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An Empty-Nesters' Christmas Trip

Image of an Empty Bird's Nest used with Suzanne's permission.

Image of an Empty Bird's Nest used with Suzanne's permission.

From Family Christmas Times Together ....

To the "Empty Nesters" Christmas Alone!

For the first 18 years of parenthood, Christmas was a family time filled with traditions established over the years. But eventually the 'baby birds' grow up, fly away and build their own 'nests'. Thus begins their own Christmas times and traditions, as it should be, leaving the parents with an 'empty nest'.

Christopher and 'friends'

Christopher and 'friends'

First Christmas as a Parent

Christopher and 'friends'...

On our first Christmas as a parent in 1962, Christopher was barely 3 months old. Christmas was mainly stuffed toys and animals for him, but we began establishing some of the Christmas traditions that were to become part of every Christmas from then on. Bob had some favorite Christmas memories from his childhood; I had some from mine, so favorite traditions were 'merged' and others were added as time went on.

Christmas 1968 in Lincoln, Nebraska

Christmas 1968 in Lincoln, Nebraska

A Son and a Daughter

Christmas 1968 found us living in Lincoln, Nebraska and our family now included 6-year-old Christopher and 3-year-old Kimberly. Sleepy-looking Kim was actually a very sick little girl who barely had the energy to unwrap her gifts.... and no interest in playing with her new toys. She had pneumonia and ran a high fever and we had to 'beg' the pediatrician to let her stay out of the hospital long enough for Christmas morning with big brother. A scary Christmas Day, but she soon recovered.

Christmas in South Carolina - 1974

Christmas in South Carolina - 1974

Christmas 1974

It's Christmas Day, 1974 in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Little brother, Gregory, joined Chris & Kim and the three children enjoyed Christmas morning together.

Our family is complete!

And now we are a Family of Five! (Plus the Cat Stocking :-)

And now we are a Family of Five!     (Plus the Cat Stocking :-)

And now we are a Family of Five! (Plus the Cat Stocking :-)

Christmas in California - 1975

Christmas in California - 1975

Christmas in California - 1975

Our Christmas times were shared in many different places over the years.

We lived on the California Central Coast when the children were school-age. This was our first Christmas in California after a major move across country from South Carolina! Coast-to-coast, Christmas is always special.

Christmas with Teenagers

Christmas with Teenagers

Christmas with Teenagers

Missouri - 1985

Another move... and now we're in Columbia, Missouri.

The teen years were upon us. The 'kids' were bigger, the gifts had changed from dolls & toy trucks to clothes, music, books and 'gadgets'.

empty-nesters-christmas

The Family Continues to Grow...

Missouri - 1990

Still in Missouri -- different house...

By 1990, the 'kids' were quite grown up. The youngest was in college and the older two brought 'significant others', who would later become their spouses, home for Christmas.

First Christmas on Tybee Island, Georgia after retirement.

First Christmas on Tybee Island, Georgia after retirement.

We're 'Empty-Nesters'....

But Christmas is Still a Family Holiday.

By Christmas 1993 we had retired to Tybee Island, Georgia. We were technically 'empty-nesters' at that time, but holidays still brought the 'kids' home.

The youngest, Greg, was married and attending graduate school in Florida, Kimberly was living in St. Louis, and Christopher & wife Kathie were in Kansas City. At the time, my mother was also living in Florida, so for the next few years most everyone traveled to our house for the holidays.

Christmas 1994 included a Wedding!

A Christmas wedding on Tybee Island - 1994

A Christmas wedding on Tybee Island - 1994

A Joyous Wedding Occasion for Christmas

Christmas 1994 we actually had an overflow of visitors. In addition to our three grown 'kids' and my mother, our guests included Kimberly's best friend, Dawn, who came to be her 'maid-of-honor', as Kim & Paul were married on December 23rd - two days before Christmas - at the Lighthouse on Tybee Island.


After the wedding, everyone stayed on for Christmas Day.

Christmas Morning 1994

Christmas Tree with gifts

Christmas Tree with gifts

Kim and best friend, Dawn

Kim and best friend, Dawn

Bob & Pat - the Parents!

Bob & Pat - the Parents!

First Holiday with an "Empty Nest"

For 6 more years, Christmas continued to be a "together" time. But by 1999, we had finally become true 'empty-nesters'. Greg now had 2 sons and had moved to Denver. My mother had moved back to New York State. Our other two were married and had busy lives in the Midwest. Suddenly we were facing Christmas alone and the whole point of a 'family' Christmas was missing.

