No Home for the Holidays

Happy Holidays!

Selling the nest and becoming GypsyNesters has given our adult chicks the joy of being hosts for the holidays in their homes.

Once again this year we will be making our way to The Big Apple for the holidays. Oh, the anticipation! The joy!

Christmas is the one time we allow ourselves to hands-down spoil our kids — and, boy, do we ever!

As thrifty as we are during the non-Jesus-being-born part of the year, we let loose the coffers when we visit The Spawn during that “most wonderful time of the year.”

It’s not about expensive gifts – instead we enjoy spending foolish amounts of money going out on the town. Generally our time is spent chasing our black-wearing, taxi-flagging, fast-walking, subway-chasing, urbanite offspring, The Piglet and Decibel, around New York City – from ethnic restaurant, to Broadway show, to our favorite piano bar where aging bejeweled starlet-types show off the old vocal chords.

It’s a very civilized, blister-inducing, whale of a good time.

The REAL Santa Claus at Macy's on 34th Street

NYC is freaking magical during the holiday season. They really know how to deck them halls.

We go into full tourist mode and hit all of the famous holiday hot spots, the bigger than expected Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the surprisingly itsy-bitsy skating rink at the bottom of it, the lights along Fifth Avenue, and the Macy’s on 34th Street with the enchanting window displays and most perfect Santa ever.

He’s the real one, we’ve seen proof of it in a movie.

As crazy as NYC can be throughout the Season with a Reason, we do slow down on the big day.

A huge meal is prepared in The Piglet’s teeny studio apartment. The miniature tree sparkles, and the hide-a-bed is festively extended for extra seating.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy, as The Piglet’s landlord likes it stupid hot, so we usually need to crack a window. Christmas tunes are played on an iPod while the fireplace channel crackles on the TV.

This is quite a departure from the Christmases we celebrated when the chicks were still nest-bound, but I have to say, it is MUCH easier on me, stress-wise.

I no longer have to find forgot-where-I-hid-them presents, then hurriedly wrap them while barricaded in a closet with a flashlight in my teeth and covered in packing tape.

There is no racing from Christmas pageant, to holiday recital, to endless Nutcracker rehearsals. Gone is the setting up of the fake tree (real ones always ended up making us sad when they turned brown) and the untangling of the strings of lights.

These days, we pick up gifts from different parts of the world as we travel about — instead of the mad mall rush of days of yore.

The best part of our new “empty” nest Christmas is the excitement on The Spawn‘s faces as they give gifts to one another. The love they share and the happiness they want to give each other is what makes “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, well, the most wonderful time of the year.

I couldn’t care less about presents, just give me that.

Oh, and world peace. And a bell for my bicycle. And… please consider a donation to our favorite charity, Habitat for Humanity, to help those truly homeless.


YOUR turn: How have the holidays changed for you over the years? Have you any new traditions you’d like to share?

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23 thoughts on “No Home for the Holidays”

  1. Since becoming full time RVers in May of this year we are experiencing everything ‘new & different’ and that includes the holidays without family, no big tree or lots of presents. What we do have is lots & lots of wonderful memories of places & people we have seen which are ‘priceless’. Enjoying the ocean & sunshine in FL right now instead of the deep freeze up north puts a smile on our face for the holidays. Life is good!

  2. Love this and love the sparkle and energy of NYC too! Since we are busy downsizing in anticipation of our own early retirement, we are doing a “no gifts” holiday this year. Our son is returning to our empty nest here in Japan for Christmas break from college and he is brining along three of his friends! We are going to show them the beauty and culture of Japan since it is his friends’ first trip here. We’ll treat them all to a ski trip on Christmas Day to guarantee those FL sun-n-sand kiddos have a rare white Christmas. Instead of gifts, we e-mailed our family to ask them to give to a charity of their choice instead. Our charity of choice is a medical school in Hue, Vietnam. We sponsor four medical students with tuition and books for a year of medical school. Believe it or not, that only comes to $250 per student for a full year! We hope to visit them in person next Christmas and cheer them on to their goal of becoming doctors. So far, this has been the best and least stressful holiday season ever. We plan to continue the “no gifts” tradition in the future.

    1. Sounds like you are going to have an amazing holiday! I love your charity of choice – do you have a link to it? Please post it here so others can take a look at it – I’m sure you’ve peaked more than just my interest! -Veronica

      1. Happy to share! The URL is Donors can sponsor a student at the University of Hue’s Medical and Pharmacy Program, or even sponsor a child who needs a particular and sometimes life or death surgery but cannot pay for it. You can see profiles of the children in medical need or of students who need tuition donors and make a choice that way. We typically ask the director to choose for us, based on who is in most dire need and/or who has been waiting the longest. We have been donating to this particular organization for over five years. Highly recommend it! Thanks for your interest and I hope others also look into their website. The people there are very special. They are always looking for volunteers too. We hope to get there soon.

