Took me what, almost 10 years? But I finally figured it out. When I return home to visit family in Western New York for Christmas, I should stick around for about four nights.
Here was my issue in years past: I would only visit my parents back in Niagara Falls about three times a year. Also, I would usually end up with a ton of vacation to use before the end of the year otherwise it would be lost. So between not wanting to give up too much of my free days (I would inevitably lose some anyways) and falling victim to my mother’s guilt trip, I would stay home around Christmas for close to a week.
And by the sixth or seventh day, I would end up singing the same tune: next year, I can’t stay home for this long. I love my family but hanging out back in the house I grew up in just makes me a bit stir-crazy.
So this year I switched it up. First, I spread out my remaining vacation days over the final month-and-a-half of the year to ensure that I wouldn’t lose any. This also gave me a bunch of long weekends and quite frankly, one of my most enjoyable holiday seasons in recent memory. Then, I scheduled my trip to WNY around Christmas but made sure to just give myself enough time to see my family and attend an extra event or two, nothing more.
Mission accomplished. Saw all of my family plus a bunch of my friends, attended a few holiday parties, visited Orchard Park to watch my Bills lose to the Dolphins (don’t get me started) and drank a few Labatt Blue Lights in the process.
Other food highlights included my favorite meal of the year: Christmas Eve’s Feast of the Seven Fishes and a final night pit-stop to GoodFellas’s in Niagara Falls for my favorite pizza and wings.
Of course the most important part of the trip was my time at home. Almost as enjoyable was leaving Niagara Falls and not thinking that next year I should spend any less time there.