What we decided to do that first Christmas we were 'alone' was to NOT stay home and NOT decorate for the holidays, In other words, do something completely different. What we did was to take a CHRISTMAS TRIP.

First Christmas without a Tree!

First Christmas without a Tree!

Christmas Morning - 1999

Christmas morning 1999, the extent of our holiday decorations was a tiny ceramic Christmas Tree on our dining room table surrounded by the gifts we were giving each other and ones our family had sent. We'd earlier mailed out our gifts to the rest of the family. We had our traditional Christmas breakfast of sweet rolls, juice and coffee, opened our gifts, then packed up and left for...... CHARLESTON!

From Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC

Google Maps

Google Maps

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge - Hwy 17. Charleston/Mount Pleasant, SC

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge - Hwy 17. Charleston/Mount Pleasant, SC

Christmas in Charleston

We'd decided that Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina (only about a 3-hour trip from our home in Georgia) was the perfect 'getaway'. Charleston has many interesting holiday events and places to visit, so we found a 'deal' on a hotel in Mount Pleasant, SC (located just across the Charleston Harbor from the city of Charleston) that offered a 2-for-1 package (stay one night, 2nd night free) and that's what we did.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (shown here) connects Charleston with Mount Pleasant, SC on Highway 17.

Charleston and Savannah ... Sights to See in the Coastal Low-Country

I wish I'd had this book before our trip. It would have been a great help for some of the best must-see sights and local secrets of Charleston, and probably some things I didn't already know about Savannah and the Georgia/South Carolina Low-Country!

The Weather Did Not Cooperate!

But we took the trip anyway!

We should have taken into consideration the effect the Austin Weather Curse* would have on our trip, but we blithely left the house, got in the car, and drove to Charleston ... in the 'pouring rain'! The high temperature of the day hovered around 42 degrees; fog and rain dominated the day - and night - and continued on into the second day of our two-day 'getaway'. The end result was the cancellation of some of our Christmas Trip sight-seeing plans, but cold and wet though we became, we couldn't give up everything we had planned to see and do! After all, it's Christmas!

*The 'Austin Weather Curse' is a long story - best told in another Hub!

Christmas Day in Charleston & Mount Pleasant...

2:00 PM: Arrived at hotel in Mount Pleasant, SC. Checked in, then went for a quick ride around the Mount Pleasant area.

3:00 PM: Raining too hard to see much - foggy on the waterfront - returned to hotel. Decided our plans for a seafood dinner on the waterfront and our driving tour of the annual "Holiday Festival of Lights" was a 'washout'.

6:00 PM: Had dinner in the hotel dining room, empty except for about 3 other people in the same boat we were.

7:00 PM: Returned to hotel room. Spent rest of evening 'inside' due to weather. We DID get to see a movie on TV that had been filmed in Savannah about a story that took place in Savannah and which we had yet to see, so the TV screen brought a bit of 'home' into our hotel room. The movie was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Quite a coincidence! Drive 3 hours away from home, and we're transported back via television!

U.s.s. Yorktown (cv-10)

An Essex-class aircraft carrier

Day After Christmas - December 26: Still cold, still lightly raining and foggy. But... onward and upward. One of the sights we REALLY wanted to see was the Museum Ship USS Yorktown located right down the road from our hotel in Mount Pleasant, SC. Bob has always had a big interest in military history.

USS Yorktown (CV/CVA/CVS-10) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II. She is named after the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War. Commissioned in April 1943, she participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The ship was then decommissioned shortly after the end of the war and in the early 1950s she was modernized and recommissioned as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS). Recommissioned too late to participate in the Korean War, she served for many years in the Pacific, including duty in the Vietnam War, in which she earned five battle stars. Late in her career she was used in the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" which recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Yorktown also served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission. The Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 and in 1975 became a museum ship at Patriot's Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She is a National Historic Landmark.

We spent about 4 hours touring the USS Yorktown and still didn't see all of it. Aircraft carriers are very big! Twice we left the ship and walked back to the Museum gift shop, partly to browse, partly to 'warm up'. Despite the cold and wet weather, we enjoyed our tour.

A Memory of our tour of the USS Yorktown

Finished off the day with a Seafood Dinner

Nothing like 'Seafood' on the waterfront!

