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Sarah Ring is a wife and mother of two southern gentlemen living in Dallas, TX, and a lover of all things home decor and party planning. To read more from Sarah, check out her blog at Bean & Beau.
The holidays are quickly approaching, and many of us are running around with a mile long list of things to do: dishes to make, presents to buy… But what if I told you that you could have a free pass at “just not” this year? Interested? Let me explain!
About three years ago my mother — whom we often spent holidays with — moved out of state to care for an elderly relative. Simultaneously, my husband’s parents had the opportunity to attend their Alma Mater’s Thanksgiving Day football game, as did my sister-in-law and her fiancé at his prospective university in another state. They were on a sort of “come and go” dining schedule for Turkey Day to accommodate everyone’s travel schedules for the games, and that didn’t quite fit the mold of the traditional family dinner my husband and I both grew up having. We had a choice, we could race back and forth across the state to try and squeeze in time here and there with everyone before they had to depart for their planned events, or we could “just not,” and actually enjoy the time together off work, without a hectic holiday schedule.
It was then we decided to buck tradition, and spend the holiday with our little foursome — taking a family vacation instead! Our families were happy to hear we’d be taking a little time off, and then they didn’t have to feel like they needed to host us when they also needed to be on their way (out of town). It was a win-win, and took the pressure of a “perfect holiday” off of us all. And whenever we’re feeling nostalgic for a family get together, we can absolutely bring the big family dinner back! But for now, this works well for our little crew, and I love that everyone is happy, and can thoroughly experience the true meaning of Thanksgiving in their own unique way!
There are plenty of benefits to not being home for the holidays. No grocery shopping for obscure seasonal ingredients that six stores are out of, no washing mountains of dirty dishes, no stressing about whether or not the house is guest ready. Another benefit? Your airport experience. Flying on Thanksgiving Day, the airport is a ghost town! Everyone is already where they are hoping to be and having their turkey while you’re cruising through security without a line in sight. They’re watching football while you’re stretching out and watching in-flight entertainment on a half empty plane. It’s simply genius.
I say, if you can’t be with the ones you love during the holidays, why not be somewhere you love making new memories and forming new traditions? We’ve had Thanksgiving in New York City, Aspen, and this year we’ll be in a beautiful cabin in a National Forest. We’ve learned that the true meaning of Thanksgiving is gratitude for our family and friends wherever we all celebrate, and true thankfulness for the blessings we have no matter where we may go.
A holiday away certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re considering escaping the turkey day hustle and bustle this year, allow me to share a few tips and tricks to make the most out of your experience!
1. Clearly communicate your plans with your extended family.
Don’t spring your vacay plans on your family if they are holding a seat for you at the table. Let them know your plans well in advance so as to not hurt any feelings. The last thing you would want is to offend the ones you love; so be very clear about your vacation plans and perhaps extend an invite for them to join you on your trip if they are able!
2. Buy your plane tickets in advance.
Holiday travel can be expensive, so it’s imperative that you buy your tickets well in advance or you’ll be facing price increases of 50% or higher. Do keep in mind when ticket shopping that traveling on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, or on the holiday itself will be the most economical. So absolutely check into several different dates to get the best deal!
3. Opt for a vacation rental in lieu of a hotel.
Missing that feeling of home for the holidays? Consider renting a charming home away through AirBnB at your destination of choice, that way you get the feeling of home wherever you roam! When we were in Aspen for thanksgiving last year, I made a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner in our vacation rental thanks to a large kitchen that was extremely fun to cook in, bringing the holiday along with us!
4. Lastly, don’t overload your schedule.
Enjoy the simple pleasures of your holiday destination, and don’t over plan it. Wander around without a map, let the little ones play, window shop and drink too much hot chocolate. These are the memories your littles will love looking back on, because wherever you celebrate it’s the time together that means the most!
Do you travel during the holidays or have a less than traditional celebration of your own? We’d love to hear about it! Drop us a comment below telling us how you do Turkey Day! Wishing you all the happiest of holidays, home or away! xo