Why I Will Be Staying Home For Christmas

Family Christmas picture, My Time as Mom family Christmas picture

Growing up with divorced parents, Christmas was always split. One year my sister and I woud spend Christmas Eve and half of Christmas day with one parent and the rest of Christmas day with the other parent. The next year we would switch.

Because of this, it was difficult to maintain any family traditions.

After I moved out on my own and had my first child, Christmas became a hectic holiday. We would travel to many different houses to spend an hour or two with friends and family so that everyone could see my daughter for Christmas. After my second daughter was born, more people were added to the list that we needed to visit.

Honestly, Christmas burned me out after a few years of visiting so many people in such a short period of time. Christmas had lost its sense of family and magic for me. Instead, it had become a mad dash to see people and get presents for the girls.

Last year, we ended the tradition of house hopping on Christmas. We bought a tree, decorated our house for Christmas and resolved to stay home for the holiday.

Anyone who wanted to make the trek to Reno was welcome to stay with us for Christmas as our house had plenty of room.

Christmas day we had no rushed plans, no need to get dressed right away or to follow a tight schedule.

We woke in our own beds to the excitement of our children who wanted to see what Santa had left for them at their own house.

It was perfect.

I felt excited about Christmas again.

This year we will do the same.

We are now building our own traditions for our family and memories for our children.


Over at One Martini at a Time we are sharing a Chocolate Mint Martini recipe that will be perfect to make for this holiday season.

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Hi and welcome! My name is Jessica Torres and I'm a homeschooling mom of two adorably insane girls on the path to greener living. I'm also self declared iPhone addict and lover of all things Apple. When not attached to my kids, my iPhone, or my laptop, you can find me creating cocktail recipes. Subscribe by RSS Feed or by email to join in the fun over here.

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85 Responses to Why I Will Be Staying Home For Christmas

  1. Elena
    Twitter: elenawollborg

    I love that you’re building your own traditions. We’re pretty laid back with the holidays and I guess lucky that everyone is within 30 minutes. Well, maybe not so lucky that everyone is within 30 minutes. ;)

    I love sleeping at our house on Christmas Eve night – it is fun to see your kids opening gifts in their own house, in their pj’s.
    Elena recently posted..Planning Your Holiday Feast

    • Jessica Torres says:

      We used to have to stay the night in Sac on Christmas Eve so we never got to enjoy Christmas morning with the kids waking up excited at our own house. Last year it was so nice.

  2. Emmy
    Twitter: Emmymom2

    Totally agree! To me Thanksgiving is the holiday to get together with lots of family. But Christmas totally happy being home, not having to rush and letting my kids play with their presents.

  3. Kimberly
    Twitter: KimberlyAMuro

    Kurt and I have agreed that Christmas will be spent at our house rather than rushing from house to house. I like it so much better that way. We do end up cooking dinner for everyone who comes over, but I’d rather do that than run around.

    I’m glad you can spend the holiday at home. Making your own memories and traditions is so worth it.
    Kimberly recently posted..It Still Hurts

    • Jessica Torres says:

      We are having a bunch of family come up to stay for the weekend so we will (or actually John) will be doing a lot of cooking but at least we will be at home.

  4. We are doing the same thing. We’re making our own traditions and avoiding all the craziness of having to juggle multiple families (his, not mine, haha). We’re very much looking forward to just soaking in our 1st Christmas as a family of 3.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..What I Wore Wednesday

  5. Alison@Mama Wants This
    Twitter: MamaWantsThis

    I think that sounds like the perfect Christmas.

    Happy Holidays!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Perth, 2009

  6. Galit Breen
    Twitter: galitbreen

    I love this so very much, Jessica. And really and truly see things the exact same way.

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

    Galit Breen recently posted..Interfaith Hearts

  7. Kelly Parsons says:

    I totally agree. My entire family lives in California and I get tired of traveling for every holiday. So I decided to stay home with my sister this year. This will be a very relaxing Christmas :)

    • Jessica Torres says:

      All of our family is in California too so I know what it’s like to always have to travel. I hope you and your sister have a nice holiday Kelly.

  8. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    Twitter: grumpygrateful

    We always stay home for Christmas now too. I would love to have some family closer, but it’s always a wonderful day and I LOVE not having to rush everywhere.
    Grumpy Grateful Mom recently posted..Saltine Christmas Cracker Toffee

  9. Bruna
    Twitter: beeswithhoney

    This is what, I’m sure, my 13 year-old feels as she switches going to her Dad’s and staying with me from year to year. I know she hates it. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to like it either later in life when she has her own family.

