I had writer’s block. Halfway through writing my post debating the existence of a normal expat Christmas I was stuck. Mr Wanderlust tried to help and suggested a different angle for the post. “Instead of writing about how our Christmases aren’t normal,” he said, “why not write about why we love travelling for the holiday season? Give them our rationale. Our reasons to travel for Christmas.”
I was too far in and couldn’t see how to make that fit in with what I’d already written. But I loved the idea and couldn’t wait to get started so here you go. My top 15 reasons to travel for Christmas.
1. No food shopping
Don’t get me wrong. I love entertaining. I even love cooking (despite point 2 below!). But the shopping is not my most favourite part. I used to, so I think I can blame the Things for the fact that I no longer have the time to meander round a supermarket looking for inspiration! These days it needs to be planned in advance, quantities calculated and space made in the fridge. I won’t tell you about the panic of getting to the supermarket to find they’ve run out of a key ingredient.
The idea of travelling and being somewhere that we don’t have to do this is worth it’s weight in gold.
2. No cooking
As I say, we love having people over. But that’s not to say I love running around getting hot and flustered while my guests are arriving.
So, to take the pressure off, I always make sure I choose a nice simple recipe to follow. It’s usually something low maintenance that I can do the bulk of the work before my guests arrive.
Christmas lunch (or dinner depending on your tradition) is on a whole other level. Seemingly needing constant attention despite basically being a big roast dinner… I love love love home-cooked roast turkey and all the trimmings but if I can let someone else cook it for me then I’m happy!
3. No cleaning up
No washing up. No cleaning up.
I think I can leave that point right there.
4. Less pressure on one household to host
It’s a bit all or nothing with Christmas.
If you’re hosting you’re hosting and possibly welcoming a whole bunch of people into your house. You might even have people staying for a few days or weeks. It’s hard to share that love around particularly if people have travelled long distances.
Then it’s not just that one day, suddenly you’re catering for multiple people for multiple days. It’s a huge pressure on whoever that role falls… But when you travel you share it all equally (or transfer it to someone else entirely!)
5. Less presents
If you’re travelling you have to be prepared. No last minute shopping and certainly no packing what you can’t carry. That’s totally fine with me.
I’m getting so overwhelmed with the Thing’s playroom lately that it’s stressing me out. I can hardly believe that we’re about to add to what’s in there. Father Christmas has already written to the Things warning them that he can’t get them everything on their lists (they’re long lists lol). Not just that but we’re doing a reverse advent and will be putting aside a toy or a book for every day of advent to give to children who need them more than us.
6. More presence
Without all the presents and cooking to think about, there’s so much more time to be present and in the moment. I know that seems like a massive cliché but it’s really true. When I’m at home it’s too easy to get distracted and to fall into the rut of day to day life. On holiday there’s so much less of that.
7. Get away from it all
December can be a miserable time of year! People are tired and run down. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then the days are dark and cold and probably wet too.
What better time to get on a plane and head away from the rat race for a while?
8. R&R for everyone
It stands to reason that if you can get away from it all and there’s no pressure on one person to host then that means everyone gets to relax! Everyone gets a break. Everyone gets away from the day to day monotony.
Everyone’s a winner!
9. Guaranteed weather
Some of us want to escape the cold and go off in search of winter sun. Others tell me that they need to be cold and see snow to really get into the Christmas spirit.
Whatever you’re looking for when you travel for Christmas, with some careful planning you can get the weather you want rather than what you’re dealt wherever you live.
10. Pressure off the “perfect Christmas”
So all these people that get together for Christmas…. They’re run down (and maybe ill), they’re probably fed up with work or school and they’re in need of a break. What better way to have the perfect Christmas with all the people they love (and maybe some that they don’t!), right? Wrong! How many times have you found Christmas was an anti-climax at best or ended in an argument or with tension or worse?
We find that the Christmas part of the day is just another part of an awesome day that we’ve got planned. We might be skiing, hiking Petra, going to the beach or taking advantage of activities put on for us by a hotel.
Whatever we’re doing, it really takes the pressure off the whole day being perfect – and usually it ends up being better anyway!
11. Something different
So if we’re so busy doing different things, that means that we’re not vegging out watching the same old Christmas movies. Now the Things do get screen time on Christmas Day but nothing like what most people do.
It’s brilliant to be having a completely new and unique experience.
12. Better for your waistline
While we’re out adventuring, we’re getting some good exercise in! We’re also not snacking on leftover turkey and trimmings or raiding the Christmas chocolate bowl.
I’m the worst for over-indulging over the festive period and, believe it or not, travelling helps keep me in check.
13. 18 summers? Add 18 Winters!
I’m sure we’ve all seen the posts and the memes that go around telling us to make the most of every summer we have because we only get 18 of them before our kids up and fly the nest. I disagree with this on so many levels not least because we holiday with my family and Mr Wanderlust’s family at least once a year each and we are a looooong way past the 18 mark lol.
Mostly I just think this is a misleading headline. There is so much more to life than the 18 summers we get. Add 18 Christmases and you’re up to 36. Easters and Spring Breaks can take it up again.
Let’s make the most of ALL the time we’ve got, not just the summers.
14. New cultures = new traditions
I love that when you merge 2 families you marge their histories and quirks (ok, ok, we don’t love all the quirks). You get each other’s customs and traditions which is also pretty cool. When you travel you get this too. Mr Wanderlust’s family still make a galette for 12th Night which is a tradition they picked up in France where they lived when Mr Wanderlust was a little boy. We loved being in Australia for Christmas where the tradition is more barbeque on the beach than roast dinner by a roaring fire. In South America I embraced the tradition of celebrating on Christmas Eve.
Whether you like and keep those traditions or not, it’s yet another way to show your Things that there are beautiful differences in the world and to celebrate them.
All of these reasons boil down to this last one. Which should really be the first.
We choose to do spend travel for Christmas because we are travel addicts in the first instance. But we also do it because we can all remember each Christmas so clearly because we have done such wildly different things.
But honestly… whether you have reasons to travel for Christmas or not, Christmas is about making awesome memories with your most favourite people.