December 26, 6:00 PM: After the Patriots Point tour, we returned to our hotel and changed for dinner. We found a delightful seafood restaurant near Charleston Harbor in Mount Pleasant and had a very delicious shrimp scampi meal.

End of our Christmas Trip to Charleston

December 27 - end of trip: The following morning we checked out of our hotel and drove home to Tybee Island. Despite the cold and the rain, our Christmas trip to the Charleston, SC area was an interesting diversion to the 'empty-nest' feel to our first Christmas alone.

What We Didn't Get to See! - Holiday Festival of Lights

Holiday Festival of Lights - Charleston, SC

Holiday Festival of Lights - Charleston, SC

Holiday Festival of Lights, Charleston, SC

For more than 20 years, the Holiday Festival of Lights has taken place in James Island County Park located just a short drive from downtown Charleston.

We were very disappointed that the weather kept us from seeing this beautiful display during our Christmas Trip, because judging by the pictures on the following website, it is a beautiful Christmas event well worth seeing. Beginning November 14 and continuing through December 31, the festival is a great place to gather family and friends to capture the magic of the holiday season. Details are available at the Charleston County Parks website.

A Special Christmas Trip!

Our life's journey involved many location changes. We've spent Christmas in 7 different States and half-again as many residences. We've taken only two trips away from home at Christmas-time... this has been one of them.

Thanks for joining us on our 'Christmas Trip'. It was fun to share the 'memories'. Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday Season!

© 2009 Wednesday-Elf

Where have YOU spent Christmas? - Have you ever traveled for Christmas?

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on January 08, 2015:

Spending Christmas somewhere warm is always a great idea, aesta1. Glad you enjoyed the holiday season. Happy New Year.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 07, 2015:

Interesting. You sure enjoyed an empty nester's Christmas. We did the same this Christmas because we just wanted to avoid the cold.

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 19, 2014:

Thanks Lady Guinevere. Yep, Christmastime changes once the children are grown and gone. The 'decorating' becomes a personal choice not driven by needing and wanting to make it what the 'kids' would expect and be thrilled with. As 'empty-nesters' we have only ourselves to please and if that includes NO decorating or not even staying home for Christmas, that's now our choice. I definitely MISS the Christmastimes with children, but now see the holiday in a different way. :-)

Debra Allen from West By God on December 18, 2014:

Wow! Now that is having a great time as an empty nester. We are too and I am so glad that you wrote about this. I am happy to know that I do not have to feel guilty for not decorating for Christmas.

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 18, 2014:

Children have a way of growing up and leaving home -- but they are always in our hearts. Happy Holidays to you.

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 18, 2014:

Thanks, Ruthi. My 'nest' is always ready for my 'birds' to visit. :)

Ruth Cox on December 11, 2014:

What a treasure trove of Christmas memories you've shared here. The birds may have grown and flown but I've a feeling your nest isn't empty at all. Merry Christmas, Ms. Elf!

Marsha Cooper on December 11, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your memories in photos.

This will be my first Christmas with no children at home any longer.

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on September 26, 2014:

That Christmas was definitely the beginning of a different kind of Christmas - not better or worse; just different. As you say, Mouse, nothing stays the same forever. Since that Christmas trip, I have spent Christmas with my grown kids and grandchildren several times - Christmas is most definitely for KIDS. :)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 26, 2014:

I really enjoyed looking at your family photos over the years! Change is always inevitable. I think it is awesome the way you just found another way to enjoy the holidays.

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on September 25, 2014:

@Brite-ideas - what a lovely way to put it 'a library of life'. I've been putting together some 'memories' for my kids & grandsons and now I have a title. Thank you.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on September 25, 2014:

You've created a wonderful library of life here - what a terrific keepsake for the family as well - I'm not an empty nester yet - can't imagine this part of life right now! beautiful page

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on December 12, 2013:

I've only traveled for Christmas a few times to spend it with my husband's family about 300 miles away. Most years we stay home since all of our kids live nearby.

Ruthi on November 21, 2013:

Having moved to Florida this year, away from family and close friends, it will be a lonesome dove kind of holiday for me, but hey, at least I will not be shoveling snow!

Glenda Motsavage from The Sunshine State on February 11, 2013:

We've been Empty Nester's for the past 17 years. We usually stay home for Christmas, but a few years ago we went to Hilton Head for the Holiday. Mixed emotions - my husband loved being away, I prefer to be home (even if we are alone!)

