By Theresa Blume
Did you ever want to run away from Christmas? Whether it is attending Christmas parties or decorating your house or buying the presents, with all the expectations sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. One year my husband and I felt like that. So we decided to try something different.
We took our three children and one of their friends and simply escaped to another state. Instead of decorating and buying the usual things, we took our Christmas budget and used it to reserve a suite at a hotel by Mall of America in Minnesota.
We did not buy presents but instead gave each of our kids the amount we would have spent on them to buy their own presents at the Mall of America. Even knowing they would not be able to buy their presents until the day after Christmas, due to the Mall being closed, the kids were excited about picking out their own items from the biggest mall in America.
We brought a miniature, fake tree with us and set it up in the hotel room when we arrived on Christmas Eve. That evening we held our own little service with a Bible reading and passed around a lit candle as we talked about the meaning of Christmas.
The next day, Christmas morning, we had reserved a champagne brunch that the hotel offered. There were not too many people staying in the hotel that day, but the brunch had people lining up, and we had delicious food like we had never tasted before. The rest of the day we relaxed, watched movies, swam, and played in the game room.
The day after Christmas was hectic. While everyone else was returning unwanted gifts, my kids were taking full advantage of the super low post-Christmas sales and buying exactly what they wanted. With an endless array of stores available, it took all day to wander around and decide on the best of the best deals.
Even my husband and I got in the action of buying our own gifts. After much deliberation, I bought a special pair of earrings that I still have to this day. The kids were very happy with their gifts, feeling like they each got not only what they wanted but the best possible deal as well.
We came home tired but satisfied that we had the best Christmas ever, despite some grumbling friends and relatives who felt we should have been at certain parties. I suspected they were jealous that we had so much fun.
No one remembers the presents they receive nowadays, but my kids remember the year at the Mall of America as their favorite Christmas. It was not about the money we spent or the fancy hotel but the fact that we were all alone doing something different together. Maybe it is time to think about getting away again.