Maximizing Your Holiday Time

By our anonymous Man On The Fence

It’s the Holidays!

Holiday time for our family has always been a big deal. Many years ago when my children were small, (and I was still married), my ex-wife and I made great use of our holiday time. Instead of running south and contending with the hoards of irritated travelers, we stayed put… the ultimate ‘staycation.’ I can recall with great affection, hauling in our Christmas tree and setting the presents below, sitting by the fire and decorating ginger bread houses. I remember it like it was yesterday– Christmas morning, our little one’s running down the stairs, still in their pj’s, hair disheveled, smelly breath and smiles beaming across their faces as they opened their presents. I filmed several Christmases’ and took enough photos to assemble a great collection of what our family was like during these happy times. I love to recall these precious memories. That feeling of success in my heart, feeling so fortunate, and having my family all to myself, with no schedules, no school, no interference from outside sources.

For many of us, Holiday time has become a chore and obligation. Some of us save all year to “spoil “ourselves with a trip to warmer climates, and in the process, defeat the purpose of Holiday time.  Traveling with little kids is never easy, let alone with all the new security measures at airports and the possibility of weather delays. The long lines at restaurants, the inflated prices, can all make for an agonizing and taxing vacation. I am a big proponent of staying put, as home is very often the best place for a great holiday.

I can appreciate that there may be Grandparents down south and therefore an apartment where twelve family members can be holed up. Maybe the idea is to send the kids to the grandparents and get some down time for the two of you? I was never fortunate enough to have that liberty. My parents were divorced and simply never took my children. The same was the case with my ex-wife’s parents. So we never had any help, or any down time. I guess that was our primary reason and motivation for staying put.

Far too often I hear horror stories of Christmases being ruined, because too many people are in quarters that are too tight for comfort, literally and figuratively! Often grandparents quarrelling or passing judgment on how YOUR kids ought to be raised and giving unsolicited advice. I feel my time is so limited as it is, I am unwilling to compromise at the one time of the year when I know my kids are the most carefree.

Holiday time for me has always been occasion to reflect. To be introspective about the upcoming year, and the needs of my family. Though the thought of “everyone” in the family being together sounds ideal, often what is needed is “family time.” That means just your immediate family. Throughout the year we are running to and from school, basketball, dance recitals, celebrations, tutors, music lessons, doctor’s appointments, business obligations… it never ends. Holiday time is a precious time to pause. It is designed as a time to repose, to seek respite from the insanely hectic pace of modern life. I think the value of what that represents has been lost over the years, as it has evolved into a junket for retail stores to empty your wallets and leave you feeling bare.

So I urge you to think about all the things you haven’t had a chance to do with your family throughout the year, and do them this holiday season. I made my own list of things I want to do this holiday season. Here are some things you can do to enjoy your holiday:

1) Make it a point to go see some great movies.

2) Search out some interesting new music.

3) Build something, anything.

4) Find new foods to explore.

5) Do things you never do, like bowling.

6) Plan out a whole day with nothing to do!

7) Walk anywhere.

8)) Share personal stories

9) Hold, hug and kiss more.

10) Make sure you make it clear how much you value your holiday time with your family.

I hope this blog allows you to reconnect with your loved ones and set the stage for the upcoming year. There truly is nothing greater than enjoying and maximizing the time with your family and making memories. For me, even today as a single dad, I can look back and know that I was successful at creating a wonderful holiday environment. My kids still recount the warm fuzzy memories we all shared as a family. And for me, nothing in the world could be more rewarding.

May you all be blessed with health, peace and happiness for 2011.


Share your thoughts with our readers. Do you agree with our Man On The Fence? Should holiday time be reserved for the immediate family? What are your plans this holiday season, we’d love to know!


  1. We used to stay with my in laws every xmas time in Arizona but recently we stopped. I was so tired of the constant passing judgements and lack of privacy that we started doing xmas time staycations and they have worked out much better for our family. I agree this time of year is a time for the immediate family to reconnect and enjoy each other without the pressures of school and schedules. Great post.

  2. I can really relate to this post. Sometimes quarters with the grandparents gets too close for comfort. But holidays are a time for family and that still includes grandparents. As long as it’s not for endless amounts of time I think there’s room for everyone.

  3. We are the staycation family for that very reason. We usually save up to travel in the spring time when lines have dwindled and prices have dropped in price. We love Christimastime in our house. Merry Christmas.

  4. we not only stay home, but stay in our pgs all day long. Now that the kids are older (3 teens and a tween) they insist on the same. Gifts, bacon and strawberries, and a fireplace. That’s it. No relatives or company, not then. It’s our time, and I love that they love it.

  5. We are the staycation family for that very reason. We usually save up to travel in the spring time when lines have dwindled and prices have dropped in price. We love Christimastime in our house. Merry Christmas.

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