We have come to realize that with our bicoastal family, we will never be home on Christmas Day, at least not in the forseeable future. Of course, family is the most important thing to us, which is why we do all the travel in the first place. But in a way, it makes me a little sad that Nugget and Lil Sib won't have the kind of Christmas that Hubby and I had. Their Christmases will not be early mornings at home waking up to a lit tree, my mom's strata in the oven, a big beautiful children's Mass, the church aglow with twinkle lights. Their Christmases will involve packing, removing their shoes for the metal detector, nasty food at roadside pit stops, the free Continental breakfast at the hotel. Santa will either deliver their gifts at home either early or late, because he knows we'll have limited trunk and luggage space to tote presents home. We'll always have to take down our tree early. Asking our active toddler to sit and be quiet for a 2 hour Mass after traveling cross-country is something we skipped this year. Forgoing some traditions is a sacrifice I'm willing to make to give them more time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But I do want some traditions that can stick, no matter our travel itinerary.
We wanted to build some happy memories at home for the Nugget. St. Nicholas came on St. Nick's day (Dec 6) to fill our stockings. We lit Advent candles each night at dinner and had our Nativity set out for the Nugget to play with all month (the camel often left the Creche to take meals with the Nugget). We took our annual embarrassing pajama picture.
We did our little family Christmas with Santa's gifts the Saturday before we left. We took the Nugget for pony rides. We got Chik-fil-A for lunch and ordered pizza for dinner, so I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen all day. Santa hid a couple gifts in my carry-on for the Nugget to open on the plane. I know it's not the same, but I hope that the Nugget and Lil Sib will have just as many happy memories of Christmas. They are just a little more spread out over the course of December I suppose. I hope that extends the fun instead of diluting it. I suppose they won't know anything different until their classmates tell them that Santa is supposed to come to YOUR house on the 25th!
Do you have ideas for Christmas traditions for a traveling family?