My children and I’ve always selected a Christmas destination away from home. We live in Michigan where the cold if not the snow is guaranteed to ruin anyone’s Christmas.
My ex doesn’t parent or visit the children. As the children grew older they would ask, “What is Daddy getting for Christmas?” They would invariably want to buy him a gift as their classmates discussed what they were purchasing for their fathers.
I did not know the whereabouts of my ex so I would change the conversation. Christmas was hard and I almost cried when I caught our son looking forlornly out the window asking, “Do I have a dad? Is he coming over”? “Why doesn’t my dad want to see me.” I guided him back to Christmas decorations saying “just hang this on the tree for your dad. I think he is sad and misses you too.”
Somehow or another we always made it through Christmas.
Then, one year I posed a question. “If you could go somewhere for Christmas where would you go?” “Disney Disney,” they said. “I want to see Mickey.”
What a great idea! Spend Christmas at Disney World with no snow, in a hotel with a pool and a Jacuzzi.
The rest of the year flew by. When I began putting away their summer clothes my daughter Chelsea said, “Don’t put them away remember, we are going to Disney World for Christmas. At Thanksgiving the kids pulled out their suitcases and began ritualistically packing swimsuits, shorts and tees counting down the days to Christmas.
I on the other hand had to buy our plane tickets which I did in October at a greatly reduced rate. I reserved and paid for the rental car online. I reserved not a hotel but, Residence InnSuites which is set up like an apartment including pots and pans and serves a hot breakfast. I also purchased our three day hopper passes online. When I added it all up it was cheaper than spending Christmas at home.
So two days before Christmas we put on our coats and boots, mittens and scarves, went to the Metropolitan airport and a scant two hours later were in 75 degree weather in Orlando Florida.
Suffice it to say the children were ecstatic. We got in our rental car, stored our winter wear in the trunk and headed to our hotel and Disney world.
The fun never stopped and on Christmas morning we woke up and said a prayer as we packed fruit and a peanut butter sandwiches from the hotel breakfast bar into our back packs and headed to the park.
They loved it and I trudged around Disney World from 10:00 in the morning until the park shut down at 11:00 that night. We had sandwiches and fruit and I only had to buy one drink which we
refilled all day. We rode the train from one part of the park to another and stood in line to ride again and again.
When we arrived back at our hotel I cried when my children said, ”This is better than Christmas, this is Disney World.” I added, “Well you did not get any presents,” and they said, ”This was our present.”
Thus began our tradition of Christmas away from home. Each year we pick another place and spend Christmas just having fun.
This probably wont work if your ex is a loving and willing co-parent sharing holidays with his children but, for those of us who have to explain those absences, this is the perfect out.