Author Topic: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions  (Read 3034 times)

clairebonk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
  • Location: Walnut Creek, CA
  • Off-and-on FIREing
Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« on: December 17, 2017, 09:17:30 PM »
I asked my in-laws who have kids with similar ages and live close by if we could start a holiday tradition for the littles. They thought it was a great idea and suggested ice skating at Embarcadero with special treats.

Sweet gesture, but my kids are 2 & 4, so this sounds frighteningly dangerous. Spending $60+ per family, eating nutritionally void food, and sharing our special moments with 100s of strangers sounds like THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what I had in mind. Is it possible they suggested it because they know me and know I would hate it and really don't want to get together? Or is this a normal suggestion?

Why do holidays have to include spending money and eating crap? AHHHHH.

My idea: A Present Fell Off Of Santa's Sleigh! Let's find it in the wilderness! Bring your navigation skills, your compass, your binoculars, practice your maps reading skills and we will look for clues along the way! (At the end of the scavenger hunt will be a wrapped box full of a picnic lunch. Maybe some books.)

I know when I propose this idea, they will roll their eyes and think it is too much work and worry if their kids will have fun.

Is there anything kids like more than running in open space and playing with rocks and sticks??

Thanks so much for letting me vent. I can't vent to my husband because, although he agrees with me 100%, it is his family and I can't say anything negative or we'll start arguing.

NorCal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 09:28:44 PM »
I understand completely.  It's ridiculous, but sometimes family comes first, and it's not worth the fight. 

Maybe propose alternating years?  Do a scavenger hunt one year, and fancy ice skating the next year.  That way you can alternate rolling your eyes at each others ideas :-)

If it makes you feel any better, my inlaws have a long standing tradition of staying at the Ahwahnee for Thanksgiving every few years.  This has been going on for several generations, so it's "not optional".  We spend more money on that ridiculous Thanksgiving than we spend on our own vacations.

I like your scavenger hunt idea!  I might give that a try.

clairebonk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
  • Location: Walnut Creek, CA
  • Off-and-on FIREing
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 09:45:10 PM »
That's a good idea- to take turns. I will suggest that.

The Ahwahnee is expensive but Yosemite is not exactly the worst place to get stuck in a family vacation!

jezebel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1531
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2017, 09:41:08 AM »
I think ice skating and followed by some cookies and hot chocolate is a very normal suggestion for a Christmas tradition, particularly since you asked them for a suggestion and did not suggest your own, cheaper tradition.  However, 2 and 4 is definitely too young for skating - that won't be fun for you.  I'd simply beg off due to the age and suggest your idea as an alternative.  I wouldn't suggest alternating years unless it's really important to them and it's something you all will enjoy when the kids get older.

ixtap

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 992
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2017, 10:22:27 AM »
I think ice skating and followed by some cookies and hot chocolate is a very normal suggestion for a Christmas tradition, particularly since you asked them for a suggestion and did not suggest your own, cheaper tradition.  However, 2 and 4 is definitely too young for skating - that won't be fun for you.  I'd simply beg off due to the age and suggest your idea as an alternative.  I wouldn't suggest alternating years unless it's really important to them and it's something you all will enjoy when the kids get older.

Four is a good age for ice skating, and if it is a tradition (ie repeated annually), the 2 year old will grow into it quickly.

Is there cheaper ice skating in your area? An ice rink that would let you bring your own hot chocolate in a thermos? Dress up in your ugly sweaters and skate away while everyone else is at the holiday one?

cats

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2017, 11:06:47 AM »
You can bring your own hot chocolate and food to Embarcadero, it's an outdoor rink.  Honestly, if it's just once a year this doesn't sound like the worst expensive tradition.

Sounds like you are very outdoorsy and your relatives are not, if they aren't going to be into the scavenger hunt idea.  What about something like hosting a family baking party where the kids can make and decorate Christmas cookies?  Most people like cookies.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6464
  • Location: United States
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 11:24:51 AM »
I think ice skating and followed by some cookies and hot chocolate is a very normal suggestion for a Christmas tradition, particularly since you asked them for a suggestion and did not suggest your own, cheaper tradition.  However, 2 and 4 is definitely too young for skating - that won't be fun for you.  I'd simply beg off due to the age and suggest your idea as an alternative.  I wouldn't suggest alternating years unless it's really important to them and it's something you all will enjoy when the kids get older.

I've been teaching ice skating to toddlers for more than a decade, and kids often start at 2-4 year range.  Not every 2 year old can do it, some are just not quite ready, but many can and love it.  I've never seen a developmentally typical 4-year old not have the gross motor skills to give it a try.
Personally, this sounds like a FABULOUS family tradition.  And I agree, if the 2-year old isn't ready, they will be in a few years if this is the thing the family always does. 
$60 doesn't sound like much at all for 4 people to take part in a once a year activity with family.  Or skip the "special treats" and pack a picnic of nutritionally dense food.

