Every year we look forward to spring break with our friends in Salt Lake City. Our two families have been skiing together for years, with Matt as our fearless leader who introduced all of us to Snowbird and Alta- and now we love these mountains like he does.
After a week of fun and togetherness, the last night of vacation there are always some tears and it's made even more difficult because we are saying goodbye not only to vacation, but to our friends, too.
Enter the awards ceremony...
When I was growing up our family took ski trips with our good friends, The Millers. At the end of the week our two moms would stop at the gift shop and find unique pins (remember when those were popular?) - one for each of us- and acknowledge each of us for something. It might be "most improved" or "most moguls conquered" or "most graceful."
I modified this a bit and spent about 30 minutes with a notebook reflecting on each one of our troopers. What traits stand out about them and/or what experiences on this trip really highlighted their strengths or showcased their personality in a meaningful way?
For naming the award, I drew on beloved characters from some of our favorite family movies. Then it was just a quick trip to the gift shop for a sticker for each person.
I surprised them with an award ceremony on the last evening of our vacation. They were as excited to hear the others' awards as they were to get one of their own.
Here's a recap of our awards:
Abby- The Buddy the Elf Award for her eager attitude, always the first one up and out on the slopes, and her overall happiness just to BE at Snowbird. (World's BEST CUP OF COFFEE?!!)
Claudia- The Ferris Bueller Award for her relaxed, easy-going attitude and always finding the fun in any situation.
Janie- The Hermione Award for her optimistic attitude, studious nature (even helping Sydney with her overdue English paper on vacay) and being steady and level-headed on the slopes.
William- The Lane Meyer Award for skiing the K12 (did you know that scene from Better Off Dead was actually filmed at Snowbird?!) AND getting the most air.
Sydney- The Lightning McQueen Award for skiing super fast and having a strut wherever she goes.
Bridget- The Dory Award for her steady, laid-back attitude and little bit of goofiness making us all laugh at her unexpected comments.
Maxine- The Rapunzel Award for her independent spirit. She loves her family but is pretty excited to get away from them and do her own thing, too. (Picture the scene from "Tangled" where she is finally free from the tower.)
Sophie- The Olaf the Snowman Award for crafting the most perfect snowball ever and being so attached to it she kept it in the freezer all winter.
Finn- The Dash Award (from The Incredibles) for whizzing down the slopes and- ahem- whizzing in the trees.
And then we had to wrap it up with the dads...
Matt- The Crush Award (as in the the tortoise from "Finding Nemo")- for always being so accepting and encouraging of each one of us.
Bill- The Clark Griswold Award- for putting together the family trip with such determination to make a wonderful trip happen. No matter what.
Everyone got a kick out of their award and, I hope, felt seen and truly special. As wonderful as family trips are, they can be quite busy. Taking an opportunity to slow down and think through a special moment or trait of each of your loved ones is a great way to commemorate time together. It was an enjoyable- and affordable- activity for me and it brought a cheerful sense of closure to one of our happiest weeks of the year.
Here's to making memories with the ones we love!