Days of Christmas, Guest Posts

What I love about Christmas: Sea, Sun and Family


My favourite thing about Christmas is downtime, sunshine and family. Wait, you may say, but you live in England where sunshine is a rarity in the midst of summer, never mind in gloomy December.

Let me explain.

I come from a different tradition where we didn’t celebrate Christmas. Although my experience of Christmas in England has been positive, I never got into the whole ritual of buying mountains of presents and cooking the traditional Christmas meal. It might also to do with my husband’s disappointing  childhood experiences of Christmas and the fact that he’s a vegetarian, so stuffed turkey is not something that appeals to him.

A couple of years ago, we found a solution. We invented our own Christmas tradition.

Every year we fly out to somewhere sunny for some quality family time. We avoid being bombarded by Christmas adverts and OK, we may get fewer presents, but we also give fewer too. Perhaps a Christmas tree in the sunny Canaries may not have the same magical effect as in snowy Lapland or grey England, but hey, I’ll take it any day. We get pampered with meals ready prepared for us. I switch off completely: no phone, no internet. Just family. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is about? (I know, there’s more to it, but I don’t know a better way to have a family celebration than being in a space where I can give them my undivided attention.)

Besides, there’s something magical in dipping your toes into warm sea water when the rest of Europe is wrapped up in layers.

Obviously, I know many people take pride in celebrating Christmas properly, and I totally respect that. This is what works for me: I get to enjoy myself and my family, I have some reflection time to evaluate the past year, and prepare myself for the year ahead. I return with more creative ideas than I can action in one go, the winter passes by much quicker, and the number of colds in the family is significantly less.

What about you, dear reader? Any unusual Christmas traditions in your family? Please share.

Dr. Gulara Vincent is a writer, university law lecturer and a Momentum Mentor for Writers. When not writing or teaching, she helps women writers to re-write their inner stories so that they can (re-)gain momentum in their creative process. You can connect with her on her website (, on Facebook ( or Twitter @gulara_vincent. Better yet, sign-up to her mailing list to receive compassion meditations and other support she sends out to her subscribers

11 thoughts on “What I love about Christmas: Sea, Sun and Family”

  1. Actually, Gulara, your Christmas sounds magical to me. I don’t care about being in a sunny land so much, but I think that Christmas has been blown out of proportion and it has become far too expensive. I would LOVE to simply have family time, but my daughter and family now live on the other side of the state and my son now has two small children, with a wife full of anxiety because of the children. Plus, I now am caretaker for my husband. It is like the holidays are working against me. Frankly, I’m looking forward to a NEW YEAR, where life will become better.

    Christmases past, I would cook for both sides of the family, and they would bring food too. We usually enjoyed 17-19 people for dinner… now I’m down to two. I miss the fun of having a variety of people around me for the holidays. So I think your holiday sound RICH and FABULOUS to me. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Gwynn. I admire your past tradition of hosting 17-19 people – that’s a lot of people to feed! Sounds fun though. I think these traditions come and go in waves. I suspect once kids are a bit older, they wouldn’t want to go anywhere at all, and we’ll have to cave in and do a ‘proper’ Christmas meal. 🙂 I hope new year brings you joy and relief. 2016 has been a tough year. Many thanks for stopping by here and for all your support.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think it’s about the monotony, Simon. I think it’s about the familiarity. With the year coming to a close and this being the last big bang, the last time to see family and enjoy good food, there’s some comfort behind knowing exactly what will happen. And there’s the memories that will be stronger in your mind because you do repeat them over and over again. At least, that’s how I see it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Simon. I think life can become monotonous exactly because we create mini-traditions all the time: how we eat, work, sleep – you name it, can turn into a sort of tradition. Having moments to experience life afresh is the way to break the monotony. For me personally, the change of scenery is the easiest way to wake up and to be in the moment. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. It is a challenge – being awake from holiday to holiday is not exactly the way to be alive. 🙂 It’s so easy to slip into monotony. How do you break the monotony of life, Simon?

          Liked by 1 person

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