Christmas Travel

Traveling over the Christmas holiday has become a bit of a tradition for me and I thought it would be fun to reflect back on some of the places I’ve spent Christmas.  It really started as a necessity, trying to squeeze as much out of my PTO as possible, and using holiday weekends certainly helps!

O'Hare decked out for the holidays

The first Christmas trip I can recall was when I lived in Seattle; my mom and sister were in Illinois and we decided to meet in the middle in Colorado. We spent a couple nights at Glenwood Hot Springs and for Christmas Eve, checked into the Redstone Inn.  I had no idea how wonderful Christmas could be when there are no dishes to wash at the end of the night!  Not to mention hot tubbing in the snow, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride to a neighboring castle!

Christmas Eve sleigh ride at the Redstone Inn

A few years later, before my mom retired, she treated us to a Christmas trip to Hawaii.  This was my first tropical Christmas and I thought I might miss having a white Christmas, but I really didn’t!  We have plenty of winter before and after Christmas, so I didn’t miss the cold and snow at all.

12/22 - Hale Koa luau

Who wouldn’t want to snorkel with dolphins on Christmas Eve?! (in the wild, of course, not one of those places with poor captive dolphins, that’s disgusting)

12/24 - Waianae Wildlife CruiseSnorkeling with Spinner Dolphins

After my sister got married and added another family to the mix, my mom and I flew to St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, two years in a row.  We flew home Christmas Eve, or left Christmas day so we could still celebrate at home as well.  I suppose if you’re really religious, or have a huge family, spending the actual holiday in an airport could be depressing, but not me!  In fact crowds are a bit calmer on the actual holiday as most people don’t want to be in transit.

In 2014, we traveled to the Galapagos Islands over Christmas.  This was a 10 day trip, so traveling at Christmas really helped reduce the vacation days I used at work.  We had planned it more than a year in advance, and ended up celebrating Christmas at my house the day we flew back.  Talk about a crazy day – starting in Quito, Ecuador and ending with pizza and guests in Chicago that night!

Group photo - Randy, Elayne, Leigh, Beryl, Mendel, Diane, Heather, Dieter, Lisa

Penguins

Last year, my mom and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Panama, so I was actually home for the entire Christmas holiday!  This year, I will be boarding a 5am Christmas flight for Baja Mexico.

As you can probably  tell, I’m not much of a sentimental (or religious) person, so missing Christmas isn’t a big deal to me.  I do miss going to my hometown and getting together with my aunts, uncles and cousins at the holidays, but with everyone grown up, married and starting their own families, it was already becoming so difficult to coordinate so we just get together in the summer!  I don’t think my nephew will remember that we celebrated his first Christmas on the 29th instead of the 25th, and even if he does, I’m always going to be the crazy aunt that misses big events because I’m traveling the globe, so they may as well get used to that while they’re young, right?! 🙂

Has you ever celebrated Christmas somewhere other than home? Any suggestions where I should consider for next Christmas?

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