Every year as Christmas rolls on in with it's
twinkly lights and ho-ho-ho's, we Jewish families are stuck with
closed activities and really bored kids. So, around ten years ago
we started a tradition of trekking out to the Dells for 80-degree
indoor waterpark fun in a nearly empty hotel on December 24.
Apparently, we weren't the only geniuses who thought of this idea
as year after year more locals we knew were showing up in the
In 2008, my youngest nixed our tradition when she arrived
on December 24. My three older children, while excited about her
birth, were also disappointed that she broke our annual plans. Even
the nurse was disappointed, as she joked, "I wasted a Christmas
baby" because we don't celebrate. Ah, well…
So, when my baby turned 1, we celebrated in our little
home away from home in the Dells and all were happy again. After so
many repeated years of the same old, this year we're off to do
something just a wee bit different.
My in-laws love a good ol' road trip. Me, I love a
good ol' 5-star hotel. So when my father-in-law suggested a
coordinated winter trip to a cabin, I looked for a 5-star-ish villa
in the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN.
I believe his idea of our cabin would be about 20 bucks a
night in a rustic place with none of the comforts of home. My idea
of cabin life is going to be fine homemade dinners around a roaring
fire (indoors) with a hot tub and a glass of wine. So, we found a
beautiful compromise for Christmas to New Year's week where we can
hunker down, relax and enjoy something a little bit tinkered from
our beloved traditional Dells.
I am told that Gatlinburg is filled with touristy
shops and kitschy restaurants but I am prepared to wow my family
with new fun anyway. Already having 'no Dells' fever, my younger
ones are tentative about this new plan. My teens understanding of
there being no Internet connection in our area think we are really
beyond 'roughing it'. They, too, are tentative that this can
possibly be fun.
I have picked out favorite 80's movies like
Goonies, Adventures in Babysitting and the like, packed up a
zillion board games and a large stack of books. S'more-making stuff
and hot dogs for the fireplace are packed up as are bathing suits
for the hot tub and a sled for the snow we hope to find there. I am
both nervous and excited about our new destination.
Check back for my next post to see if all went according
to plan. Is Gatlinburg worth the 9.5 hour drive from Chicago? Will
the teens lose it for a week with no Internet? Will my little ones
cry when they see there is no waterpark? Will I be okay for a week
in the woods with my in-laws?? Wish us luck! And, for those
celebrating, Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Sara Kutliroff is a freelance writer and blogger trying not to forget the "me” in mommy.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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