The Christmas Recovery Zone

PC240599Whew! What a Christmas! It’s taken me a whole week just to recover from our vacation. We went to The Motherland (Utah), where several relatives on both sides met us. We spent the entire time going from family to family with tiny interludes of seeing old friends. Relaxing, it was not. Not even close. But it was still a good vacation because we got to spend so much time with the people we love the most. I always have this crazy notion that vacations are meant for relaxation and if that doesn’t happen then I feel gypped and angry. And of course when I feel angry I like to take it out on Mister and vice versa, so there were a lot of fun moments where we sent daggers from our eyes to each other.

I may or may not have also taken my lack of sleep and stress about the holidays out on my mother-in-law.  We had a little “incident” over a lemon pie (formerly Lemon Truffle Pie but hereafter known as The Pie That Ruined Christmas) that ended with me being unpleasant and my mother-in-law sobbing at the kitchen table. If you want to know how to make my husband madder than he’s ever been, try being mean to his mom. On second thought, don’t.

But, like I said, it was a good trip because we got to spend time with our relatives; all of whom we adore. These are all the cousins who were in Utah from Mister’s side. A whole bunch are missing but hopefully we’ll see them soon.


The kids also got to go skiing. It was the first time Ada and Jasper had seen snow since they were babies. Nothing beats that Utah snow. I, of course, did not go skiing because I don’t go outside when it’s that cold unless the house is on fire. There’s not enough hot chocolate in the world to make outdoor sports worth it.

On the second day of skiing Arabella and India ended up stranded at the top of a “terrifying ski run” (from the way they made it sound it was a black diamond, but turned out to only be a green. But they’re newbies, OK?). The Ski Patrol tried to lead them down but they preferred to sit at the top of the mountain and cry for over an hour. Finally one of their grown-up cousins tracked them down and coaxed them down the hill, reassuring them the entire time that they weren’t about to die.

Skiing at Park City

We flew to/from Utah on Southwest Airlines. This was necessary because of the two free bags that are allowed for each person. When Christmas presents and winter clothes are involved, you need all the baggage you can get. The trip north was fine (only nine suitcases!) but the trip home was a little iffier. We ended up with two additional suitcases and a box of beautiful wreaths that I bought the day after Christmas (yay for sales! And yay for Tai Pan Trading!).*

We required our own shuttle out to the airport parking lot when we got back to Austin, we had so much stuff and people. Mister had actually come to Utah on a later flight than the rest of us so he brought the near-empty minivan to the airport when he left. He had the brilliant idea to throw the rooftop luggage rack in the car at the last minute since he knew we’d be short on space.

Only it turns out the luggage rack doesn’t fit our car. It was for our old minivan. He swore up and down that we’ve used it on Betsy, my current minivan. But evidence proved otherwise and there we were with not only a million bags but a giant roof rack that didn’t come close to fitting on the top of my car. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and with the help of a luggage strap and some yarn from a knitting project, we strapped that roof rack on the top of my car. It jiggled and rocked precariously the whole way home and I expected it to go flying off onto the car behind us at any moment. But we drove 45 mph on the freeway the whole way home. It took us an extra 15 minutes but nobody behind us was decapitated. Success!

We did manage to get all the bags in the car but everyone had to sit Indian style so we could put bags under the kids’ feet. And then we all had to pile suitcases in our laps.  You should probably know that by this point I was screaming, “shut up!” anytime someone tried to speak. Never has anyone been so glad to pull into their driveway. I made a quick dinner, took a sleeping pill and was in bed with earplugs by 8:30. And I slept until 8:00 the next morning.  The perfect way to end any vacation.

I’m quite sure we won’t be taking our show on the road for Christmas again. Although it was lovely to spend the holidays with our relatives, the stress and trouble are simply too much. Unless our relatives want to spend Christmas in Hawaii. I’m pretty sure we could make that work.

*I’m going to overdo it on decorating next year. I have to make up for this year; Although I decorated my house, I didn’t put up the Christmas tree. We wouldn’t be home for Christmas! Can you blame me?  The sad thing is that I bought a new star and a new tree skirt and didn’t even try them out. I’m so lame sometimes that I shock myself.

11 thoughts on “The Christmas Recovery Zone

  1. But…but…you all looked so HAPPY from where I sat! I’m so glad you came, though. Maybe next year you could all make it for Spring Vacation, which is tropical in Texas, but still snowing blizzards in Utah. At least no presents.

  2. In all the time I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve only commented once. Sorry about that. (I’m the one whose husband didn’t want to stop for gas around Lehi, but I made him stop anyway by freaking out, and then we got locked out of our car at a rest area in the middle of nowhere on I-70 in Utah while our car was left running.) Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I love this post! It cracked me up. Perhaps I should be ashamed for admitting this, but I especially loved the Pie that Ruined Christmas part and the screaming “shut up!” part. I’ve been that mom after driving to/from Utah. We live near Dallas and we decided years ago that we would never go to Utah for Christmas again. Spring/summer trips are hard enough.

  3. I always think it would be so lovely to get away for the holidays, but then I remember how much work “getting away” is and coupling it with Christmas would surely give me hives. I’m impressed you lived to tell.

    I’ve missed your writings. Don’t take anymore long breaks, okay?

  4. Oh, that description of the ride home was priceless. As was the pie incident. I’m imagining a new sequel to “Christmas Vacation.” Thanks for the laugh, and welcome home!

  5. Ohhhh we’ve so done that with the travel rack! stupid racks that aren’t universally fitting!! Worst thing ever! and made me laugh. a lot………. 🙂

  6. Our families live in UT and we live in CO. We quit going ‘home’ for Christmas a few years ago and I’ve enjoyed the holidays so much more since that decision! No more driving 10 hours across the frozen wasteland that is southern Wyoming with a car packed full of presents, kids and a dog, only to spend precisely 2.5 days with each family (since it takes a day to get there and a day to get back), glorying in the time at my folks’ house and dreading the time at his. Invariably, his mother gave us gigantic Christmas presents that were impossible to bring home. It ruined Christmas for me every year.

  7. I’ve done a few Christmas trips too and the result has always been similar to your experience. I vowed not to do it anymore a few years ago and have been happy ever since. And yet, I just decided to go to Hawaii this coming Christmas (we will visit family there, but not stay with them since they don’t have room). It’s the best week for me to take off work, but I keep thinking that I must be insane. Hopefully I won’t have to go to WalMart to buy an extra suitcase (I may have done that on a previous Hawaii trip)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *