Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Traveling

I love this time of year. I enjoy planning menus, savoring visits from loved ones, and remembering what this holiday is all about. I even enjoy the hustle and bustle of traveling around to spend time with family and friends. Through the years I've learned what makes for successful holiday traveling. I will share this wisdom in today's post.

1) Put fuel in the car before the lines form at the local gas stations. =) Sadly, I have spent precious time waiting to gas my car on the day we try to head somewhere. And since I usually manage to get gas fumes all over me whenever I put gas in my car, doing so on the day we travel is not pleasant. This makes for bad moods all the way around. So I take measures to remind myself to take care of this chore ahead of time. My children mock me when I post notes to myself on the fridge like "Get gas!" but lately, if I don't write notes to myself, I tend to space important things. Perhaps it's all of those head injuries coming back to haunt me . . .

2) Since we live in an area that can go from record heat to surprise blizzards in no time flat, this is the time of year to take precautions. I make sure my trunk contains the following items: A small shovel (in case I manage to wedge the car into a snow bank along the way); kitty litter (it might seem embarrassing to keep a container of this in one's trunk, but it does provide great traction under your tires if you're stuck in icy snow); a first aid kit (my sister gave this to me as a "gag gift" one year, since she seems to think I have my share of boo-boos, but we've used it a lot and I rarely travel anywhere without it); blanket(s) (in case we get stranded and it's cold); snow boots, gloves, & winter hats (these items come in handy if one has to get one's car unstuck during a blizzard. Don't make fun . . . it has happened); snacks (these come in handy even if we don't get stranded. I have found that if you feed people as you travel, they remain friendly. Plus, if you're a Type 1 diabetic like me, it's a good idea to have a few carbs on hand if the blood sugar level drops along the way.)

3) Bring great tunes to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Since I love Christmas music, you can be sure I will be bringing my favorite Christmas CD's for everyone's enjoyment. (Yes, posterity, you heard me right. All of your favorites, including the Carpenter's Christmas Album. You'll thank me later, I know.)

4) Since my trunk will already be stuffed to the gills with emergency preparedness items for this trip, (see item # 2 above) bringing food for holiday feasts will be a challenge. I have found that there is less complaining when we put everyone's name into a hat and draw for things like holding pies, cheesecake, coolers, etc. It's a little like game show: "Son # 1, you get the distinct honor of holding this year's huckleberry pie(s) on the way to Grandma's house. Come on down!"

5) Avoid being negative while driving among people who don't seem as inclined to be courteous drivers. Nothing ruins a holiday mood more than road rage tendencies. Try to focus on the positive things like, "Hey, so what if we're stuck behind someone who doesn't understand speed limit signs---it's giving us a chance to appreciate the scenery along the way." Or: "I don't mind if our fellow traveler is practically hanging off the back of our trunk. Maybe he\she is tailgating because they want to hear the Carpenter's Christmas Album, too."

6) Do not attempt to use a cellphone while driving. This is not safe, and it's just bad karma. Trust me.

7) Watch out for the wildlife who tend to frolic on the highways this time of year. Now that hunting season is over, all of our woodland friends like to come down and wish everyone a happy holiday season. Unfortunately, some of them get carried away . . . literally . . . on the grills of our vehicles, under tires, etc. Just be careful out there.

8) For entertainment purposes, and to remind everyone of why we put ourselves through this, take turns listing what you're grateful for this year. I know high on my childrens' lists will be items like: Mom's copy of the Carpenter's Christmas Album. ;) My children will be delighted to know that I found where they stashed it last year. =D

9) Enjoy the journey. Appreciate the beauty you see as you travel. Tune out the negative things taking place in your life, and ponder the great blessings you enjoy on a daily basis. Not only will this enhance your mood, but it will help you keep a great perspective.

10) Take a nice nap after you enjoy a bounteous feast. That way you'll be rested for the journey home. As you can see, my offspring enjoy this tradition. Here they are in nap mode at their paternal grandmother's house a few year's ago.

Happy traveling everyone! =)


Jennie said...

Great advice, Cheri!

Anonymous said...

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Michele Ashman Bell said...

Great advice, wish I'd learned a lot of it sooner, rather than the hard way. Loved the pictures. Especially the nap photo. Depiction of true contentment.
Happy Holidays!