It's hard to believe that 2019 is rapidly coming to an end. It seems like not that long ago we were wondering if the banks were going to collapse and if the Internet would crash when the clocks struck midnight in 2000. And now it's 19 years later and time continues on. Sure, there have been changes over those 20 years. We have lost loved ones, seen new family members arrive and grown older and maybe a bit wiser as well. But one thing we have learned is that time does not stand still.
This year will mark the end of an era and the beginning of something new for our family. For the first time in 22 years, we will not be spending Christmas in Florida. In 1997, our family began a tradition of going to the sunshine state for the holidays. Each year, we would load up the cars with decorations and gifts and make the pilgrimage to the Orlando area to spend time at the Happiest Place on Earth. The first few years were spent are various condos that we would rent on a weekly basis but by 2000 we began spending the next 19 years at a Disney Vacation Club Resort each year. Patty and I purchased our DVC membership over during Christmas 1999 and then a few years later my parents also purchased a DVC membership. Over the past 22 years we made countless memories....some good and some not so good. There were a few years where the flu bug took our family by storm resulting in less than enjoyable memories. I remember after everyone getting sick in the condo one year, mom and Angie vowed to sanitize the condo each year upon checkin. They would arrive with their disinfecting wipes in hand and completely wipe down the entire unit before allowing us to settle in for the week.
But for all the bad memories, there are at least 10 times more great ones! I remember my Grandma Dorothy spending one Christmas with us in Florida after Grandpa Frank passed away. The time we spent with her that year was so special and many memories were made that I will never forget. Over the years we have had many a guest stay with us for the holidays. Our friend Kris stayed with us one year. Our friends Rick and Sandy were with us another year. Many Aunts and Uncles would join us from time to time. And after my cousin Amber moved to Orlando, we became what she called her "winter family."
Mom always said she never regretted spending money on vacations because the memories would last forever. That bit of wisdom has stuck with me all of these years and is probably why we continue to make travel a focal point of our lives. Does anyone ever say "I wish I had spent more time at work" when they are at the end of their life? I highly doubt it! Most people would want more time to travel or time with their families. Why don't we prioritize whats really important while we can and not wait until it's too late.
So why does 2019 mark the end of an era? Because we are not going to Florida this year for Christmas. Instead, we are headed to Texas to spend the holidays with my mom's brother, Uncle Dennis and Aunt Priscilla or the Texas Aunt and Uncle as we affectionately refer to them in our videos. After losing my mom and my sister, we decided that maybe we needed a fresh start this year. This was something that we had talked about doing as a family over 5 years ago before mom passed. Angie and I were also planning this trip 2 years ago when she took ill with cancer. So this year we will honor both of them by going to Texas as they had wanted to do for years.
What will next year hold for our holidays? Honestly we don't no nor do we care at this point. For now we are just going to live in the moment and enjoy our time together in Texas as a family sharing food, memories, laughter, tears and most likely some good wine too!
What are your family holiday traditions? We'd love to read them if you are willing to share in the comments section down below.
And finally, Patty, Truman, Bess and myself would like to wish each and everyone one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy the holidays and cherish the memories!