Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, Day 13 - Holiday Travel

When I was growing up and when my children were very young, most of the family was in fairly close proximity and we gathered at my grandmother's, and then my in-laws for Christmas Day.   By the time my children were all in elementary school we had moved away from the family nest.  For a number of years we made the long trek back to spend Christmas with the grandparents and siblings.  That involved taking all the presents [including certain hidden Santa gifts] as well as clothes for five people and leaving room for us all to actually sit in the car.

One Christmas particularly stands out in memory.  My husband's older brother wanted to send a dishwasher to his parents.  He lived about half-way between our house and the Christmas destination and we did have a Suburban.  This was not even a new dishwasher - but was one he no longer wanted.  One of those early ones - freestanding in the middle of the kitchen.  You hooked it up to the kitchen sink to run it; it didn't actually install within the cabinets.  But how do you fit a dishwasher in with five people - two of them adults, and the children no longer small, all their luggage for a week's visit, the gifts we were transporting for each other and all the relatives, the snacks and games to keep mayhem at a minimum while driving long hours, etc....  Even after all these years, it seems that we spent hours in the driveway packing and repacking, knowing we still had many miles to go before we slept.  I recall that the younger set was not bearing the delay gladly, either. What I cannot remember, if I ever knew, is why that dishwasher had to go with us, and why my darling husband agreed to the plan!  In some weird way, I always related that particular Christmas trip to Chevy Chase's movie Christmas Vacation.  Oh, you should know - my in-laws never did figure out how to use that dishwasher!  There wasn't much more room in their kitchen for it than in the Suburban!

Now I often travel for the holidays - it's so much easier for one person to pack up and go than for a family.  My offspring and all of their offspring gathered at my eldest son's condo in Colorado last year - so all of us traveled, some of us great distances.  The condo is a vacation home - no one lives there year round.  A beautiful white Christmas for those of us that are southerners, skiing for most [except for me - I prefer sitting in front of the fire], a night time sleigh ride.  One of the best Christmases of all!