A recent radio promotion encouraged listeners to submit reasons why they should be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip “home for the holidays,” and the radio station would then select people based, presumably, on how well they asked.
For instance, one newlywed wife was selected to spend the holidays with her military spouse who was stationed at a fort. Another woman was reunited with her schoolmate and best friend who lived in another state.
And so on, and so on … you get the idea.
I love the idea behind the giveaway, and I’m glad for all the folks who got to go home. But I confess that this Christmas season, I’m increasingly mindful of the homes I won’t be visiting for the holidays … at least, not this year.
A few years ago we spent Christmas in hot weather, in my husband’s home country. We read in disbelief about snowstorms here in the U.S. while slapping mosquitoes and making plans to see the beach.
This year we’re saving up and not planning to travel anywhere. We have a home here now, and family members living close by. But I keep thinking back to last year’s Christmas and missing the folks we won’t be seeing.
I suppose it’s somewhat similar to other families who have to make the choice between the East Coast and the West Coast, to see the mother’s side of the family or the father’s. But it’s a lot harder when you have to choose between different hemispheres.
The farther away you are from someone, the more time you have to set apart to see them.
Sometimes I’m a little envious of couples who say they’re going to make a “weekend trip” to see the family.
When you live more than 12 hours away from the family by plane, your weekend trip would be gone in layovers and airport lounges before you even touched the tarmac.
Because of that, you need much more time (say, 1-2 weeks) before the distance hurdle becomes feasible. That’s often not feasible when you have limited vacation time.
Cost of travel
Another factor is the cost of getting to all these distant homes. You never notice (until you have to travel) how blatantly greedy airlines are when they boost their prices during the holiday season. Sigh.
All this makes me look forward to the era of teleporting from one place to another. Wouldn’t it be grand to just “beam” oneself across to the other side of the globe? Jet lag would be even more noticeable, perhaps, but you’d hopefully cut down on the traveling expenses.
I’m curious to know how other multicultural families cope, or even families with more than one “home.”
Do you take it in turns – one year at one home, then another year at the other home? Maybe you have family reunions at other times of the year, other than holidays. Or do you find that different family members have different priorities of seeing you?
Whatever you do, let me know!