I truly enjoyed your lens, and felt like I was right there with you - thanks for making it so personal. And, congrats on the well-deserved Purple Star!

PS...Love the Empty Nester's Christmas Ornament!

Christine Larsen from South Australia on December 25, 2012:

A memorable one was an empty-nester (pre-kids) when we had a major power break, couldn't milk our cows, couldn't get to my brother's in the city for a slap-up Christmas lunch, and ate a sandwich made with the only thing in my fridge - fritz (a large cooked meat sausage peculiar to South Australia) and tomato sauce, washed down with milk.

But we did make it to tea there, and had a great night, missed the night milking and milked at some unGodly hour next a.m.

Life is never been boring on a farm.

Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, no matter how far apart - and the best of all years in 2013.

Christine

BuckHawkcenter on December 03, 2012:

Stopping back by with a little Angel dust for this great page!

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on December 01, 2012:

What a great story of your Christmas trip - even if the weather didn't cooperate! Angel blessed

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on December 01, 2012:

I know I have been her before, but I wanted to stop by and say I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year!

DecoratingEvents on December 01, 2012:

Now I know I have something to look forward to! A couple of more years and we will be in the same boat, I am sure. I like the "adventure" you two had, bad weather included. It made for terrific memories!

Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on December 01, 2012:

I really enjoyed reading about your Christmas times!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 24, 2012:

I loved the pictures of the kids as they grew. What a great way to display an empty nester page. My daughters are with their own family's and for me Christmas's are generally spent at home relaxing.

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on August 23, 2012:

I really enjoyed this page. We too are empty nesters and the day does seem lonely when the kids are grown and on their own. This is a wonderful idea!

mel-kav on June 24, 2012:

I so enjoyed reading your lens. Love the photos of your kids in 1975. Looks like the photos of me and my brothers back then.

anonymous on December 28, 2011:

Returning to freshen the angel dust!

Paul from Liverpool, England on December 21, 2011:

Angel Blessing for seizing an opportunity and enjoying it.

Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on December 20, 2011:

It's a good idea to stay open to change and most of the time it's for the best!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on December 03, 2011:

We having been taking a short five-hour one way trip each Christmas since Mom died, to spend Christmas with my brother and his family. On the way we spend Christmas Eve with special friends and stay in Agora HIlls, though it may be Simi Valley this year.

pawpaw911 on November 30, 2011:

My, how time flies. I can relate. Nicely done.

anonymous on November 28, 2011:

truly enjoyed your blog this morning, great to see that you and your sweatheart enjoyed Christmas on your own, remaining friends over the years and going on your own is what I want to do with my sweatheart as the years continue. right now, we've got our four kids, none of them yet teenagers and are in the middle stage that you had in your photos. Hope this Christmas is fun for you too! Squidliked your great lens, thank you.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 27, 2011:

Things really do change as kids grow up and start celebrating the holidays in new ways. It's good to try new approaches to holiday experiences. Each season of life brings opportunities if we continue to move forward and treasure what is. Appreciated learning more about your family journey.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on November 18, 2011:

We've had no kids in the house for years. Mom and Dad lived with us for their last years, and we did up Christmas big for them, knowing each one could be their last. Since they've gone, it's been empty, indeed! But, one year was VERY special. That year, we spent Christmas day at sea. That Christmas cruise turned out to be one of our favorite memories.

Rusty Quill on November 10, 2011:

What a great story. :) As kids we took a family trip from the midwest to Texas for Christmas - it was a bit odd going from the traditional white Christmas (several feet of snow) to a balmy 60 degree evening Christmas Eve in Texas. It was a fun trip though good memories. :)

yayas on November 08, 2011:

What a delightful trip you've shared with us. I never thought about changing things up as Empty Nesters. 'Course, if we could take a trip we would pro'lly strike out to see summa' the kids for Christmas. At least one of the families lives just a few hours away.

Thanks for taking me back to Charleston. I used to live there an' truly loved it. Great page.

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on November 08, 2011:

I thoroughly enjoyed this empty nester's Christmas adventure! I notice you have roots in Missouri (my home) and also I have been to Tybee Island and LOVED it there. I'm also an empty nester now, and enjoy ideas about spending the holidays in nontraditional ways. Once I spent Christmas in the Rockies and another time on a remote island in the Caribbean, and must admit those were some of my favorite holiday memories ever.

anonymous on October 31, 2011:

I have never ever travelled for Christmas, and have always had Christmas with my parents, my inlays and our daughter. I hope it stays that way :) Wonderful lens, here is a little Halloween treat *Blessed

Aquavel on October 13, 2011:

I've traveled (to New York, Boston, and Toronto over Christmas) and have also spent Christmas alone and away from family.

