we thought. Don’t these memories sound like every family’s memories? Don’t you remember your family at Christmas being happy and together?
It wasn’t until my teens that I learned my grandparents hated Christmas gatherings because our father and aunt, their children, would bicker so badly it made their stomachs tie in knots. All the while, this was unbeknownst to the children. My grandfather used to say they were going to vacation during Christmas. I think the only reason he did not was because of the devastated looks on our (the grandchildren’s) faces. When we were in our teens they did take their vacation. Here is what they learned about vacationing at Christmas time.
Pros of vacationing at Christmas
Hotels – Hotels are less expensive after Dec. 1. The price may go up if closer to the holidays, but not by much. No one travels on the holidays except to the family’s house. There is always a vacancy around Christmas. Hotel staff even seems to be a little friendlier around the holidays. You can get a nice room with a decent view and helpful staff around you for a lower price than traveling at the peak of the season, which is spring and summer.
Traffic – The day of Christmas, traffic is light on interstate. You have the occasional family in a rush to get to someone’s house, and a few truckers. Traveling Christmas day is easy except for rest stops and gas.
Tourist attractions – Tourist attractions are less expensive around the holidays. You need to call the tourist attraction to verify their operating hours.
Airlines – The cost of flying around the holidays goes down if you book in advance. The winter months are the slow times for the airlines, so they will usually run specials on the tickets.
Christmas Decorations – If you are traveling at Christmas, you do not have to be bothered about decorating for Christmas. While you are traveling, you will get to see everyone else’s decorations and even the decorations the towns will put up.
Lines – The lines at the tourist attractions should be smaller than what they would during summer. You should be able to do what you want to do without masses of people running into you.
Cons of vacationing at Christmas
Gas Stations – On Christmas day, it used to be hard to find a gas station that was open. You can find truck stops, but sometimes the cost of gas goes up on Christmas day.
Food – Restaurants may be hard to find opened on Christmas day. Some of the food chains will actually close the day of Christmas.
Traffic – Traffic can be heavy before and after the holiday. This can hinder your travel plans.
Tourist attractions – You may not be able to see the tourist attraction you want to see around the holiday. Many tourist attractions close for the winter or for the holidays.
Whatever the reason for your travel during the Christmas season, plan for the pros and cons of traveling. Have yourself a Merry Christmas whereever you are!