Christmas at Home or Abroad, What’s Your Take?

Yes, I know it’s only October but did you realise there are just 10 weeks until C-day. That is Christmas Day! It got me thinking about whether it is better to spend Christmas at home or abroad. We went away for Christmas last year but I wondered whether other families go away. Is it a regular occurrence or do they prefer to stay at home?

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Last December we flew to Tenerife for Christmas with BattleKid. We had wanted another holiday before the year was out and thought it might be nice to get away for Christmas and escape the cold, wet winter of Wales and spend it in the sun. We also thought it might be the last time we could get away with it before BattleKid started realising just who Father Christmas is and whether he could still find us if we were away from home on Christmas Eve. However, although we enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to not have to worry about cooking a big meal or cleaning up afterwards, I didn’t feel quite right about it.

We had our own Christmas on New Year’s Day when we got back, with Father Christmas making one last special delivery on New Year’s Eve to deliver BattleKid’s main presents, and I cooked Christmas dinner the next day, trimmings and all. It was lovely but it just didn’t sit right with me, if you know what I mean.

This year everything is different. We will be spending Christmas here in Portugal with my parents and my nephew who is flying over on the 21st for 10 days. It will be warmer than the UK or Ireland and between my Dad and I, we’ll figure Christmas dinner out. BattleDad’s aunt at least knows a butcher who can sort us out with a turkey. Our huge 7-foot Christmas tree is in storage so we might have to buy ourselves a slightly smaller one, but I’ve mountains of decorations I can fish out. And Father Christmas has already had BattleKid’s present list.

And while we will be sort of spending Christmas in the sun, Portugal is now home and we will be with family. But I still wondered what other families prefer so I asked the blogging community what their take is on Christmas at home or abroad. Have they gone away, do they plan to go away, would they if they could? Or do they prefer to spend it at home? Here’s what they had to say.

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Pete from Household Money Saving and his family usually spend Christmas at home. This means

We can do everything at our own pace. We once spent Christmas at our in-laws but didn’t really enjoy it. I constantly offered to help but always felt like I was in the way.

Being in his in-laws house meant their kids couldn’t get all their toys out for fear of making too much mess and Pete never felt like he could do what he wanted as it wasn’t his house. For him, he would choose Christmas at home every time.

Laura from Mumoam much prefers Christmas at home too. They have tried going to other peoples but

With a child in a wheelchair it is really stressful and awkward.

She much prefers hosting at her home as she also gets to choose what they eat.

Alina from We Made This Life never goes away for Christmas, not even to the in-laws. Her parents split when she was younger and she had to visit her Dad every Christmas Day (despite only seeing him that one day a year), and she hated having to go and leave all her new toys at home. For that reason, she will never go away for Christmas. In her words

I just need to be at home.

Alana from Baby Holiday says growing up she always had Christmas dinner at her gran’s house, having visited her other gran in the morning before dinner. So she wasn’t exactly away but still wasn’t at home for most of the day. Last year they took their boys to her gran’s house, her in-laws and her brother house and she felt it was far too much for one day. This year they will most likely stay at home

Although I’d love to go away somewhere and escape!

Kerry from Kerry Louise Norris is spending this Christmas in Australia with her family who emigrated there. She hasn’t spent Christmas away before although she is not worried about it as they’ll be  with family, so it should be special.

I know the food we will eat etc will be different to what we’re used to. We’ll just have to make it as magical as possible for the girls.

Jess from Mrs. Helicopter Writes once had Christmas in Athens aged 19 with her then boyfriend.

It was bonkers and brilliant. They get up late and stay up late…. I was still awake at 6am on Christmas morning so I opened my stocking (my mum had still packed for me) then slept until 2pm.

They then did family visits, tree presents and eventually more family arrived, everyone eating Christmas dinner at midnight! She loved every minute of it and would love to give her kids a foreign Christmas experience. She also once spent Christmas in Oz but said it was rubbish as it was cloudy and grey, so no Barbie on the beach.

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Laura from The Mamma Fairy and her family rotate Christmas between her husband’s home place and their current home in her home town. Even though they have their own place at her husband’s home place, she still misses being at home.