    I don’t blame her or you.
    Sweet pics of your fam :)
    Bruna recently posted..holiday outfits

    • Jessica Torres says:

      It was tough as a kid to switch back and forth but sometimes it’s how it goes. Your daughter will figure it out as time goes on and she will make her own choices when she has her own family.

  10. casey says:

    I agree. last year was the first year we stayed home also. No opening presents. then making the kids put them away and get ready to go.. we stayed in our jammies all day and really enjoyed our own little family.. This year we are doing the same :) I love it!

  11. John
    Twitter: daddyrunsalot

    My parents divorced my senior year of college, so the “what to do at Christmas” has always just worked itself out for me – my dad never quite made enough effort to draw me back to NJ for Christmas, itself (he does now, now that there are grandkids in the equation, but by now, we already have our traditions established)

    I still do a fair amount of hopping around, though . . . Christmas eve church services, then my mom’s, so that she can have the grandkids first thing Christmas morning, then back to our place for Christmas brunch, then my wife’s family for Christmas dinner . . . but, considering that comes out to no more than 2 hours in the car, for all of it, it’s not all that bad.

    Merry Christmas, Jess – enjoy your family :-)
    John recently posted..Where I am recruited

    • Jessica Torres says:

      2 hours for all of that isn’t bad at all. We had to drive 2 hours to get to where family lived, then drive around town for 2-3 days making stops everywhere, then another 2 hours to get back home. Plus if there was any snow on the way back home our trip would be even longer. I think we all do what works best for our family.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

  12. Jessica says:

    I love that you are building your own traditions. We are also staying home for the holidays, mainly because it’s easier to do so and because it’s nice to enjoy the familiarity of our home life.
    Jessica recently posted..Writer’s Workshop: You know you’re a mother when…

  13. Jess, this sounds exactly like my own story…having divorced parents and dividing time. Now, we stay home for Christmas and do some traveling the days after Christmas. It is so much more fun for all of us!!!
    Have a wonderful Christmas :)
    P.S. I love those pictures! Your family is beautiful!
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..My Dream House…

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Thank you Jen. Traveling after Christmas is a good idea because you get to enjoy Christmas and then you get to enjoy family.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you have a great holiday.

  14. Kimberly says:

    Good for you!
    I wish that I could put my foot down and do the same.
    Christmas is so busy. We spend most of it in the car. Boo.
    Kimberly recently posted..I May Be Falling Apart, But At Least I’m Beautiful Doing It.

    • Jessica Torres says:

      That’s how we were after moving to Reno. It sucked being in the car for so much of the holiday.

      I hope one year you can stay home.

  15. Kir
    Twitter: thekircorner

    I love this…because while my parents were not divorced and we did stay home (Until we went to my uncle’s around the corner every Christmas day) once I got married knew that we might have to split Christmas Day (sometimes in PA and sometimes in NJ) …I’m so glad that this Christmas I get to see my kids open their gifts, stay in their PJs if they want to and have guests over at 2pm ….I’m so looking forward to not running to NJ for Christmas this year.

    I love that pic of your gorgeous family….LOVE LOVE LOVE it…MERRY CHRISTMAS Jess. xo
    Kir recently posted..Proud Mommy Moments: JDaniel4′s Mom is Resting at the Corner

  16. Shell says:

    Once we had kids, that was it for traveling for us, too. It’s just too hard to have to lug all their stuff AND presents on a trip.
    Shell recently posted..iCaughtSanta.com Giveaway: 5 Winners Today!

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Coming home was always such a pain because we would have so much stuff in our truck and there was always a chance of snow so we had to wrap everything in garbage bags before driving. Staying home is so much easier.

  17. This is fabulous. And I am a little envious of the relaxed nature of your new routine.

    We spend the 23rd/24th with my family at my sister’s house, then Bill’s family comes on the 25th and stays; so we are either sleeping in other people’s houses or hosting other people in ours back-to-back.

    It’s chaotic and busy but it works for us. So glad you have found what works for you.

    And the best news to me??? This is the FIRST time your post has appeared in my INBOX. Ever. I’ve been subscribed forever, but never got notifications in my email. Hooray!
    XO And Merry Christmas to you all!
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me Dancer

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’m so happy that you got this post in your inbox. I have no idea why it wasn’t working but thank you for letting me know.

