Long Distance Grandma Thinks Creatively When Celebrating the Holidays with the Top Four Tips for Making Holidays Joyful

Since the birth of the oldest grandchild, this Grandma realized that celebration of holidays was going to be a challenge being a long distance away. Since then, the oldest set of grandchildren remain in New England, which the parents of the younger set of grandchildren moved from Mid Atlantic to Mid West. This long distance Grandma has had to think creatively when celebrating the holidays.

Here are the top tips for making holidays joyful.

Tip Number One

Pick a holiday to have in your location each year for all of the family to gather with you. This Grandma picked Thanksgiving for South Florida. In hindsight, I never thought of the cost of airfare being the highest in the year as the dates are fixed for airline travel. Even Christmas and Chanukah, or Easter and Passover have more date flexibility. To avoid high cost of airfare, save frequent flier miles for the family holiday travel or think of alternative airports within two hours driving distance.

Tip Number Two

Having the holiday at your location is just the beginning. Now, bundle holidays together and celebrate more than one holiday together at your location. When the oldest grandchild was born, I started the tradition of having Chanukah during the Thanksgiving time in Florida, knowing I did not want to go north in December cold. Every night in South Florida during their Thanksgiving week visit, we light candles and every night the grandchildren get a gift. Then, with many photographs, the children remember grandma and grandpa with them at two holidays. The grandchildren love it. This year they had five nights of Chanukah in Florida and will go home and have eight additional holiday nights. Children love celebrating holidays over and over again and the calendar is no bar to multiple celebrations at one time to a child.

Tip Number Three

Pick a holiday to have in the grandchildren’s hometown and cajole all the family to meet in that location, alternating among the grandchildren’s location each year. Save your frequent flier miles or think of alternative transportation. We have learned to love Amtrak between New England and the Mid Atlantic states. Now, we were able to share at least three holidays with the grandchildren. Remember, if you cannot make it at the time of the exact holiday, enjoy the holiday when you are there. Even the retailers have recognized Christmas in July is a benefit! Decorating a tree is fun at any time of the year, and shopping post Christmas allows you to collect bargains for the July (or whatever month you choose) celebration. Grandchildren love presents and would have Christmas every month if they could.

Tip Number Four

Choose a weekend every other year to take a multigenerational family trip to a destination. Save your points to lessen the cost. Remember that the parents of the grandchildren have limited vacation leave and think long weekend rather than week. This Grandma found that some three day weekends do not have a premium added to hotel and airfare costs so do not rule out holiday weekends, especially such as Memorial Day weekend, which may be slightly off season in rates in certain locations. Remember every other year to avoid hurt feelings of the in law family, even if they do not choose to do the same with their multigenerational family. Finally, it is expensive to take so many people on vacation, so every other year is just fine. At every Thanksgiving, when we are all together, the parents of the grandchildren and I discuss and explore options for the next vacation. Yes, it takes two years of discussion to come to agreement as to the location and experience. The joy is in the exploration and discussion of options and the planning of the execution of the multigenerational vacation. And, the vacation itself can become the holiday present for the extended families and their members.

Creativity and planning make every family gathering a celebration.

 

Joy,

Mema

 

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