We’re leaving today for our annual family vacation, which is sorta-kinda free. Which is more than sorta-kinda awesome.

Here’s how my family does it:

Instead of buying Christmas presents, Birthday presents, Mother’s Day presents, Father’s Day presents, or any other sort of gifting that should normally take place in a family, we deposit all the money that we would have spent on each other into a joint savings account. Then, once a year, we take a vacation all together, using only that money.

Also, we rotate whose year it is to pick the location, find the perfect house to stay in, and organize all of the little details.

We’ve been doing this for 8 years, and so far, we’ve gone to:

  • 2003 – Gulf Shores, Alabama (our pick)
  • 2004 – St. Augustine, Florida (my favorite location yet and JC and Lindsay’s pick)
  • 2005 – Blue Ridge, Georgia (Mom and Dad’s pick)
  • 2006 – Lake Weiss in Alabama (our pick)
  • 2007 – Indian Pass, Florida (JC and Lindsay’s pick)
  • 2008 – A year off (We just couldn’t get it together)
  • 2009 – Chattanooga, Tennessee (Mom and Dad’s pick)
  • 2010 – Folly Beach, South Carolina (our pick, and where we went last year for our anniversary.)

We always have a blissfully wonderful time together, except that I tend to have somewhat catastrophic-ish things happen on or before family vacation because of my stellar luck, such as:

2004: It was a week after a hurricane, and the hotel we stayed at on the way to St. Augustine had been flooded and horrifically mildewed. After breathing the nastiness all night, I was struck quite ill for the rest of the week from the evil spores that took up residence in my lungs. But I didn’t let it stop my great time!

2005: Was right after my first foot surgery, and I released myself from the chains of crutches a few days early for said vacation. However, staying in the mountains with a freshly filleted foot didn’t mix too well. I MIGHT have let it stall my good time a wee bit…

2007: I had the most unhappiest, cryingest, screamingest baby ever. And it was our longest car trip. And my Grandmother rode with us, which made me feel awful for her sake to get to hear her Great-Grandchild scream incessantly for 9 hours. Each way. It most definitely took some of the fun out of that trip..

And I’m pretty sure it convinced JC and Lindsay never to have kids.

Thank goodness they changed their mind.

And thank goodness that Ali got much more enjoyable.

This year, though, there shall be no catastrophe!! I have non-mildewed lungs, no recently removed body parts, a happy three year old, and I shall enjoy myself to the max!

I’ll be posting about our trip on my adorably cute baby laptop that Chris gave me last weekend.

(Which is so cute and cuddly just like a puppy or bunny that it really deserves a name – any ideas?)

So, go ahead and convince your family to all quit buying each other gifts that you might or might not have to return anyway, put your money in an account, and steal our idea for gift-funded family vacations! Just try to avoid fungal spores, foot surgeries, and screaming babies for maximum enjoyment.

17 thoughts on “Free Vacation! With No Timeshare Seminars Required!!

  1. That REALLY is a brilliant idea. I think if my family won't agree to it that I will simply stop buying them gifts and deposit it into an account for something for me. That's fair, right?

  2. It's an outrageously fabulous idea and I love it! I don't think my extended family would agree to it, but maybe we should do that within our own family. Sounds like a plan, but birthdays around here would be somewhat dull~ at least in our kids' minds.

    Have a blessed time! I look forward to hearing all about it. How about naming your computer after the new restaurant that Chris took you to. Is that lame-o?

  3. Have a wonderful trip and drive safely…this is from someone who could be your mom. Can't wait to see pictures (lots of them) and hear all about it. Might be a place we eventually want to go to if we ever do a vacation again. I think I remember what they are.

  4. Yeah… I think you (and maybe Mawmaw) are the only one(s) who adhere to the rules and actually deposit the money into the account when you're supposed to. I always procrastinate (relieved that we don't have to spend as much $ in December as we normally would) and we end up just coughing up the money all at once when it's time to go on vacay. I think your parents have done this, too. I guess it's the same difference, but it definitely doesn't feel free :). Totally worth it, though! Looking forward to our trip.

  5. We are starting that this year with Ryan's family! We decided to only get gifts for the babies & that our present to each other would be an annual family vacation; this year we're going to a family resort in Missouri, we can't wait!

    Hope you guys have a wonderful time & that there are no major or minor catastrophes!

  6. My laptop is named Lola and my new iPod is Lilly. They are great friends. I'm glad I'm not the only person who names their electronics. Have fun on your trip!

  7. That is the best idea! It sounds like so much fun! I need to pitch that to my family and see if we could make it work. Hope you guys have a wonderful time!

    I have no suggestions for your new notebook…not feeling creative today. :)

  8. What an incredibly genius idea! I'm anti-present b/c we all have anything we need so we're buying things just to buy, which is ridiculous to me. I love the family vacation idea. Once our life returns to normal, I am going to have to suggest it.

    We lived in Jacksonville for almost 4 years before moving here and were half hour from St Augustine. Beautiful place! We've driven by Folly Beach but have never been so I can't wait to hear all about it.

    Safe travels!

  9. How fun is that?? Hope y'all have a great time! With no catastrophes…

    Your new laptop is definitely cute and cuddly… what about Lucy?

  10. By the way, we DO still buy presents for the little kids (there are only three) – just the adults do the no presents thing. It works well!!

    Great name suggestions! So far I like the restaurant name best – Kyma. Greek AND cute!

  11. I was going to suggest Thumbelina because the netbook is so small but after reading about your favorite name so far I don't see what could possibly make you choose Thumbelina over Kyma!

    And since I'm new to your blog I'll introduce myself by saying "We have the same name!" and I happen to also like naming my instruments of technology!

  12. I actually love this idea, but my some parts of my family wouldn't be as inclined…I think. I hope you have a great time!!!

    Computer names:
    Mini Me
    Wee One
    Cordelia Winthorpe-Stipplemeyer
    (why not?)

    You can't use Fiona. That is my Mac's name.

  13. Hi Rachel Liane! I love new readers, especially ones named Rachel! ;) Let me know if you have a blog – I love to check out my new reader's blogs!

    Jackamo – I've never wanted to name a computer Fiona so bad in my life…now that I've been told I can't.

    Chris suggested that we blend Kyma (the restaurant) with my computer's model name – Eee – and call it Keeema. I kinda like it.

  14. What a great idea! My first thought was, "oh wow, we should do that!" and my second thought was, "that won't work, because I like my presents often and NOW" :)

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