Holidays are a wonderful thing, but not all holidays are created equal and everyone has a favourite. I personally love Christmas above all others and I never understood people who said they hated Christmas music and wished it would all just go away. Other people get all excited about holidays that are just “meh” to me. And of course there’s the fact that every culture and religion has their own special days. My own family traditions pretty much follow the Christian calendar with a few North American cultural events thrown in, but everyone’s family calendar will look a bit different.
We all have traditions around the holidays and usually these are tied to being at home; decorating, family dinners, etc. So how does a travel loving family decide whether to stay at home during festive occasions or hit the road and form some new traditions? For us, the choice is usually to travel, but not all holidays are created equal and there is a definite sliding scale of priority when it comes to deciding whether to hit the road or not. Here’s my personal list of holidays, official and otherwise, and how they affect my decision to travel.
A) Civic Holidays
These include the government invented statuatory holidays that I love so much as a government employed union member. BC day in August, Family Day in February, Victoria Day in May. They were basically created for the purpose of giving people leisure time, so it’s my civic duty to travel on those weekends, right?
B) Remembrance Day
Verdict: Go, but with respect.
I do understand that the purpose of Remembrance day is to honour our veterans and remember the sacrifice made by those who fought for our freedom and not just to give everyone a day off. However, for our family the most significant event is usually the Remembrance Day assembly at school, so the actual weekend often ends up becoming a travel weekend for us. So we usually try to remember that weekend, but some travel often makes an appearance as well.
C) Canada Day
Verdict: Go, eh!
What could be more Canadian than hitting the road with family? And if you can find a parade or a party, even better!
D) New Year’s
That week after Christmas has always been a bit of a downer for me when I’m stuck at home. It’s a perfect time to head out on a family trip and start off the year with some exploring.
Verdict: Go, but try not to miss the turkey
Thanksgiving falls in early October here in Canada and it’s just the perfect time to travel. However, my mom happens to make the best Thanksgiving dinner on the planet (this is a fact, not an opinion) and it’s a shame to go away and miss it. It’s a bit of a conundrum. This year we’re solving it by coming home from our weekend away in time for turkey dinner in order to get the best of both worlds. I suppose another option would be to simply take her with us next time. And there are other people who have the option of travelling to a location where a great family dinner is being served. All these options work quite well as far as I’m concerned.
Verdict: I’d go if I could
I’m not a big fan of Halloween for the most part. I’m not into spooky or goulish. I don’t like dressing up. I just don’t understand the appeal of graveyards and cobwebs. However, since I’ve had kids I’ve warmed to the occasion a bit. We live in a great neighbourhood for trick or treating and for the last few years we’ve hosted some friends and their kids and made and evening of it. I’d probably still travel away for Halloween if the chance came along, but that’s kind of a moot point since there are no extra days off work for Halloween anyway, so boo to you.
G) Valentine’s Day
Verdict: A good excuse to leave the kids at home
Valentines is another take it or leave it holiday in my books. I love the chance for some romance, but I’d rather spread it throughout the year. Still, it can make a good excuse to drop the kids off at the grandparents one night in February and book a night at a non kid-friendly hotel for a quick romantic getaway and what’s not to like about that?
My birthday happens to fall in summer, so I’ve spent quite a few of my birthdays on the road over the years. For me it’s perfect since it eliminates the need to explain why I don’t have any interest in having a party or some other birthday social event. And it’s also a great excuse to include some sort of a splurge while I’m on the trip, too. A trip is a perfect birthday present as far as I’m concerned.
I) Labour Day
Verdict: Stay home (and complain about it)
I’m married to a teacher. Labour day weekend is when he works long into the night to get ready for the new school year. We usually try to fit in a fun activity to do as a family on the holiday itself, but Labour day really is about labouring around here.
Verdict: Stay home (usually)
Easter is one of those oddly timed, moving holidays that is hard to pin down. Here in BC, there are two statuatory holidays for Easter, Good Friday and Easter Monday, making it a four day weekend. However, spring break is usually the last two weeks of March no matter when Easter falls. This means that in many years, Easter falls just after we’ve come back from a big spring break trip. This year, for example, we have two weeks off in March followed by two four day weeks for the Easter long weekend. Easter is the one holiday where we usually don’t travel; partly for this reason and partly because of our desire to focus on the religious significance that the day has to us personally. We have, however, traveled just before or just after Easter at times when spring break has worked out that way.
Verdict: Home or family (unless something really good comes up!)
We love Christmas at our house; it’s far and away our favourite time of year. However, we have family in both BC and Alberta that we love spending it with. For the last few years we’ve alternated spending Christmas day itself with my family in BC and my husband’s family in Alberta. This year is an Alberta year and we’re looking forward to all the fun we’ll have with family and the chance to experience a “real” Canadian winter. It’s hard to imagine a what a Christmas on the road would look like and I don’t thing we’ll ever want to go to a resort over Christmas or something like that. We are, however, considering a trip to Europe on year over Christmas to visit the famous Christmas markets in Germany, but we’ll have to see how that would all work itself out. For now we’re spending Christmas with family and hoping for lots of travel related gifts under the tree!