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Surviving Family Road Trips: Christmas Edition

It’s almost Christmas, and most of us are preparing to travel over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house for the holidays. Check out these FAQs so your family can do your Christmas road trip better this year.

Family Road Trip FAQ #1

Road trips are boring, right? Any tips on how to make them more fun?

Yes. Hear me on this: snacks.

This is the time for the Twinkies, the bright red punch, the mega-size bag of Twizzlers, and McDonald's fries for no other reason than salt and carbs. Our family has learned the hard way that you can’t get precious about food on road trips. All the chips, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and everything from the gas station.

This is road-trip food and it is so awesome.

(Also, Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Trust me on this.) 

Family Road Trip FAQ #2

Family trips = family fights, right? Any way to change that?

Definitely bribe your kids. Offer them anything, just so they will leave each other alone. Give them screens, iPads, whatever it takes so they will Stop. The. Arguing. For. One. Second.

And headphones—headphones for everyone. Ban all communication because with your family, every word turns into an epic fight.

Okay, kidding. Kind of. But, also, if you’re in the car for more than 20 minutes, you’re going to have to find something to do. Because yes, bored kids are fighting kids.

Here’s my best recommendation: give each kid $5 and show them the Target Dollar Spot. Load up with Uno, coloring books, three crayons per kid (they can trade), Mad Libs, and Car Bingo.

Silly Putty? Nope. Because you are an experienced mama, who has cleaned slime out of your carpet and have already banned it from your life.

Pro tip: your kids will want to bring backpacks stuffed with Beyblades, Hexbugs, and Simon Says, and you will have to say no. Because these are VERY LOUD and require a living room.

Also, yes, make a deal with yourself, that the iPads are the last resort. If you can get out of your home state without turning on electronics, then you can pass out the screens. Because at this point, you are basically winning at motherhood. 

Family Road Trip FAQ #3

Is it even worth it to see family over Christmas? Because, seriously, my husband is packing up an entire Barbie house that we’ll have to surprise our daughter with on Christmas morning. What is this madness? Wouldn’t it make a LOT more sense to just stay right where we are and facetime Grandma?

Nope. Facetime, Facebook, emojis, texts, and calls just don’t equal face-to-face kisses, and hugs, and stories, and laughing until tears run down your face.

Yes, you just call your parents on Christmas morning, but you won’t get to watch your kids help Papa make pancakes. You won’t get to experience the delicious way your aunt’s house smells when she makes her molasses cookies.

Yes, all of this is so important. Because these are your people. Will it feel WAY more inconvenient to drive for two days—when you could just say, “Siri, facetime Nana”?

Of course. But, really, what else are you doing? Scrolling Instagram? Watching Family Jammie videos? Arguing with your kids about Fortnite?

Make the trip home to spend the holidays with your people. Have Amazon Prime get the Barbie house to your in-law’s in two days.

Go make some family jammie memories and Instagram-worthy moments with the people who share your DNA, your history, and your family tree. 

Family Road Trip FAQ #4

Visits with my family can get awkward. They struggle with __________________ and this always causes arguments. It’s easier to just let them do their own thing.

So, families have been awkward since literally the first brother in the history of the world killed the second brother.

Chances are you’re not dealing with a homicide in your immediate family, so you don’t get a pass. If your clan’s issues are limited to political disputes, and where you should go for Christmas Eve services, you are already doing better than Cain and Abel.

But if tempers do flare at Christmas dinner, remember that the reason for the season is God’s unbelievable grace and His lavish love. All of this is never-ending. That means you can share TONS of it with all the branches of your family tree.

This is what Christmas is about: God’s eternal gift of Jesus, right in the middle of our messy lives. Celebrate it with your family.


Does Christina Hergenrader know family road trips? Yes, she does. Every year, she loads up her family’s minivan with four hyped kids, two gassy Greyhounds, and her lovable husband and takes on the open road. She loves sharing God’s grace with her people and has learned to save the best snacks for the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour road trip.

Get her newest book, Family Trees & Olive Branches, for a discount when you use the code TREE at checkout. Discount expires 12/31/2019.

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Christina Hergenrader is the author of ten fiction and non-fiction books, the wife of one incredible husband, the mom to four energetic kids, and the daughter of two patient parents. She shares God’s wisdom and her insights in her new book, Family Trees & Olive Branches. Connect with her at www.christinasbooks.com.

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