The scavenger hunt also sounds fun (though I would way prefer ice skating, and this comes from someone who competed in orienteering as a kid)- why not make it a tradition to get together and do something each year. It doesn't always need to be the same thing.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 12:08:52 PM by iowajes »

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 11:37:28 AM »
I am sure there is no evil subtext in their suggestion. Ice skating is a completely normal and traditional holiday activity (we went last Sunday, and there was a big lit up xmas tree and it was fun and we splurged on a peppermint mocha, which is unusual for us). Your idea sounds fun too, but is not necessarily "traditional" or christmasy, so that is why the adults might look at you funny, but that doesn't mean the kids wont be in to it. But I agree that 2 is young for ice skating (though I think I learned when I was 4, and it doesn't really hurt to fall when you are that little and covered in snow clothes), so you can use that to get out of it.

Other cheaper holiday traditions might include walking around the neighborhood to look christmas lights (make your own hot chocolate and bring it, or some kind of craft (make ornaments?), or making cookies yourselves.

soccerluvof4

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3340
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 12:59:40 PM »
I agree with most of the others. When I read the suggestion of Ice skating I thought it was a great idea. I also liked what you came up with. Maybe each year one of the parents comes up with the idea and all agree to go with the flow. It is only once a year so everyone should make the best of it for the sake OF the children.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

jezebel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1531
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 02:50:42 PM »
Sorry if I gave the impression that 4 year olds are too young to learn to skate - I was referring to the two year old (since they would be together) and that was based on my own experience.  I would not want to spend the amount referenced on skating with a two year old unless I knew that they had done it before and enjoyed it.  Again, just my opinion.

Millennialworkerbee

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 04:20:50 PM »
I definitely have trouble with my in-laws and taking things personally like you mentioned in your post (although it is just our family, no siblings aka buffers). Here is what this sounds like; you asked them to come up with something, so they suggested something, and you are mad that they didn't pick something you wanted them to. It sounds like you set yourself up for frustration with this one. (Sorry if this sounds harsh, not trying to be-I do this to myself too).

Why can't you do both? The grandparents probably have childhood memories of going ice skating or something and want to recreate it. You can be the cool mom/aunt that hosts a fun scavenger hunt every year.

As far as the crap food, I hate giving my son crap too so I can understand that. Crap food at the holidays won't hurt them, but if you feel strongly about it then maybe pick just one crap food item (like hot chocolate) and then bring applesauce pouches or crackers to eat with it?

nessness

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 04:41:33 PM »
Well, I would argue that 2- and 4-year-olds are more capable of ice skating than they are of reading maps and compasses, so...

I don't think their suggestion is unreasonable, but if you don't want to do it, suggest something else! I like SilveradoBonangles' suggestions.

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 649
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2017, 07:14:34 PM »
skating and food sounds normal and cheap to me but I dunno where this skate place is. Around here,  pond is free if its frozen (close, but not quite) rink is $5 for age 6 and up, 5 and under free. Bring some hot chocolate and you're all set!

MaybeBabyMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 954
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2017, 07:56:02 PM »
Well, I would argue that 2- and 4-year-olds are more capable of ice skating than they are of reading maps and compasses, so...

I don't think their suggestion is unreasonable, but if you don't want to do it, suggest something else! I like SilveradoBonangles' suggestions.

This. I don't think there suggestion was unreasonable, particularly because you did ask for input. :-) Also, holidays is a time when most people have an occasional splurge, like hot cocoa with the kids. You can certainly make other decisions for your kids, but next time I'd recommend selecting an activity you think is age (& budget appropriate), & going from there. Based on your food comment, I'm not sure if you'd be open to: listening to holiday music & decorating Christmas cookies, but that's another age appropriate option

MBot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 08:16:33 PM »
For 2 and 4 year olds, skating is something you can start and stop relatively quickly. Going in the woods to search for something isn't. Around the holidays I don't think I'd want to get stuck with toddlers that aren't my own in the woods

And I love hiking! And bringing kids with. But for the holidays? Hot chocolate and skating sounds a lot more Christmassy.

This skating place might be stupid expensive or something but it sounds like a pretty normal suggestion to me. The busyness of if might really turn me off though.

Can you suggest a cheaper activity with less people around? Going to the best street of light displays? Cookie decorating? Watching a Christmas movie and making popcorn garlands (or just eating popcorn - cheap and not sugary!)

clairebonk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
  • Location: Walnut Creek, CA
  • Off-and-on FIREing
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2017, 09:50:38 PM »
Thanks everyone, I have gathered that ice skating is a totally normal, reasonable, and considerably fun activity for average peeps. So, I do see the perspective now that it is a genuinely nice & holiday-ish suggestion.

FYI, I take my 2 & 4 year old hiking in the wilderness every weekend and backpacking once a month. It is "normal" for us, and the most fun.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6464
  • Location: United States
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2017, 05:35:29 AM »
If you take your kids hiking all the time, would it be a special holiday tradition?

ixtap

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 992
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2017, 07:54:38 AM »
Will you call it Santa caching?

