We tried to postpone planning for our homecoming this Christmas for as long as possible – in hopes of avoiding the usual headaches that goes with it. Tried anyway. We couldn’t proscrastinate for too long. It is the end of August – we would be lucky to find cheap airfares this time of year.
Last year, we took the 10-day ticket offered by Northwest, which was valued at almost half the price of the other available tickets. Since Aya was already two years old, she had to have a seat of her own, and so we have to buy tickets for all of three of us. We chose to go home on December 19, then went back to Japan ten days later, two days shy of New Year’s Day.
Belatedly, we realized that the vacation was too short, and the New Year’s eve we spent here at home ogling each other for lack of something to do was enough for us to carefully plan our vacation the following year. Not again, we promised.
We tried to exhaust the options available for us, including booking for a one-way flight using reward miles accumulated in our Northwest card (not a chance, we learned), and booking for a roundtrip ticket in the Philippines. The cheapest flight we could find is worth 100k plus – multiply that by three – this adds up to a rather hefty sum. Argh.
We could go to the US on that price alone. (Surprisingly, flights to the US are quite cheap that time of year.) Or visit some place we’ve never been before. Heck, even to Europe if we had enough guts to endure winter there. Why spend all that money going back to the same place we’ve been to many times already? Why go back and endure the heat, traffic, stressful Christmas shopping at the malls? And consider this – it’s the one single vacation that wins the honor of being the grandest spending of the year. Everything goes out, nothing comes in. No thanks to the commercialization of Christmas. If there’s one thing we hate doing in January, it’s looking at the credit card transactions of the month before.
Well,the answer is simple: our family. How many times in a year do we get to see them, anyway?
Since Daddy died, I have viewed homecoming in an entirely different light. I could have been home that last December (the year before he died) – and we could have spent one more Christmas together as a family. But I decided to forego our supposed trip in December because we had already gone home three months earlier to attend my sister’s wedding. Little did I know that he would be gone in five months’ time. What makes me think that my family will always be there when I go home? What assurance do I have that every time we go home everybody else would be present? If I knew that this particular meeting would be our last, wouldn’t it be worth any effort, time and money? Money can be earned in the coming days. The opportunity, if not seized, is lost forever.
For us, Christmas is more than just a holiday or celebration. It has, and always will be, family time. Try putting a price tag on that.