How many of you spend Christmas in a different place away from home?
My family has always had ours in Christchurch (NZ), moving from our own home to the homes of our siblings.
A few years ago my family travelled to France for several months, so that we could experience a northern hemisphere winter. I concluded with the view that Christmas was made for the Europeans! In the southern hemisphere the month of December is manic as we have schools and businesses winding up for their summer vacations. Everyone wants their work completed “by Christmas”. There are school break-ups, work social events, everyone wants to have a party before people disperse for their summer vacations, and everyone is busily preparing to go away for a three or four week holiday. At the same time you are trying to do some Christmas shopping for your nearest and dearest, which involves driving on the roads which are already chocker with people going to school break-ups, attending work social events etc. etc.!
In France we did not have any of these stresses. People just enjoyed Christmas for Christmas’ sake. They went to the magical Christmas markets in a leisurely manner. There were no work events, no school break-ups, no stress!! So you wrap yourself up in a winter coat, wrap a scarf around yourself and head out into the streets to see the decorations, to stop at the corner seller with his glasses of “vin chaud” (warm mulled wine). Then you walk past the oyster sellers, always with a queue of people selecting these delicacies to take back to their apartments. You have the time to consider and prepare a feast, time to choose your chocolate Buche de Noel (chocolate log cake), and to select your seafood platter, and to leisurely browse the wine shelves.
So back in New Zealand, it’s summer. It can be very hot. Very busy! The arrival of 26 December is almost a relief!!
For me the thing that I most appreciated in France was being able to think about Christmas without the extra pressures. But at the end of the day, what more would you want, as long as you have your family around you. Joyeux Noel!
For other writings on Christmas I especially point out this article by Norbert from GloboTreks who writes about the joys of coming home for Christmas. As well you should enjoy reading what Caz Makepeace from yTravelblog.com has to write about her experiences of Christmas Day.