      I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday spending it just the way that is perfect for you.

  18. Elaine
    Twitter: elainea

    I LOVE this.

    This is a hard one for me and Tim right now. We chose to travel this year after NOT for the last two years but my parents (who are still married) are getting older and I know they want us all to be together. It is hard though because, like you, we want to wake up in our own beds and have our own traditions. We’ll do some of it at my parents though, like make waffles on Cmas morn., etc.

    Anyway, I know you’ll have a wonderful Christmas in your own home! xo
    Elaine recently posted..It Really IS a Hellava Town!

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’m sure we won’t be able to spend every Christmas at home but for now, while the kids are still young we are going to take advantage of it.

  19. Theresa
    Twitter: amountainmomma

    I can relate to that. My parents split when i was a kid and Christmas was always horrible. I wish our dad had come to our house to visit us rather than us going there. My parents are far away from us now, so we only have to face this while visiting during the summer. Which is a huge headache. Good for you, have a great Christmas!
    Theresa recently posted..James Lipton is my hero…

  20. Devan @ Accustomed Chaos
    Twitter: AccustomedChaos

    sounds similar to our story. I stopped the mad-dash on christmas too – now we have one side of the family on christmas eve… we stay put and do our own thing on christmas day and then see the other side of the family on the day after (our ‘boxing day’ in Canada). it is SO much easier to manage and our kids don’t get crazy over stimulated.
    Devan @ Accustomed Chaos recently posted..Phrases Out of My Kids Mouths That Drive Me CRAZY

    • Jessica Torres says:

      That’s a great idea Devan.

      We are having family come up this year and stay for a couple days. It will be a full house but at least we will be home.

  21. The first 7 years we were married we house hopped too. But after we moved to Southern Ca. (8years ago) and bought our own home I said we would travel for Thanksgiving, but Christmas would be at our home.

    Like you I wanted my children to have memories here, I wanted to start our own family traditions. The first year it was lonely, I am used to a million people and noise and chaos. The next year we started volunteering at a soup kitchen to feed the needy Christmas dinner. It was fantastic and the kids still love it.

    I love your picture, you all look so happy. Merry Christmas!!!!!
    Marie@feedingfive recently posted..If you knew me……..

    • Jessica Torres says:

      What a great idea to volunteer. That should really help teach the kids about Christmas spirit. We always travel for Thanksgiving too but Christmas is a time to be at home.

  22. Natalie
    Twitter: corp2domestic

    I couldn’t agree with you more! We were always traveling on Christmas day…and after Nolan was born…I said no more! We will be at house lounging around enjoying the day.
    Natalie recently posted..He’s Bringing Sexy Back!

  23. Ali
    Twitter: suitcasetricks

    I don’t blame you one bit. We’re house hoppers. Both families are local. My parents only divorced last year and my mom moved away. Now we feel responsible for my dad and the whole thing is just really stressful. Merry Christmas.
    Ali recently posted..Sucking It Up for Santa

    • Jessica Torres says:

      It is stressful with divorced parents. I hope the stress goes away for you and you can enjoy some of the holiday.

  24. Eve
    Twitter: EverythingEvie

    Great that you’re making your own traditions. That’s awesome. I’m away from my family this year, so we’ll be at home as well. Hooray for Christmas in pjs!
    Eve recently posted..My Son’s Christmas Rejection

  25. Good for you! I think that’s great.
    Nicole at the Boy House recently posted..Santa’s coming! Santa! I know him!

  26. By Word of Mouth Musings
    Twitter: ByWordsMusings

    Can only imagine the excitement building over there !!!
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently posted..The Christmas Story Wiki style

  27. jacqui
    Twitter: chicktuition

    I think making your own holiday memories and traditions for your children is the perfect thing to do. My family members who live close get together on Christmas Eve to eat and open presents…but then we all go to our own homes to wait for Santa. I love your photos!
    jacqui recently posted..She Did What??

    • Jessica Torres says:

      That’s nice everyone who is close enough gets together on Christmas Eve. I think that’s a perfect time for a family dinner.

  28. I guess that’s the benefit of living so far away from family. No running around during the holidays!! Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!
    Cam – Bibs & Baubles recently posted..Finding Me…And You

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Our family is about 2 hours away so we would always travel to see them. It wasn’t very fun to drive so much for Christmas.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  29. Tonya says:

    Good for you! I think this will be the last year that we travel… it’s just TOO DAMN HARD! Too much stuff to pack, living out of a suitcase for a week and bouncing between my in-laws and my sister-in-laws with a two year old is no fun. I commend you for making the choice to stay home and hope you enjoy every second.
    Tonya recently posted..Dear Santa

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I know all about the difficulties of traveling with kids for Christmas. Good luck Tonya. Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope Lucas has a wonderful time with his presents.

