Three Christmases after we married I found myself wrapping presents for step children and their families late into the night, questioning if the gifts would be what they would need or want.  I had invested time searching for unique and thoughtful gifts, time that I really didn’t have amidst a full-time job and the other demands of life.  And, like so many others, I found myself stressed and not enjoying the holiday season as I tried to help my husband create a memorable Christmas for his grown children and the Grands that were beginning to arrive.

I received the answer to my question several months later when I stumbled across several gifts, still lying exposed in their boxes, stacked in the garage of one of their homes.  I decided at that moment that I would rather invest my time and energy in planning a trip than shopping for stuff that would likely end up in dusty garage boxes.  Armed with this inspiration I talked with my husband about the idea and solicited his full support for eliminating all Christmas and birthday presents in place of an every other year family trip in which we would pick up the major expenses of airfare, housing, and rental cars to explore unique parts of the United States together. 

My husband presented the idea to each of his children, seeking their input and decision on whether they would be willing to make this change.  At the same time, he explained that there would be no more gifts for us, that their time on the trips were their gifts to us.  They readily agreed.  

Our first trip was in November of 2009 to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Since 2009, our family has experienced the births of two additional Grands, the death of a stepchild’s spouse, and the typical family turmoil but the time together creating unforgettable moments has become a priceless gift to us all. 

Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.

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