I doubt we would ever go away for Christmas as we both love spending it with our families more since the kids came along.

Christy from Welsh Mum has a very small family so wouldn’t mind a Christmas holiday.

Not having any cooking or cleaning to do has a big appeal!

That said, she does love the familiarity and comfort of home as well, but if she is at home she spends a lot of the day cooking and cleaning up which isn’t the most relaxing. It comes down to cost most of the time. She would do Christmas away more often if it didn’t have the premium price tags associated with it. (I completely understand that.)

Michelle from The Purple Pumpkin Blog spent Christmas 2015 in Disneyland Paris and said it was so much fun, although weird to wake up on Christmas morning without all the decorations and opening of presents. That said they did get to spend Christmas Day with Mickey Mouse! Her sister and family also went and they all agreed it was a great Christmas. This year they are off to Walt Disney World as her son is older. She loves not having to worry about cooking a huge turkey and having tons of leftovers.

Alex of Better Together Home and her family are pretty much forced to split Christmas at either her mother-in-laws or her Dads. They started doing alternate venues years ago and it’s stuck. They have decided that they will be spending Christmas 2018 in Sweden, just the three of us as she is tired of always doing Christmas to suit everyone else!

Azaria from Being Mrs Lynch spent last Christmas and New Year in a cottage and she would do it every year if they could afford it. They had company in the form of her husband’s parents, brother and wife, along with their two-year-old and dogs, and says it was amazing to spend time together. They live 500 miles apart so don’t see them very often.

Jade of Mummies Waiting has spent Christmas at Walt Disney World and said it was awesome. Last year was their first Christmas in their own house and says

From now on we’ll go away before Christmas and stay at home on Christmas Day, it’s so much nicer.

Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes has had many different Christmases in various locations around the world including Australia (at 11, weird and not Christmas but fun), South Africa (at 18, fun but still not the same) as well as the Middle East and Bali. This year they are joining her mu in Jordan, where her brother and his wife will join them for New Year.

We’ve had so many different Christmases now I don’t know what is normal now. We are trying to create little traditions that we can have no matter where we are or who we are with. For me, Christmas has become more about the people than the place.

Hayley from I am River spent last Christmas in Dubai and it was amazing. This year they are off to Thailand!

Nellie from Nellie Pompoms had a Christmas in Australia with their eldest 2 and says it was bonkers seeing Father Christmas in the heat. They spent Christmas Eve in a hot tub before spending Christmas Day with family and their air con!

After lunch we went to the beach, then had drinks on the veranda, watching the kangaroos. It made a nice change to be away and the girls had a different experience.

Emma from The Money Whisperer always went away at Christmas as a child as her Dad owned his own business and it shut for Christmas. They went to Disney World twice and the Canaries a few times. As an adult she lived in Australia for 6 years so Christmas on the beach was a novelty but she missed ‘proper’ Christmas.

Now I have kids, I personally love being at home where the magic is for Christmas time. They are only young once.

Helena from The Queen of Collage has spent Christmas in America before but says

Being at home for Christmas is where my heart is.

Emma from Me and B Make Tea says they alternate between her husbands parents and her own. Christmas day they are at one, and the other on Boxing Day, alternatinf every year. It was fine when it was just the two of them but she says it’s a right pain now with their son.

It’s never relaxing, there’s so much pressure to please everyone.

She is sick of it and would much prefer to stay at home or jet off on holiday and stuff everyone else!

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Ally from the SML Diet Blog usually hosts Christmas and her husband’s family go to theirs. While it is hard work, she enjoys being the hostess with lots of people around. Last year they spent Christmas with her sister-in-law and this year they are going to her husbands parents. While she is excited it won’t be the same.

For me, I have rituals around Christmas. So, 23 Dec is about cleaning the house ready for Christmas. Christmas Eve is about relaxing and not moving from the sofa (movie day) and then there’s the Christmas Day celebrations and it’s not quite the same without my rituals.

