This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

imageThis is a guest post from my dad, Grandpa Points. He and my mom are in their mid-60’s, are (mostly) retired,and are ticking off “bucket list” destinations quicker than they ever thought possible thanks to miles, points, and travel deals.  They have an intense love of this country, of its National Parks and treasures, and as explained in this post, this magical time of year. Today he isn’t writing about his budget travels, but instead sharing a story about this time of year with his words and pictures in a way much better than I could capture, though I agree 100% with every word. Enjoy, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you.

This little blog post is about my personal Christmas experiences. While I appreciate and honor all aspects of The Season, today my thoughts and vision are narrowed to my own mental and spiritual reflections of Christmas rather than on the material or religious.


My Christmas travels have always been short in distance, measured in blocks rather than miles. But my journeys through Christmas have been broad in scope and have taken me to the grandest of vistas, the most exciting of locales, the most colorful of experiences and as far and as wide as my imagination would allow. I have been to Fantasyland, Magicland, Wonderland, Futureland, CandyCaneland, Joyland, Toyland, Dreamland and  The North Pole (many times). My trips might certainly be described as the ultimate Smileage Runs considering the happiness and joy I have derived from them.


I look forward to, plan for and get excited about each approaching Christmas season with the same thrill as I do with upcoming future travels. It is important to me to have an event, a trip or an experience on the horizon to work toward and dream about. Christmas is one of those constants I can rely and depend on.

I am a child of Christmas. DSCN9721

I was born at Christmastime as was my brother, daughter, and a granddaughter with the middle name of Noel. Our family calendar is divided into two parts. January through June is A.C. ( After Christmas ) and July through December is B.C. ( Becoming Christmas ). Our family blood runs the normal red most of the year but, as the days turn shorter, a distinct green also starts coursing through our veins. By November, a blood sample will look like a brilliantly happy red/green liquid candy cane.



I am now on the cusp of turning 67 years of age. But, at Christmastime, I am as much child as I am adult. I inherited, I was blessedly granted through birth, the magic and the power of believing. My parents, from the beginning, made Christmas a BIG DEAL. It was, it is, a time of secrets planned, secrets kept, traditions followed and surprises rendered. It was decorations and lights, ornaments and icicles.


DSCN9737It was Wish Books and Toy Books and a creation of mystery and mystique. It was piling into the car  “to look at lights”  and driving to Foley’s and Sears to see their annual window wizardry.




It was a ceiling scraping Christmas tree under which (for a highly effective dramatic effect) no presents were placed ’til Santa came on Christmas Eve. Everything was done to make Christmas fun, exciting, joyous, special, memorable and to be an annual seasonal experience to be cherished and looked forward to.  We were from a family of very modest means, but at Christmas we had the greatest of riches and the most expansive of treasure.

I Believe in Christmas. It is, to our family, a truly special time of the year. We were nurtured by our parents with all the trappings of The Season; the real and the imagined, the tangible and the abstract, the believable and the unbelievable. We have successfully passed this gift down to our children and they to theirs.

In Christmas we find excitement, anticipation, joy, hope and a connection to our youth and it’s innocence. We find memories and traditions, poignancy and depth. A brilliant example of this is in the movie CHRISTMAS VACATION when Clark Griswold gets unwittingly stuck in the attic. There he uncovers hidden and forgotten gifts of Christmases past and he finds old home movies that he watches alone in silence with only his own memories, tears and smiles to keep him company.


To us, Christmas is family. It is a generational common denominator that we share with and among each and every other family member. Love and laughter flows as easily as the chaser lights on our Christmas tree.DSCF8829

We reminisce about the good ol’ days and about family members no longer with us. We also create new and lasting images and memories as family members are added to both share in and eventually perpetuate the rich tradition. Yesterday and tomorrow blend like a fine wine.


Our family has always fervently and passionately protected and promoted the whimsical spirit , the magical element of Santa Claus and all that he represents.






For us, Santa is a symbol of goodness and happiness. Of dreams still attainable, wishes still fulfillable and an innocence still in full bloom. Santa means sharing and giving in, oh, so many ways. Be it simply in offering a seasonal salutation, a pleasant gesture, an unexpected gift, a random act of kindness, a heartfelt thank you or spreading holiday cheer with the stringing of lights that others may enjoy.


We revere Christmas for the joy it brings to children.

For in the eyes of a child, we see a reflection of ourselves when anything was possible and when the power of belief was unabridged and unabated.

We want our descendants to know that feeling, to feel that excitement, to ride that wide eyed wave of wonderment and wow that can and should come with Christmas.


I have never seen a white Christmas but when I close my eyes (or go out the front door when the snow machine is on) I can see it as clearly and as surely as anyone, anywhere.




When Christmas carols fill the air, my voice mysteriously becomes harmonious and on key.  As December nears, my pulse quickens, my smile widens and an extra twinkle can be found in my eye. And on Christmas Eve, I won’t need to see if reindeer really know how to fly because, as you know, I believe.DSCN9750



The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.