Making a "This Is Your Life" movie for your mom, dad or other is a great way to return the love, but not the only way. Here is one other thing I have done to do that with my parents. I would love to hear other ideas.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays were always a time when I automatically went home to see my folks. In doing so, I would be joining the millions of other people on the east coast crowding the highways or airports at the exact same time to do the same thing. Definitely worth it, but kind of a hassle nonetheless, especially given the fact that my midwest hometown, while a great place to grow up, isn't exactly a popular tourist destination.
Several years ago, I got an inspiration to change the way I thought about holidays. While traveling the world has been one of my favorite things, my parents haven't traveled much overseas. So one Thanksgiving, I asked them if they would be up for going to Europe with me over Thanksgiving week instead of me going home. I planned the whole trip and acted as tour guide, since I had been there before. It was kind of a nice way to repay my parents for all the vacations they did for me and my brothers when we were kids.
Well, that first trip was a huge success. They saw a place in the world they probably wouldn't have gone to without my encouragement and planning. I had a great time showing them something and seeing them enjoy it. Even though I had been there before, traveling with them made it all new in fun way. Since they depended on me a lot since I had the experience traveling overseas, it was kind of fun to flip the relationship we had in earlier travels together when they knew and did everything. While traveling, we turned into friends as much as family, which was really fun.
Since that first trip, we try to do one of these trips every Thanksgiving. We have done trips to England, Scotland, France, Chile, Belgium, and Italy over the years that have been wonderful.
One nice surprise I found too was that traveling overseas during US holidays actually was a lot easier than other times. While flights going between US cities are crowded and expensive during the holidays, they are often cheap and less crowded when going overseas. Also, when you get to the places overseas, they tend not to be crowded with tourists, since it is off-season and US tourists are busy at home.
Do you have other ideas for ways to pay your parents back for all they did for you growing up? Stories of things you have done? Share them with a comment below to inspire others.