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Herriman Journal

Holiday vacations create lasting memories

Dec 16, 2021 09:43AM ● By Karmel Harper

The Ratliff family from Herriman donning their festive apparel during their 2018 cruise to Cabo. (Photo courtesy of Cassidy Ratliff)

By Karmel Harper | [email protected]

“How can we have Christmas without a Christmas tree, Mom?” -Kevin McCallister, "Home Alone." Kevin asked this question as his family was packing for their holiday trip to Paris, France. Taking a vacation during the holidays was unheard of for the 1990 movie audience, but introducing this concept added to the storyline, character development, and message of Home Alone. We all remember the rained-out  trip, a mother’s determination to be with her son for Christmas, and the message of forgiveness between parent and child. But nowadays, more and more families are opting to follow the McCallister tradition to teach their children another message: that memories last longer than objects. 

Instead of clicking on Amazon links, families are clicking on hotel and cruise line websites to enjoy a vacation getaway during the Christmas holiday in lieu of physical presents. Herriman’s Cassidy O-Keef Ratliff’s family took cruises during Christmas in 2017 and 2018. “The memories last a lifetime and my kids talk about it all the time and long to do it again. Presents are forgotten mostly within a couple of weeks. It helps parents find calmness and enjoy the events leading up to the holidays,” Ratliff said. 

When Herriman’s Kim Capilli Carpenter was a child, their family visited Mexico during the holidays. “The vacation was the big family gift and it was amazing. My mom would pack our stockings and fill them with all of the essentials for the beach and set them under one of those little one-foot Christmas trees in our hotel room. Speaking from experience I can guarantee you and your kids would trade these kinds of trips for all of the presents in the world,” Carpenter said. 

Herriman’s Alison Taylor said, “My parents did this once. It’s been 49 years next month, and my sisters and I will talk about it!” 

Jozettte Barker-Loumis, a travel advisor in Herriman said, “I book clients for Christmas a lot! As a family we go as well.” Barker-Loumis said the most popular holiday destination is Mexico as it is easy on restrictions and close to Utah.  

However, not everyone is sold on the idea of a Christmas getaway. In a poll of Herriman residents on the Herriman Happenings Facebook page, of the 569 responses, 41 said they will never take a vacation away for the holidays as they believe that Christmas is to be celebrated at home. For families with young children, trips can be too daunting and the magic of Christmas is still alive and well with little ones. Santa Claus visiting children on a cruise ship or a hotel room just does not have the same magic as visiting your own home. 

“I don’t feel like Christmas at home is about remembering what gifts they got,” Herriman’s Nicole Dom Christoffersen said. “It’s about remembering the feelings and the excitement of being with cousins and family we don’t see as often. In fact, my daughter is saving up for something really expensive she wants to buy and I expressed to her that she might feel bummed asking for money when everyone else is getting something fun to play with that day. She said, ‘I’m not worried about it. Gifts are fun but I’m most excited to hang out with Grandma and do puzzles and play with my cousins.’” 

Herriman’s Denise Fritz said, “My vote is home for the holidays, but a family gift would be a trip. The holiday season of putting up the tree, great smells of cookie baking, gingerbread house decorating, and relatives coming together. That’s what great memories are. Trips are fine but at another time.”

Another option to have the best of both worlds is to give a vacation as the major family gift for Christmas but take the trip after Christmas. This strategy avoids the rush of holiday travel. Herriman’s Tauni Smith Hawker said, “At times, the vacation is the day after Christmas. Other times, it’s a few months after Christmas. The ones later are awesome because we had Christmas and the excitement building up to the vacation.” 

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