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Whether dashing to visit family or just getting away for a leisurely trip, families spend the winter holidays away from home for different reasons.
The “Three House Run”
Christmas travels begin at 5 a.m. Dec. 24, for the Camp family, who set out on their annual holiday journey to Warner Robins, Ga.
For the past seven years, Lancaster native Jennifer Camp, husband Richard, and dog Goliath get an early morning start on their five-hour drive to spend Christmas Eve with Richard’s parents and grandparents.
“Richard has three sets of grandparents and they all live around Atlanta,” said Jennifer. “We see one set of grandparents for breakfast, one for lunch, one for supper, then we come back to Rock Hill and Lancaster on Christmas Day to spend time with my family.”
Affectionately known as the “three-house run,” the journey got its name from Richard’s parents, who made the same visits at Christmas when he was a young boy.
While the couple may spend several hours on the road, Jennifer values the time she is able to spend with her husband’s grandparents in Georgia and her last living grandparent in South Carolina.
“She is the only grandparent we have so holidays with her are special,” Jennifer said. “I would give my right arm to see my grandparents for the holidays so spending time with Richard’s grandparents makes it worth the journey.”
When spending time with one another, their families celebrate traditions such as reading the Christmas story from the Bible, donating to charities instead of buying gifts, and eating homemade specialties.
“Our favorite part of getting together is eating all of the recipes that we’ve requested the families to make for us,” she said.
Jennifer says plans could change for this year’s out-of-town trip since her family is expanding. This year, the Camps welcomed a new niece, as well as their own infant twin sons, Reeves and Brock.
“We’re excited about starting new traditions with them, too.”
For S.C. House Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell (D-44) and her family, their Thanksgiving tradition means pulling out their park annual passes and taking a trip to Walt Disney World.
Mandy, her husband Mitch, and their children, Teddy and Emma, try to visit the Florida theme park each Thanksgiving. The couple began traveling during the holiday before their first child was born.
During their stay, the Norrells enjoy their favorite rides – Soarin’ at Epcot and the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mandy, said their favorite park is the Magic Kingdom.
“The best part of traveling is the excitement when you get there,” said Mandy. “Everyone’s so excited and so fresh.”
On vacation, the family likes to take a slower pace and enjoy a more leisurely trip instead of rushing to see the sights.
“Years ago, we were very regimented and always pushed, now we relax as we travel and try to soak everything in,” she said.
While Mandy doubts they will be able to travel to Disney World next Thanksgiving, the family still plans to spend the holiday seeing sights away from home.
“This year at Thanksgiving, we don’t know where we’re going. We’ll start off in Atlanta and see what inexpensive flights there are out of town.”
Even plans around Christmas time will be different this year.
Though the family usually celebrates Christmas in Lancaster, Mandy said the season will be “a little bit odd” because she will be arriving home from a trip to India just days before Christmas. After the holiday, she would like to plan a family trip to Europe.
“My philosophy on life is that the experiences in life are far more important than things,” she said. “We want to give our children as much experiential learning as we can before they’re off at college.”