Christmas with loved ones is always best! Beautiful lens and memories! Thanks for sharing!

GypsyPirate LM on October 03, 2011:

I've never travelled for Christmas - even the 1 year I wasn't living within minutes of family I came home for Christmas. I now host Christmas Eve for my extended family and I really enjoy it. So far, none of us have gone that far from any of our nests. I loved reading about your trip though - especially the aircraft carrier, as that is the sort of thing I would seek out also. Do you think you'll try a return trip to get to see the holiday light show?

Donnette Davis from South Africa on July 23, 2011:

Beautiful memories... thank you so much for sharing!

sheriangell on July 19, 2011:

I loved all of your personal photos.

Ann-Marie LM on July 14, 2011:

Hi, you certainly struck a chord with me on this one. Thanks for a really lovely personal lens. Best wishes from Ann-Marie.

VarietyWriter2 on February 18, 2011:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 20, 2010:

Just back to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year ahead. May the love, peace and joy of this Christmas season be with you! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

poutine on December 19, 2010:

It's not easy to have a empty nest that's for sure.

squid-pinkchic18 on December 17, 2010:

It's always hard to break out of tradition like spending Christmas without the kids. I understand! Merry Christmas to you.

littlelu lm on December 04, 2010:

Hi Elf! Thanks for the comment. I really enjoyed your lens. I'm a bit of an empty nester this year as my oldest went off to college. Still have 2 at home to keep me company :)

MikeEssex on December 01, 2010:

My parents seem to celebrate Christmas at a much more relaxed pace since I moved out. So they'll have a nice long lie in and open their presents across the entire week after! Still once I arrive I can convince them to open them quicker.

anonymous on November 28, 2010:

This is such a lovely lens, you have a very lovely family. It is truly hard when the kids all grow.

Kathy McGraw from California on November 23, 2010:

Pat...Congrats on the Purple Star, and now this Christmas you will again be by family. It is a different experience once the kids are grown and start their own traditions. Trips sound like just the thing for an Empty Nester to make new memories :)

ohcaroline on November 20, 2010:

Glad you still managed to have a good time and saw some interesting sights.

DecoratingEvents on November 18, 2010:

My most memorable Christmas as a teen was when we lived on Guam. The Navy housing was pretty nice. We got up, opened gifts, had an open house for all our friends that were displaced from family as well and went to the beach. Mom and dad had given me a timex watch for Christmas. I promptly wore it into the ocean and ruined (about 7 hours after I got it!).

I really enjoyed your story, then again, I always do!

rachsue lm on November 18, 2010:

Thank you for sharing your pics. My children are currently 12 so I have to see them leave the nest soon. It scares me all the time. But we all had to leave at one point. Maybe we then can travel more. Again thank you so much for sharing

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on November 18, 2010:

Love the family photos. We still have the full-nest Christmas going on, but already one of ours is gone off to college, so I know the time will come. Enjoy your holidays!

BuckHawkcenter on November 18, 2010:

What a wonderful tour at the Elf's house then beyond. I would love to visit more places on the east coast and Charleston is one of them. Thanks for sharing your great story. Angel Blessed and featured on Angel Wings November 2010.

GabrielaFargasch on November 18, 2010:

You brought tears to my eyes........ My daughter is 14 years old still, but I'm already thinking about my future as an "empty-nester".......... In a few years from now......... I don't know how I'm going to cope when she moves out...............

malloryjane on November 18, 2010:

This will be my third Christmas away from home, as I've been traveling/working abroad for awhile. I'm 22 and miss my family very much during the holidays. Last year, I was lucky enough to spend my Christmas with a lovely Australian family with young children, which made things fun! This year will be in China - probably won't decorate and do much for Christmas, other than teach about it!

