MEMORIES > gifts 7.0 (Universal Studios)

Back in 2015, Matthew had an idea. Instead of FILLING UP OUR HOUSE EVEN MORE WITH ITEMS NONE OF US TRULY NEEDED ‘buying gifts,’ we should take a TRIP and create family MEMORIES instead!

Since we’ve never taught the kids to believe in Santa, we were able to simply explain this idea to them. Although they were only 9, 7 and 2 years old, they all, surprisingly, were on board!

Over the years, we’ve done a wide-variety of trips. Some have been short and sweet (and cheap). While some years, we’ve spent a little extra money and time. Drive or fly, land or sea, they have ALL combined to equal our FAVORITE-FAMILY-TRADITION!

Wanna’ know what inspired THIS year’s trip?!?

Discovering the people, food and culture of an exotic location?
Checking another National Park off our list?
Wild pigs swimming in turquoise water?


Matthew got a call from Hilton wanting us to sit through a timeshare presentation in exchange for 4-nights in Orlando at one of their nice resorts. Sooo, that made this year’s decision pretty easy!

The kids & Matthew loved Universal’s Islands of Adventure!

Personally, my favorite part was Ruthie and I SNEAKING INTO ‘allowing ourselves unapproved access’ into a national championship DOG SHOW!

Across the street from our hotel, were HUNDREDS (if not in the THOUSANDS) of the best dogs in the United States! Although the preliminary competitions were not open to the public, if you know me and Ruthie, you already KNOW what happened when we drove by and saw dogs leaving and entering a side-door for potty breaks.

Without thinking through it, we got Matthew to just let us out of the car. We ran; but, quickly decided we’d better act cool and just act like we knew what we were doing.

My family and I love to reminise with photo books and videos. So, I try to put together our favorite memories from each Christmas trip. Plus, focusing on the highlights helps you remember the BEST parts (perhaps, forgetting the fact that Ruthie had to sleep on the hotel floor using couch cushions as her bed)!

Here’s our latest video from Orlando:

If you think you’d like to try a TRIPS over GIFTS too, my best advice is:

* Make sure everyone’s on board… especially the kids!

* Stick to the plan (to avoid bankrupt and confusion) by actually NOT buying gifts. If you can’t fathom the idea, just STOCKINGS (with cheaper items) are a great option.

* Lastly, unless you all delight in buying things, consider cutting-back or giving experiences to other’s as well!

Here’s our other years!
2015: Pagosa Springs, CO (video: HERE)
2016: Cruise
2017: New Mexico
2018: Cruise
2019: Cruise
2020: Surprise Arkansas Visit + Short Time in Colorado (aka: SO.MUCH.TIME in the car!)
2021: Orlando, FL

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