  30. Miss Marina Star
    Twitter: MissMarinaStar

    That’s exactly what we do as well. Especially since family is so far away. Everyone is welcome to visit, but we always stay put. I remember my Christmas mornings at home as a child and want my children to have the same memories. I think this will be a wonderful new tradition for your family!
    Miss Marina Star recently posted..Making Christmas

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Most of our family is about 2 hours away so we told them they are more than welcome to come up and stay but we aren’t traveling. Most of them decided to make the trek to visit us.

      Merry Christmas to your and your family.

  31. Sweaty
    Twitter: dosweatthesmall

    I could totally relate to this post! I agree with you, while Christmas is a great time to spend with family and friends, once it becomes a chore, it really suck the joy and meaning out of Christmas. I’m glad you choose to focus on your family and starting your own traditions. Those are the ones that your children would carry with them when they become adults and have families of their own :)
    Sweaty recently posted..Plan Z

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Christmas is no fun for any of us once the joy disappears. I hope our children will have good memories of us staying at home.

  32. Kimberley
    Twitter: coffeewithkim

    It’s going to be my daughter’s first Christmas this year and a lot of people want to see her. But my husband and I decided to just stay home and let people visit us instead since we don’t want to put our daughter (and ourselves) in so much hassle.

    Great post!
    Kimberley recently posted..Kelly at 7 months!

    • Jessica Torres says:

      That is a great idea, especially since it’s your daughter’s first Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  33. Anna
    Twitter: randomhandprint

    we are the same with most holidays. with young kids, i feel like going places turns what could be a peaceful, restful family holiday into another “to do.”

    my husband has a huge commute to work (1.5 hrs each way) so my rule on holidays is we’re not making the guy drive on his day off, but we would love to have anyone over, which lots of times the family does come here, and if not, that’s fine too. we have more than enough going on with just our kids!
    Anna recently posted..Last-Minute Holiday Shopping at the 72nd Street Duane Reade

  34. Barbara
    Twitter: babspinfrance

    I love that you are building your own memories and traditions with your girls. That is the best reason for staying home!
    Barbara recently posted..July – September: A summer to remember

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Thank you Barbara. I think so too.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. I can’t wait to see some pictures of Noah on his first Christmas.

  35. We do the same thing! We stay home, our family comes over and we stay in our PJs all day and play games and watch movies. Love it! Happy Holidays!

  36. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger
    Twitter: FarewellStrangr

    That’s awesome. I think it’s a perfect plan.
    Robin @ Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Once Upon a Christmas

  37. Leighann says:

    We have started this with our family too and next year we won’t be traveling Christmas eve either!!
    Leighann recently posted..Happy Holidays

  38. Mayor Gia
    Twitter: mayorgia

    Aww that’s great. We’re the same way now – we have some visitors, but they leave early and we have a relaxing day.

    Merry Christmas!
    Mayor Gia recently posted..Christmas Allie

  39. Stasha
    Twitter: NorthWestMommy

    I am so happy you found your Christmas grove and started building the traditions you want. We are much the same in my house too.
    Stasha recently posted..Merry you

  40. Jessica
    Twitter: Spitupchronicle

    My husband always has to work Christmas Day, so our family typically comes to us. Its so nice to sit at home in our PJ’s all day and spend time together. I couldnt imagine having to trek all over this ridiculous state.
    Jessica recently posted..To You Fabulous People…

  41. We did the same thing! Yesterday was wonderful. My mom came over at lunch time and we enjoyed our time with her. It was great to be at our house and follow our own traditions!
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Muffin Tin Monday- Layered Christmas Tree

  42. Mirjam
    Twitter: applesndroses

    For pretty much the same reasons as you, last year I decided to stay home for Christmas and we had the best Christmas ever. This year we did it again, we had a great time and I enjoyed being with my family. I am glad you had a great time and enjoyed Christmas again.
    Mirjam recently posted..Sunday gatherings

  43. Jess
    Twitter: jessesco

    I love the family picture! And I hadn’t seen the new header since I read in Reader, but I love it!
    Jess recently posted..Miracles Happen.

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