  3. We are still firmly in our nest – although we travel a great deal – but our Xmas had been made much more joyful with the addition of our now eight year old grandson. He makes Xmas so much more fun!!

  4. Flexibility to enjoying the holidays as the nest empties is so important. Our lives change, marriages end, kids marry someone who needs to spend Christmas “at my mamma’s house.” The important thing is not to become mired in what used to be and forge ahead, just as you’ve done. You’re new traditions sound like so much fun. Alan and I are starting some new ones ourselves. This weekend we’ll be attending our first ever Montana Country Christmas in Stevensville. Think of us. It’s going to be below zero!

  5. First off, we’re lapsed Jews (no, it’s not only Catholics who can lapse). Growing up, all our Christian (and other) friends would show up on Christmas Eve at our (my parents’) house to decorate our branch (basically a 3 pronged stick my parents found when they first moved to Philly that lived in our living room year round). My father was an art teacher, so only homemade decorations were allowed. He finally relented and eventually allowed us to add some tinsel. My parents continued to host Christmas Eve for everybody until it got to be too much for them. At that point, my husband and I (by then, empty nesters) took over. We have one wandering child travel blogger who made it home for Thanksgiving, so we are not expecting him for Christmas. Our other son married a lapsed Catholic and bought a house in our home town, so we were hoping they would host Christmas Eve this year (even if it meant my husband would have to dose up on antihistamine because they now have a cat to which he is allergic). However, they have a party to go to near our empty nest apartment, so it looks like we’ll be gathering at our house again. Soon after, we will be setting out on a month-long trip to SE Asia followed by a 3 month sabbatical in Hawaii, so we’re really wanting to celebrate with as much as the clan as we can muster in Philadelphia. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  6. Our middle child moved to Boston in September and the oldest to Denver (from the SE) in October so we are spending our first Christmas away from home in 25 years. We are grabbing the youngest, a college sophomore, and driving to Colorado while the Boston girl will fly there. We are staying in a hotel for a few nights and rented a mountain cabin for Christmas and Christmas eve. And immediately the Christmas stress and craziness has disappeared! I told them that I would take them shopping while in Denver, we will splurge for one big dinner out and a little sightseeing too. Christmas stockings will come with us and some dvd’s for the cabin. So calm. We’ll see if it really plays out that way!

  7. I just stumbled across your blog and have been clicking around on it for an hour. Love what I see! I’m pretty picky about the blogs I read. It looks like I’ve found a keeper and am eager to see future posts.

  8. Christmas is one time I would miss not having a place to call my own. I do love covering the tree with ornaments from my childhood as well as ones from places we’ve traveled over the years. However, with the kids grown I’ve got a hankering to travel (and I don’t mean “over the river and through the woods”) during the season — different cities and different countries. But I’d probably do it before or after the day itself. I’d rather take a family trip than spend a penny on presents.

  9. You guys crack me up! So entertaining. I always feel like I need a nap or should have put on sun screen whenever I finish one of your posts.

    Thanks for the always enchanting reports of your travels and visits with your ‘black-wearing, taxi-flagging, fast-walking, subway-chasing, female urbanite offspring’.


  10. We currently still have our home, and 2 almost grown kids here, but we are looking forward to the day when the youngest is gone to college and the market has rebounded enough to get rid of the ball and chain, I mean house!
    Something my aunt and uncle did with their 5 kids when they were between houses, and they have kids all over the east coast, was to rent a mountain cabin somewhat centralized to all of them and congregate there. Worked well except no Christmas tree!
    I am not sure what we will do when the time comes! Your idea sounds pretty cool!

  11. This looks like a great blog! My kids have been raised for over ten years, so I have been living life to the fullest! Some times that means traveling, sometimes kicking up my heels at the dance, or sometimes making a great meal, then listening to some fabulous music in the background while I get lost in a great book. … No empty nest syndrome here! I stay involved with the kids and babysit the grands (on MY schedule); I am close enough to help them when needed but give them their space to live their own lives and live my own life, pretty much enjoy life every day, whatever that day brings. If you're not enjoying life, what are you waiting for??? Learn a new language, go rock the babies at the hospital, teach someone how to read, learn a new style of cooking, paint a picture, there's so much to do out there! ENJOY YOURSELF!

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