My husband likes the idea, calling it unique, sweet and probably even exciting for Santa believers. He also suggests an app and "Look, Santa activated the tracker for your lost gift!" Watch out for kids complaining to Santa at the mall after the second year :)

As a big family tradition, it would depend if the rest of the kids were used to hiking, but thank you very much for a fun breakfast conversation!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5350
  • Location: BC
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2017, 12:12:41 PM »
I think ice skating and followed by some cookies and hot chocolate is a very normal suggestion for a Christmas tradition, particularly since you asked them for a suggestion and did not suggest your own, cheaper tradition.  However, 2 and 4 is definitely too young for skating - that won't be fun for you.  I'd simply beg off due to the age and suggest your idea as an alternative.  I wouldn't suggest alternating years unless it's really important to them and it's something you all will enjoy when the kids get older.
Speaking from Canada, ages 2 and 4 are definitely not too young for ice skating!   It can be quite fun at that age (can take kids under 2 in a sled or pram on the ice, while the older kids (2yr+) may want to use toys on ice for support).  Great fun!

$60 sounds like a lot.

OP -- did you know that Dublin, CA has an indoor skating rink with public skate times? 

That should be cheaper and closer to you, and you can go out to a local coffee shop after for hot chocolate or bring thermoses and cookies.

Kmp2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
  • Location: Cowtown
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 12:45:46 PM »
We do this :), and I have a 23 month old and a 4.5 year old... and one more on the way in May.

But we go to a local free outdoor rink or pond (often with a firepit), and bring our own hot chocolate in a thermos. I have no idea what embarcadero is, but 60$ to ice skate sounds ridiculous!

cats

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2017, 02:25:29 PM »
We do this :), and I have a 23 month old and a 4.5 year old... and one more on the way in May.

But we go to a local free outdoor rink or pond (often with a firepit), and bring our own hot chocolate in a thermos. I have no idea what embarcadero is, but 60$ to ice skate sounds ridiculous!

It is an ice rink set up in downtown San Francisco near the waterfront every year:  https://embarcaderocenter.com/experience/holiday-ice-rink/

$60 for a family of 4 would include skate rental, I'm guessing if you go to ponds you have your own skates.  It's comparable in cost to other rinks in downtown San Francisco...joys of a HCOL area.


jennaw

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 03:21:46 PM »
Since you like outdoor activities, how about focusing on the fact that they suggested an outdoor activity that lets the kids get some exercise? They could have suggested going to a movie, a play or the ballet which would likely cost more and not involve any exercise.

Kmp2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
  • Location: Cowtown
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 07:10:35 PM »

It is an ice rink set up in downtown San Francisco near the waterfront every year:  https://embarcaderocenter.com/experience/holiday-ice-rink/

$60 for a family of 4 would include skate rental, I'm guessing if you go to ponds you have your own skates.  It's comparable in cost to other rinks in downtown San Francisco...joys of a HCOL area.

Ah I see, it probably wouldn’t get cold enough in San Fran to skate outside. And yes we have our own skates, and there is a thriving second hand skate market for kids, so they were cheap! I have had the same pair of hockey skates since high school. But Canadian eh! We get a lot of winter to skate.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1187
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2017, 03:02:31 AM »
Given that you live in a HCOL area, $60 for a family event doesn't sound like a lot of money to me. And I agree with the poster who asked whether the outdoor scavenger hunt would really be that special since you take your kids hiking every weekend. Ice skating would be something very different for them, and therefore special in my book.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2993
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2017, 01:07:50 PM »
The other consideration is that you want this to possibly become an annual tradition, so you need to plan for aging. Just because someone is capable of hiking now doesn't mean that they will in 10 years.

Something like ice skating allows for the possibility of including limited mobility individuals even if they can't actually skate, while a full day hike likely will not. Grandma can sit in her wheelchair off to the side of the rink and watch. You can't really take a wheelchair out hiking...

chouchouu

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2017, 02:09:46 AM »
Hmm, that actually sounds like fun to me, an outdoor rink with a beautiful view. I like ice skating though and I'm from Australia so it's a bit of a novelty for me, especially outdoors. I've skated in Central Park and various outdoor rinks in London including in the moat of London Tower and in Europe. I'd include that rink if I were in SF during winter. They give kids little things to push around which helps them balance. My two year olds were doing tricks on their scooters so I think they would have managed with skates.

I'd pack a thermos of hot chocolate,  stollen and some fruit and have a great time. I think 60 is reasonable for a family outing like that but I live in Sydney so perhaps my perception is skewed. I love winter sports, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, love it all and think a family friendly sport that combines socialising with loved ones sounds like a neat idea.

calimom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 670
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Expensive Holiday Family Traditions
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2017, 07:11:50 PM »
We've been to the Justin Hermann skating rink and it is cool! There is ice where there should not be ice in temperate San Francisco. Teachable moment on how that happens! Take BART into the city from Walnut Creek, your kids will love the experience. As others have suggested, bring healthy snacks. Enjoy the family time with your relatives. $60 dollars is not ridiculous for a day of fun for everybody. If you get off at the Powell Street stop and have the energy, go look at the lights and the windows around Union Square and then work your way to the Embarcadero.

I also love your idea of the treasure hunt, and file it away for when both of your kids can follow maps and feel the magic. It's a great idea.Above all else have a great holiday adventure.