Well. There is no way, I can know what is right for everyone, but I can share, what is right for us. We have done this often, not been “home” for Christmas, and actually: The short version is: Don’t make a fuzz about it. Go live your life. It is good and fine, when we talk about it and incorporate, what is truly important for everyone in our core family. The less the stress, the better.
This year the list of important, coming from everyone in the family looks like this:
- Go to the beach
- Swim in the hot spring
- Dance around a palm tree singing carols
- Have some cinnamon cakes
- Call grandmothers
- Watch the sunset
That’s it. This year we got lucky to spend it with friends from Denmark, and Britain and Argentina, who came to visit. Wonderful.
The balance is: How do we get out of the rat race of Christmas, the overconsumption, the stress, the family obligations that are no longer pleasant, the extreme anticipation leading to overstimulation and sadness – and into the joyful, happy, peaceful, grateful Christmas – without leaving the modern world and becoming weirdos? We have tried many different solutions over the years, realizing it is not an easy task. The emotional relation to Christmas can be quite enormous, and the commercial force taking everyone into a state of madness is hard to avoid.
So, after trying many different solutions from home, we started traveling over Christmas, and learned, this is the better way. At least for us. Getting out of northern europe, and far away from family (we love you, but Christmas is too complicated, please forgive us) made Christmas much more joyful and meaningful. In 2008 we did not really dare, and left for India a few days after Christmas, realizing we might just as well have spend the celebration of love and light out on our adventure. 2009 we were in Thailand, open to what life might bring, but still caught up by the idea, we had to satisfy our children’s “need” for Christmas. We met two other families to spend the day with and had a wonderful, great Christmas on a remote island. It was an eye opener.
Sadly, after this, I got sick, and had to beat cancer, before we could go again. Luckily, we had another child after this, and needed some years to find our feet as to leaving for winters again. In 2015 we were at Tenerife, and in 2016 and 2017 we were at La Palma. The canary islands are great winter escapes, and the Christmas thing changed slowly, morphing into something real, something peaceful. In Tenerife we did Christmas at a huge beach and under a palm tree we had mangoes and avocados and a few presents. First year at La Palma, we did an amazing walk in the mountains and got to visit some goats and their hird, we went to an organic market and met Santa Claus, who gave out candy we did not like (but it was fun), and ended at a friends house very tired and happy. In 2017 we spend Christmas with our close friend Søren, and took him out swimming, even though he can not walk. And had a wonderful evening at home, just looking at the stars.
So, what is there to learn from our story? Well – I can highly recommend letting go of the idea of Christmas obligations. Letting go of all the tradition and musts and stress, and find your own way. If you are traveling with children over this time of year, take your time to do your own inner work, and take also enough time to talk to your children about the emotions, ideas, freedom, adventure and fake commercialism of Christmas, so everyone have a voice, and can walk happily through, what is truly important. That is: life.
Please share your experiences, reflections and questions in the comments, as I would love to hear from all of you: How did you spend Christmas, and how do you feel about it. Anything you want different next year, anything you will NEVER let go of?
Thank you for engaging. Cecilie