Three Generations of Family Fun

Growing up as one of seven children, it was always a big deal to get everything together for vacations and holidays. As the years passed and everyone started moving away and having their own families, it became even harder to get everyone together for holidays. We really wanted to make a habit of vacationing together again, especially so the kids could have a chance to see each other and stay close. Hotels were always small and cramped, and it was hard to find a place with amenities for everyone to stay busy, but family time was important so we did the best we could.

In 1995 my family made the decision to purchase a timeshare in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After we purchased, several other family members also purchased timeshares at the same resort. Our tradition of meeting at our resort for Christmas every year had begun. It was just a perfect place for everyone to meet.

Over the years our family gatherings have been a great way to keep up with and meet new members of the family. We now have three generations of relatives that typically make the trip, ranging from six of us up to 20 or so at times, from all over the country. We always stay in several chalets next to each other, which provide plenty of space, kitchens, laundry, and bedrooms with private space for everyone.

Because of the age range in the group, we all have different interests, but the area offers so much local flavor that there is always something to do. Some of us enjoy shopping, riding the trolley to different sites in the area, and definitely taking in the natural beauty of the area. Between the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and all the other tourist things to do, it’s easy to stay busy.

Even if we split up during the day to do our own activities, we always gather together for dinner in the evenings to share the day’s adventures. We either grill out or use the kitchen in the chalet if eating in, or head out into town for a big dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Every winter for the last thirteen years, I’ve received the best holiday gift a person could ask for—my entire family coming together for a week during Christmas. I feel so lucky to be able to have a place where we can all be together, while at the same time having our own space. Nothing can top the warm feeling I get inside while watching the twinkling lights of town from our balcony and spending Christmas with ones not seen nearly enough.

Overall, it was one of best things I could have done for my family to make sure that at least once a year, we always get to be together as one big family.


Siblings Without the Grandkids

For forty some years now, whenever my sister and I have vacationed together, we've always had our children nearby, then grandchildren, and the vacations have, rightly, centered around the kids—their activities, their interests, their bedtimes, thei...