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As some of you know, this is our first big holiday that we will not be with our family since moving across the country. In one hand I am excited to start our own traditions as a family of 5. On the other hand, I’m already missing being with extended family! So this year I’m reflecting on our experiences traveling home for the holidays to see what traditions I want to keep for our little family of 5. While it may be quieter than normal, I want our traditions from here on out to be based on our favorites from past years traveling home.
Free airfare for two
Who doesn’t want free tickets home??! Yes please! I was picking up some stove cleaner and Coca-Cola® at Publix when I saw this sweepstakes for free airfare!
This holiday season, visit Publix for the text code to enter for a chance to win airfare for two to travel home for the holidays:
- Grand Prize: (5) Round Trip airfare for two, anywhere in the continental United States
- Timing: Sweepstakes ends 12/30
If I won the Publix Coca-Cola sweepstakes prize I’d use those two tickets to fly grandparents here to experience the holidays with us and save the insanity of cross country airport travel with 3 kids under 5. And if they couldn’t come, I’d fly my family home to the beautiful Washington state for one last year. Hey, that’s half our tickets paid since we still have a lap child!
Why going home is special
If we could travel home…
Going home means eating lots of food that I don’t have to cook. It means watching my kids sit on grandparents laps listening to stories. There are cousins for them to play with, and matching outfits of some kind. Last year, my sister bought the little cousins matching jackets and they loved it!
If we don’t travel for the holidays, there is much I’d miss! I’d miss the buzz of so many people around, grandpa’s guitar playing, eating freshly dug clams and oysters, and smelling fresh rolls and cookies baking! I’d miss catching up on everyone’s lives in person by the fire and eating dad’s popcorn. I’d miss taking pictures of everyone together. There won’t be any sledding or walking through the mountains here either. These all make going home for the Holidays so special!
Family traditions we love
Peter’s side of the family
After Peter I got married we started alternating which home we visited for the holidays. My first time going to his family’s house I picked up many new traditions. His mom and sisters make wasterbroches (sausage and spices baked in a bread roll)…like pans and pans full! They share them with family and friends. They also make orange rolls and tea and everyone enjoys them while opening presents. There is lots of harmonized singing and someone is always at the piano. One especially cool tradition is that each sibling starting with the oldest picks their stocking out of the pile. Traditional stocking stuffers for them include oranges, a chocolate orange (Peter’s fav and his mom knows), rice candy, and trinkets galore! Stockings have always been my favorite as they can be so random. Another super cool tradition is everyone picks out a teacup and saucer to use, one person at a time and set it out the night before breakfast.
My side of the family
Decorating the tree is a sweet pastime and something I’ve always helped with at home. My dad always cuts down our tree in the woods too. It’s never decorated to be beautiful like the magazines rather full of homemade ornaments…and I like it that way! Every ornament has a story or a picture of a kid. My sisters bake my grandma’s cookie recipes, and the house smells amazing. And sugar cookie decorating is something I still look forward to! No matter what, a highlight for me has always been opening our stockings to find goodies like candy, socks, oranges, peanuts, gum, Coca-Cola in glass bottles, and small toys.
An alternative to gifts…
One of my favorite traditions has been doing an activity together instead of giving gifts. I think there is a reason this is so sweet in my memory even as a kid. For years we went to see a Holiday movie in theaters. Other years we dressed up and saw a Holiday play followed by a fancy dinner out. No one minded skipping the lines for presents either, and this is something I would like to do with our kids when they are older!
Chances are we will be far away continuing many of these family traditions. There is something special to that too. However, if by chance I win airfare home with Publix, what a blast it would be to go home for the holidays.