Together with family and choosing experiences over material gifts for the holidays, and maybe a little ode to my mom for making it all happen!
Thanks to Mazda for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Hopefully you had a wonderful holiday and were able to spend some time with family and friends. We spent six days in Minnesota (where I grew up) with my family, including all four of my sisters, as we convened from our respective homes along each of the coasts.
We’ve talked for years about reducing the number of gifts we buy each other and instead spending that money on an experience together, but it hadn’t yet come to fruition. Because almost all of the sisters travel in from out of town by plane, we typically don’t have much extra space to carry home holiday gifts. This year, however, we finally took the plunge and agreed to do something different.
Among the sisters and our significant others, we opted to trade books and board games in a white elephant gift exchange. It was really fun to see what everyone picked out, especially for board games. I think my board game, a relic from our childhood, might have been a favorite, but … maybe I’m biased.
My parents knocked it out of the park this year with an adults-only trip to a local winery. My mom coordinated a babysitter, and we headed off in our 2018 Mazda6 Signature rental car for an adventure without the kids!
I had no idea we had wineries in cold weather country. Admittedly I’m not a huge wine drinker. I tried all the whites and let my sisters savor the reds. Those of you who enjoy a good glass of wine can laugh at my naivety, but with my limited exposure to wine, I never appreciated how different wines can be. I know whites are different than reds. But to me, a white is a white and a red is gross. (Ha) I’d never had two glasses of wine or two different types of wine close enough together to appreciate the distinct taste and flavors. Live and learn!
Not only did we get to try up to eight different wines but my parents also ordered enough food to feed an army. We had a bunch of amazing appetizers as well as 8 pizzas split between 13 of us. Thank goodness pizza makes good leftovers, because we brought home two and a half extra pizzas. In fairness, my mom didn’t realize when she ordered the appetizers that they would make each appetizer portion large enough for all of us, so we ended up with loads of extra food.
We also got to bring home a bottle of wine of our choice. We each picked a bottle of wine, grabbed the extra food, and stashed it in the trunk of our Mazda 6 Signature to head back home to see the kids. I had no idea this gem of a winery hid so close to my parents’ house!
Speaking of gems, this Mazda6 was pretty snazzy. We really loved the car, and we weren’t the only ones. My sister grabbed some things from the car at one point and returned saying “fancy car!” Another of my sisters is an avid Mazda fan, so I’m pretty sure when she reads this, she’ll text me to say “I told you so!“
Although my parents bought each of the four grand kids a handful of small gifts for Christmas, they also decided to take everyone bowling as part of the Christmas gift. None of us are bowlers, but there’s something about bowling that always seems to even the playing field. Bowling is fun for everyone, even if we are all pretty mediocre bowlers.
As we packed up our bags to head home after spending five days in the tundra that was once my home town, we still had a few extra things and gifts to squeeze into our luggage. I really appreciated though that my parents made the central gift for all of us an experience we could share together instead of something we would bring home to enjoy on our own.
All of us sisters and significant others only get together once or twice a year, so it’s nice when we set aside some adult time or we can hang out without worrying about watching the kids. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. 🙂