I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (I mean, if you celebrate. If not, I hope you had a wonderful day of no traffic, empty restaurants, and whatever other bounty this holiday brings.)
We had a truly lovely Christmas. One of the best.
The holidays can be hard on those of us who live away from our passport countries. It is often now that we feel the sting of homesickness. The distance is more apparent now: we long for the smell of real fir trees; for a fire in a wood stove; for a kitchen table surrounded by aunties and cousins, cheeks red from one glass of wine too many.
The reality for our family is that we can’t often go home for Christmas. My kids probably won’t know the sound of laughter rising from the kitchen as the aunties roast a thirty pound turkey. They won’t run through snowy fields with their cousins, or go on a evening tractor ride, or pile into a freezing cold car, and drive an hour through the dark countryside, back to their beds.
For a while, for a long while, even, I was haunted by nostalgia for my Canadian Christmases. I wanted the magic for my kids that I found in snowy fields and wood stove-warm farm kitchens.
Their Christmas looks so much different than mine did. But maybe there’s a bit of magic in the lingering afternoon sun, in banana leaves, and grand hotel lobbies. We make our own traditions together. And the last few years especially, these traditions have begun to solidify and become something wonderful.
We host a Christmas Eve dinner, and then stop the meal halfway through to watch the Children’s choir in the lobby. We order breakfast from room service. We open presents slowly, taking time to enjoy our new treasures. We join our friends for a massive Christmas lunch. We go for a late afternoon swim. We spend time together and make the most of Christmas, the way it is where we are.
As we move on wherever life takes us, I’m sure some elements of our Christmas traditions will change (but please, I don’t ever want to give up a warm Christmas afternoon swim!) I’m glad to build something different and new and fresh with my kids.
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you made the most of it wherever you are.