Great lens, I especially enjoyed the pictures of your children growing up!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2010:

Yes, because our families are often in other countries or we are in other countries, travel has been so much a part of our Christmas. It is fun but I miss my fresh Christmas tree and snow. I like your story, though. Nice kids.

seegreen on November 15, 2010:

Wasn't there a movie that started out like this? Empty nesters not wanting to stay home for Christmas, no putting up decorations... but it didn't end like your story. Thanks for sharing!

anonymous on November 12, 2010:

Thank you for sharing thee stories and pictures of your adventures. This has been so much fun to see and get to know more about you, your family and events. I have a empty nest and am a happy single for the time being.

spunkyduckling on November 09, 2010:

Thanks for the trip! It was beautiful..aww too bad you didn't get to see the holiday festival of lights. It looks so beautiful in the picture. Loved every moment of reading this lens and seeing the beautiful family photos. Very happy bunch :)

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on November 08, 2010:

I liked seeing your Christmas pictures! It's fun to see how your kids grew up! I have spent Christmas with my grandparents in Key Largo. It was so much fun and so different to be in a warm climate for Christmas! One of my best Christmas memories :)

Dianne Loomos on November 07, 2010:

Interesting to read about your Christmases over the years. We are nearing the empty nest stage of our lives.

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on November 06, 2010:

What a personal and beautiful lens ~ you got me quite immersed while reading it! I moved away from the family when I was 22 (some thousand miles away) to another country altogether, where I spent 6 years, but thankfully every year I was able to visit (mostly during Christmas time) family. I've spent Christmas in India, UAE and Canada. Can't believe it's only 48 days to Christmas. Hope you have and Bob have a blessed one! :)

julieannbrady on October 18, 2010:

You know ... I am looking at that mapped route from Savannah to Charleston and wondering, isn't there a more direct route? It rather minds me of our "trip" on Friday afternoon -- not the most direct route.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on October 05, 2010:

We've traveled to visit family for Christmas, but not a "Christmas Trip" with just the two of us. Thanks for sharing a fun idea for those who are experiencing being "empty nesters" over the holidays.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on September 29, 2010:

I'm far from the reality of an empty nest. My daughter is only 11. I think that although it must be hard in some ways, the freedom must be nice as well.

anonymous on September 28, 2010:

This is certainly a very different lens to anything else I have seen on Squidoo. I must admit I cannot imagine not having anyone home for Christmas. With four children, two still school age, plus a grandchild on the way (there's a huge gap between child #1 and child #4!) I am hoping that there will always be someone coming home for Christmas.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 27, 2010:

I enjoyed reading this and seeing how your Christmases changed over the years.

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on September 15, 2010:

I was looking forward to my time as an empty nester but somehow I couldn't get rid of the grandchildren!

poutine on September 04, 2010:

This was a lovely essay!

Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

oztoo lm on August 31, 2010:

That empty nest syndrome can really hit home at christmas time. Taking a trip away is a great idea and helps fill the void that many people feel. I guess I'm lucky in that my family only lives a couple of hours away so I still usually get to see them at Christmas.

Linda Hoxie from Idaho on July 09, 2010:

What a wonderful lens. I am thinking we may be around the same age, my children grown and out of the house and what I found funny is your family pictures from the past look almost like mine from my childhood. Same film type, the christmas tree, hairstyles. Great lens!

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on July 09, 2010:

@VarietyWriter2: Thanks so much for the SquidAngel blessing, WeddingZazzle!

VarietyWriter2 on July 09, 2010:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

callinsky lm on July 01, 2010:

Regardless of the weather, it sounds as if you had a wonderful time, Pat.

I hate to think about what it will be like when my son is out of the house. It scares me something awful, because that's what I've been for years... a mother. He is sixteen now. I've tried hard to become more involved with my hobbies the last three years, as I don't want to feel totally lost without him. I'm not much for sitting around and chilling. I really need to stay busy and busy doesn't mean watching TV. I have to feel as if I'm doing something constructive. Constructive varies from person to person. I realize that. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with watching TV. I don't know.. Blah. Blah.

I love this lens. It made me think.

Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on June 28, 2010:

The good news is you still have each other! I think a Christmas trip is a great idea (although certainly the weather could have been better)

aishu19 on April 26, 2010:

Wow! I can see that your family has grown up alot! its nice to see the entire transition and some great ideas to make the festive season fun regardless of whether family is right beside you or not.. :) nice lens...

anonymous on April 26, 2010:

Yes Christmas does change over the years, and loved ones are missed, but we still have the memories. Thanks for the lens.

justholidays on March 30, 2010:

What a marvelous account of your first Christmas "alone"... I don't know how I would do when my son will get married and wouldn't celebrate Christmas at home. But indeed, a trip somewhere might be a good idea and break the loneliness of such a holiday.