Star from Autism Kids on Tour spends every year at a log cabin at Forest Holdiays. The cabin is decked out with a real tree, natural decoration making kits and a Christmas hamper. There’s a hot tub, heated floors and full kitchen where she can cook the Christmas dinner with the ingredients and turkey she gets delivered to the cabin from a local farm.

It is so relaxing and we love our Christmas in the forest!

And solves the problem of who to visit at Christmas.

Carol from Family Makes went skiing over Christmas a few years ago and they are planning on doing it again this year. It guarantees a white Christmas and solves their issue of where to go for Christmas family-wise.

We would struggle to afford Christmas and a ski holiday, especially being tied to school holidays, so combining both is ideal for us and a huge treat for our kids too.

Donna of The Sleep Thiefs Mummy used to spend every Christmas alternating between her parents and the in-laws. Now they stay at home and have them visit them.

We’re the only ones in the family with young children – I spent the Christmases of my youth at home and want the same for my children.

Lynette of The Reclusive Fox used to visit her granddad as a child and it never felt like an upheaval. As an adult she always spent it at home, ideally with just the people that lived under the same roof, saving visits for other days.

I would love to spend Christmas in a hotel with our little family, but I do think some of the magic would be removed, there’s no place like home. But it would be nice to remove some of that Christmas stress that comes with expectation.

It’s amazing to see the different views on whether to spent Christmas at home or abroad. Some people go away to spend time with family, while others do it for less stress and hassle. But it’s also interesting to see so many people preferring to spend Christmas at home with family.

christmas at home or abroad?

Portugal is now home and for the first time in a long time we actually have family close by to spend it with. Before, we would have to go back to Ireland or invite people over to spend Christmas with family, but now it’s different. It will be strange to be in warmer temperatures than Ireland or the UK and I do hope we have sunshine. We rarely ever got a white Christmas in Wales, but I guess if we ever want one we can go abroad for Christmas when BattleKid is older. This year he will be almost four and I think it’s going to be a magical Christmas either way!

Are you spending Christmas at home or away this year?

Cath x

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18 thoughts on “Christmas at Home or Abroad, What’s Your Take?

  1. Being a midwife means I usually have to work Christmas day or the day before or after so we’ll never be away from Christmas. We do alternate between my parents and his parents each year. Now I have 2 children I’ll have to start hosting Christmas dinner myself at some stage! I do remember going to Gran Canaries with my parents and brother as a child for Christmas once, we all had a great time!

  2. As a kid, I don’t think I would have ever want to travel at Christmas. As an adult? Well, I live in a foreign country, so I guess I am away “from home”. It certainly isn’t the same. That said, lot to be said for getting away from in-laws, millions of presents and just having fun!

  3. One year, when I was heavily pregnant with my first baby, we had a lie in and a lazy morning, then went to our friends house where instead of roast dinner we had a big take away curry. It was AMAZING! A really memorable Christmas! We live in France now so almost always go back to the UK for Christmas to be with family. We have done it once here and the grandparents came – that was really special. Kate http://www.fivelittlestars.com

  4. Interesting to read what everyone has to say here – I’ve spent Christmas abroad a few times and it does feel quite surreal so I would probably be in the home camp too given the choice but never say never! x

  5. It’s definitely different for everyone, for my family we always spend it together at home but this year I was thinking of going abroad somewhere though I am not sure where.

    1. I say try Christmas away once, and if it’s not for you, at least you’ve tried it. For me, I want to be home. However, I wouldn’t recommend our hotel in Tenerife!

  6. We always spend Christmas at home, we used to eat out and that always felt a bit wrong so now we stay home and I love it. I don’t think I could ever go away on holiday for Christmas day. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas in Portugal with your family and create lots of new traditions and memories x

    1. Thanks so much hun. It’s going to feel a bit strange first time around I think but it’s part of the adventure of moving to a new country. Have a great festive season yourself!

  7. We’ve done both. I’ve spent half my life in a different country from the rest of my family, so often Christmas abroad means going ‘home’. But we’ve also gone somewhere completely different, to avoid the whole debate of whose family to spend Christmas with.

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