The cost of Thanksgiving
My wife and kids and I live a fourteen hour drive from my family and a twelve hour drive in the exact opposite direction from my wife’s family, so sometimes it is difficult to make a decision about where to spend the holidays. This year we drove east to be with my family. Here are the numbers:
Gasoline: The trip is a thousand miles one way and our minivan gets approximately 21 miles per gallon. We will drive another 200 miles during the four day visit and then another 1,000 miles to get home. Total fuel cost: $280.
Food: We pack lots of snacks and try to keep food costs low as we travel. We always have a cooler and drink plenty of water. Even so, on a fifteen hour journey with three kids, food must be purchased. We will spend around $60 on food.
Lodging: We have not yet driven the entire 1,000 mile trip straight through. We are discussing the possibility of doing just that this Sunday, however, if we stop to stay the night in a hotel on the way home as we did on the way here, our lodging costs will be around $160 for the entire trip.
So, as far as direct costs go, the final total cost for this trip to see family and friends will be around $500. However, there are some indirect costs such as missed employment and the $1,200 car repair bill that we incurred two weeks ago while getting the van checked out in preparation for this trip.
There may be some who think that the time, distance, cost and risk associated with a trip of this length is not warranted by the need to see family – there will be a point this weekend while speeding along on some interstate where I may agree with you – but the fact is that Mrs. Stew and I place a high priority on family relationships.
We are willing cut our cable, eat bag lunches, rent a small apartment, conserve energy, grow our own food all in an effort to reduce expenses, but there are some things that we are committed to, no matter what the cost. I know too many families who do not spend time together, nay, cannot spend time together. God has ordained that I am a member of an extended family that enjoys being together. The laughs, the memories, the old photographs, the hugs, the grandchildren holding grandpa’s hand are some of the true joys that this life holds. They are too important to miss on account of 500 bucks.
And a month from now, we will drive twelve hours the other direction . . . Happy Holidays!
Article by Stew
Photo by Grace Family