Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories No. 13: Holiday Travel

Holiday Travel

Did you travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

For my very first Christmas when I was nine months old, my parents and I traveled from Fairbanks, Alaska to Grand Rapids, Michigan to celebrate Christmas. It would be the first of only two Christmases spent in Michigan with my extended family. Nearly a year ago, I blogged about the second trip:

When I was 11 years old, we went back to Michigan for a month, to celebrate Christmas with the family. It had been nearly seven years since we had been "home." Both sets of grandparents and an occasional aunt or uncle had come to Alaska to visit us, but none in the past 4 or 5 years since my little brother and sister had been born. To prepare us ahead of time so that we would know who all the family members were, Dad created a poster with the relatives' photos arranged in family groups, and hung it in the living room. We'd go over the names of the aunts and uncles and old the kids were, and what cities they lived in. And when we arrived at the Grand Rapids airport that December morning, there was a crowd of 30 or so people waiting to meet us...the ultimate family reunion! For the first time in my memory, I felt connected to a people who, although I did not know them well, seemed to know and love me.

Normally, we spend Christmas either at our home or my sister's home here in the Spokane area, or else up north of Colville at my parents' home. My brother travels every year from the west side of the state to be with us, wherever we meet. It's difficult to get to my parents' place in the winter, as they live off an old logging road up in the mountains, miles from town, and usually have many inches of snow. You usually need a four-wheel-drive or a front-wheel-drive with chains to get in and out, and it's quite the production, making the trip up there!

My brother-in-law's family lives here in town, and so we usually spend Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas with them, so no major travels there. Two years ago, my husband, our kids, and I traveled across the state to the west side to spend Christmas with the rest of my in-laws, the first time in our married life. It was strange having Christmas without snow (just rain).

I really prefer not to have to travel with the all the busy-ness of the holidays, plus the snowy roads, and the possibility of meeting other drivers who may have been "celebrating" too much before getting into their vehicle. It's much more cozy at home where we can enjoy the beautiful winter weather from the safety and comfort of home!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.


Gini said...

I agree Miriam, I don't like to travel during the holidays either. How I wish we had snow here in San Diego! If they heard me say that, I may get beat up or something! I miss seasons here though.

I love how your dad made the poster of relatives...great idea! I may create one for our grandkids...not just for Christmas but so they can get to know our family and relatives that live in other states or countries.

My grandchildren have never met my cousin and her twin girls in Germany, it would be a great way for them to get to know each other! Thank you for sharing this Miriam...Happy Holiday's to you and your family ~

Miriam Robbins said...

You're welcome, Gini!