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 (www.gularavincent.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/drgularavincent) 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 https://www.gularavincent.com/subscribe-gularas-newsletter/.