Family Christmas Trip: A Democratic Process

Everyone would agree that there is one tradition in their family that they look forward to each year. Well…my favorite family tradition is the process of selecting and preparing for the annual two-week family Christmas trip. Over the years, we have traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland, Paris, France, Rome and Portofino, Italy, and Bora Bora, French Polynesian to name a few. Each year about 25-30 (not including children…wait, do kids count?) of us travel, as a family, to one of these pre-selected destinations with the intention of maintaining our closeness as a family and creating memories that will be as unique as the places we visit. That way, no one will ever forget what they did for Christmas.

Before I get into the plan for this year (tune into Destination 2013 – Abu Dhabi) and the many tasks that lie ahead, I want to first give you guys a background on how this whole crazy process works:

Every February, my family begins researching places that they would want to go for Christmas. Only primary family members (born into the Mason clan) can provide suggestions for the destination. Once each person (20 folks) has chosen a destination, they email their ideas to the powers-that-be (My Dad – Poppa Mason and Grandpa Mason). From those choices, Poppa and Grandpa Mason narrow down the choices to 4 destinations that seem to represent something different like one hot place, one cold place, one European place, and an Asian/South American location. From there, my family has two weeks to mull over their choices and select a location from the four options available. During this time, whoever chose the four destinations can also lobby for votes (which can include the spouse of a primary family member) and this can be in the form of just calling and harassing folks to sending out promotional materials from the particular place and hotel where we would be staying.

March 1st is the day where everyone in the family learns where we will be vacationing for Christmas that year. And then the real fun begins! Determining what type of room to get (if it’s too expensive, then room sharing becomes attractive to most), when to purchase plane tickets (we try and travel together on the same flight –yes, all 30 of us…ok, if kids count then it’s more like 45 and 5 dogs…don’t judge me!), and researching all the cool things to do since we will be in that country for two weeks.

So, over the next few months, I will be sharing tips on how to get the cheapest airfare tickets and still fly first class, review some of the best hotels in the world, and give advice on some of the things that will make traveling internationally the easiest and best experience of your life!

You all will have a front row seat to some of the coolest destinations, restaurants and hotels in the world. Stay tuned for pics, videos, and reviews of Destination 2013: Abu Dhabi!

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