Staying Home for the Holidays

I grew up with a very large and close extended family—I have more than two dozen first cousins, and now many of them all have families and kids of their own, which results in some pretty epic holiday celebrations.

Being surrounded by tons of people for Thanksgiving and Christmas was just the norm, and it easily helped make it my favorite time of year.

Thanksgiving with that many people truly resulted in a feast with gobs of delicious food, and while we worked off our food coma, we’d all play several rounds of BINGO. I have no idea where that tradition started, but its lasted throughout the years.

Then, for Christmas, the amount of laughter and mountains of wrapping paper after Santa visited (oh yes, we have a “real” Santa and an elf deliver presents every year) always solidified my love for the holiday.

This year, however, will only be my second year (out of 30) that I won’t be home for the holidays. We didn’t go home a couple years ago because we were living overseas and it wasn’t economical for us to fly back. But this year we’re staying home for different reasons.

It was a hard decision to make, but since my husband just returned home from a deployment, and since I’m due a mere six weeks after Christmas, we decided it would be best to stay put instead of hopping a plane or taking a road trip home. I’m sad, of course, to not spend time with my family and see friends, but there are several bright sides to sticking close to home.

For one, we get to wake up at home instead of in a hotel room. My daughter will also get to run over to the Christmas tree and open gifts, and we can lounge around in our pajamas all day since we won’t have to bounce from house to house. We’ll also get to start making our own traditions, which is something I’m really excited for. 

Thankfully, technology these days means we’ll still get to “see” our family and we may even get to open presents “together.” Of course, it’s not the same as being there, but it’s the best option available for the situation. We’re also exploring our own area more—checking out holiday festivals and going away on mini weekend trips. I can’t wait to bake cookies with my daughter next week and then take them to our neighbors.

(Looking for more ways you can have holiday cheer without going home for the holidays? Check out my post on AHRN!)

While there’s no match to being surrounded by family for the holidays, there are certainly a few perks to skipping the big get-togethers and making some new memories with your very immediate family. And who knows, maybe staying home this year will become our own tradition…only time will tell.  

If you live away from “home,” do you go out to visit for the holidays or do you make your own traditions with your family?


  1. This will be our 7th year staying home for Christmas and I love that. I do miss our families and part of me wishes we could spend them with them but to fly out there and spend two weeks around Christmas time is just not going to work for us. Hopefully we will move back home closer to family in the future but until then we love our quiet little Christmas in our own home.

  2. Dan and I try to split the holidays between our families, but it largely depends on vacation days from work. It's easier to go home for Thanksgiving, since the holiday is ALWAYS a four-day weekend, than for Christmas. Dan's family is close, so we spend the rest of the holidays with them. We're doing our Secret Santa exchange and Christmas meal this Sunday, and then a big family party with my FIL's side of the family on Christmas Eve. My BIL and his wife will then go to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with her family. Dan and I are excited to spend all of Christmas Day together and figure out our own traditions to start. It's our first married Christmas!

  3. We've only done 1 Christmas without extended family, Hubs mom is coming to us this year and next year, my parent's are coming. I'm not even sure how to do Christmas as "just us" but I don't mind, I love see the kids with their grandparents.

  4. Most of the time we stay home and don't travel for Christmas. We're going this year only because my husband is deploying soon and actually has the leave. Normally he doesn't. He's security forces and they usually need everyone on hand for the holidays.

  5. Normally we go to one of our family's for Christmas. We've been close enough to both to manage it as a longish road trip our whole marriage and we rotate the holidays. One year my family gets Thanksgiving and his gets Christmas and the next year we switch. This year we were told my husband would be working through Christmas so we decided I'd stay home on the off chance we could see each other… then we just found out he does get off for Christmas. We decided to stay home just the two of us and have Christmas together. It was a hard decision but we know for our stress levels it will work out the best! After the holidays his new job will have long long hours so we want this time together as much as possible.

  6. We don't do Christmas at home often, and I'm a bit sad this year because all my sisters and their families will be at my moms! But maybe it'll save me the heart attack hahaha

  7. Honestly, we talk all year about going home for Christmas. It's as exciting as Disney World to us (which is saying something!) And even though I'm a big ball of stress right now about *getting* home, I am so glad we'll gt to have Baby G's first Christmas with family.

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