Being a West Michigan hometown gal who always liked being home for the holidays, I never thought I would say those words in my title line. You see I am rather nostalgic when it comes to the holidays. I love being close to the family and all the Christmas traditions that we have enjoyed together over the years. I like the Christmas decorations and parties. And yes, I like waking up on Christmas morning, jumping out of my bed to hopefully see a fresh white blanket of snow covering our yard and home. Just like it was for many of you (who live in West Michigan) this past Christmas morn.
This year was very different for me though. Due to inevitable colliding spring break schedules (our usual family vacation time) we decided to take our family vacation a bit earlier. We made the decision to head to Southern California for our Christmas break. I wasn't altogether sure I would like the idea of not being home for the holidays, but then again, the sunny weather sure sounded good.
Only a few days before Christmas, off we went, my husband, myself, our 2 kids and 2 of their friends. We left a balmy 30° temperature in Chicago in exchange for sunny 60° temperatures in Laguna Hills. Along with that there was the green grass, flowing palm trees, sandy beaches, rolling foamy waves and the endless blue skies. So much for the Christmas nostalgia thing. I'm there!!!
I do have to admit it was rather weird seeing blow up Santa's and Snowmen, glittering plastic snowflakes, and even the colorful Christmas lights against a backdrop of ocean, palm trees and surfer dudes!
No matter. "Christmas" and all of it's specialness was safe in my heart. The real reason behind our families celebration of Christmas has little to do with snow, lights and Christmas garb. It's about the birth of our Lord and Savior. I am thankful to know that, and to have received this precious gift in my heart many years ago. I am also thankful that my children have received this gift of salvation. What a comfort and joy. There is nothing greater in life.
Our time in Southern California made me feel very relaxed and blessed. Getting away from the busyness of life was awesome. I recommend it to anyone. California was great but where ever it is that you can go to "get away from it all" and be refreshed is all that's needed. It may be only a short drive away from home for you or maybe it takes several more miles for you like it does for me to really get away from it all. It doesn't have to be any place expensive or exotic. Just a place where you can set aside business for a number of days in exchange for rest and fun with the family without the interruptions that you have at home or work.
What I know from these precious times is that it causes me to be more appreciative of all of the blessings that are in my life from my family, my work, my friends, my home, my health, and my relationship with my heavenly father.
For the record,California is amazing. You can literally be snow skiing in the morning and relaxing on an ocean beach by evening. There are thousands of miles of hiking and mountain bike trails, and as many miles of awesome public beaches with breathtaking sunsets. There are the ever popular amusement parks, animal parks, and shopping malls and yet not far away are the quiet lush mountainous areas or dry dessert lands. It is an absolutely gorgeous state. I am thankful that we were given the opportunity to enjoy such a trip.
So... back to the old saying "there's no place like home for the holidays." Yes, it's true I suppose. I do love my home in West Michigan. But I sure wouldn't mind calling Southern California my 2nd home away from home for the holidays.
I hope you have an opportunity to visit there. I am sure you won't be disappointed. Did my kids like it? We will let the picture answer that question....
Please visit me on my website sometime @ www.sueprins.com