My family has never been traditional. We’ve never been the type of family who does things like all the others. That means, over the holidays we do have traditions, but they’re our own traditions. For example, instead of putting importance on decorating the tree, stringing popcorn on strings, having a nativity scene and singing carols – we do our own thing. Our traditions include wearing our pyjamas all day on Christmas Eve and ordering Chinese Food to eat while we watch girly movies. On Christmas Day, we normally volunteer at a church or shelter to serve a Christmas dinner to those less fortunate, and sit down to eat with them once we’re done serving in order to have company from people who may be alone over the holidays. We even hung our Christmas tree from the ceiling, and talked a lot more about what we’re grateful for then actually giving tons of expensive presents. It’s not for everyone, but it’s perfect for our little family of 3.
Since my sister has now moved to the other side of the country (we’re originally from Ottawa, and she moved to Vancouver after her undergrad), and my mom is now retired and living in Mexico, we have new ways to celebrate. I, too, am never in one country for long, and haven’t celebrated the holidays in Canada in over 3 years. For example, 3 years ago we all met in Mexico for Christmas (since it was cheaper for all 3 of us to fly to Mexico from Canada, then it would be for 2 of us to fly to Vancouver from Ottawa). Last year, my boyfriend and I spent Christmas on the beach in Phuket, Thailand, and this year, all 4 of us are meeting in Cartagena, Colombia for a week to see each other again after so long apart. Can you tell that we’re all total beach bums? 😛
I think that when people move away or travel for extended periods of times, one of their biggest concerns can be family, and this problem is exaggerated even more over the holidays. Even now that I live in Bolivia, when I tell people I’m going away for 2 weeks over the holiday, they all assume I’m going back to Ottawa. But why? Although we do have some good friends in the capital, we don’t really have family in Ottawa. Instead, we’d prefer to spend less money, enjoy relaxing on the beach, get together as a family, and explore a new country. All you need is a little flexibility and you’ll find that you can enjoy the holidays with family anywhere – especially if you have margaritas on the beach! 😉