Blessed by a SquidAngel.

puzzlerpaige on March 03, 2010:

I enjoyed reading your Christmas story. Our little one is 12 yo and I often wonder what we will do with ourselves when she has a home of her own. Although she tells me now she will never leave!

I know of all there places you mention here. We lived near Savannah GA a few years ago and made it out to Tybee Island a few times. We've also visited Charleston many times (we used to live near Columbia SC). We used to fish quite often out of Shem Creek and eat at the wonderful restaurants there.

GrowWear on January 28, 2010:

Spent a long vacation on Tybee Island once. One of my fondest memories. Really enjoyed your empty-nesters Christmas trip.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on January 09, 2010:

This is absolutely Fabulous!!! I feel like I know your whole family now! I am sorry that the weather did not "play fair," but what what a wonderful idea!!! Totally Awesome and Totally Blessed!

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on January 08, 2010:

@poptastic: What a wonderfully sweet way to begin spreading your new angel wings, by re-visiting my lens. Your lovely words have me close to tears. You are very much appreciated, Cynthia, and I am very honored. Thank you.

Cynthia Arre from Quezon City on January 08, 2010:

I remember loving and being touched by this lens the first time I saw it so I came back to give it an extra boost. (: *blessed by an angel*

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on January 05, 2010:

@happynutritionist: Thanks so much for the lensroll. Hope you get to visit Charleston one day. It's a fascinating city.

happynutritionist on January 05, 2010:

Love the way you put this together, beautiful...we have yet to travel over the Christmas holidays due to family gatherings, but one day we will. Areas you mention are familiar as my Dad grew up down there as a child, fond memories of his stories, and a place I hope to see...I'm lensrolling into Baby Boomer Vacation Planning, and of course 5 stars.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on January 04, 2010:

Great story and a wonderful way to chronicle your memories for your family. Oh, I didn't know that you had a child to get married at Lighthouse on Tybee Island. That must have been beautiful. Too funny that you traveled to Charleston only to see Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil. That book and movie sure has done a lot for the tourism in Savannah. Our favorite place to stay in Mt Pleasant is Shem Creek Inn. We love it there and hope to go back sometime soon. Very nicely done.

pkmcr from Cheshire UK on December 30, 2009:

What a wonderful lens and story - Blessed by a Squid Angel :-)

Kate Phizackerl1 on December 30, 2009:

Well worthy of a blessing. Blessed.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on December 24, 2009:

Sweet lens and I enjoyed reading it. 5*

Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on December 23, 2009:

What a great lens...I enjoyed hearing about the places you've been. Our lives have taken us to many of the same places...we've lived in 6 homes in Missouri--St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia and now that we're retired we stay in Florida in March. Tybee Island and Charleston are favorite places to visit! Thanks for the memories....the kids still travel home around Christmas...but I can see the day coming soon where we'll look for a Christmas trip! Happy 2010! Blessed by a SquidAngel

VSP on December 22, 2009:

Thanks for sharing.

norma-holt on December 21, 2009:

This is a great lens. Nice family pics and passionate writing. Great presentation. Top marks and lensrolled to the great outdoors.

Beth Webster-Duerr from Henrietta, New York on December 19, 2009:

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your Christmas trip diary. Haven't had a Christmas Trip yet as we are just barely empty nesters, but looking forward to one. 5 stars and thanks again.

Samantha Lynn from Missouri on December 18, 2009:

Fabulous!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on December 18, 2009:

All my Christmas holidays have been spent in the Northeast, nearly all of them with at least a covering of snow. Having an empty nest hasn't been hard - it's being away from the grandkids over the holidays that gets to me ... so I drive north to New England during the 12 days to see them all. Nicely done lens - and a good idea for any empty-nesters or anyone who might be alone: take a trip for the holidays!

Wednesday-Elf (author) from Savannah, Georgia on December 18, 2009:

@mysticmama lm: I'm so pleased you thought my lens was 'bless-worthy. Thanks so much.

Bambi Watson on December 18, 2009:

Beautiful lens...Blessed by an Angel!

WhiteOak50 on December 17, 2009:

I have been to Charleston, SC before, it is indeed an interesting place. I took a weekend trip just me, stayed one night in Charleston and came back to Georgia the next day. Very nice job on this lens.

kimmanleyort on December 17, 2009:

What a great trip through time. How it flies! We will be facing that empty nest too in a few years and I like your idea of taking a trip. Those lights look amazing - too bad you didn't get to see them.