I don’t officially celebrate Christmas, not anymore… At this time of year I avoid stores and commercials and the insanity and instead remember the magic it held for me as a child, sparkly lights and family and simple gift-giving.
It’s been at least a dozen years that my little family celebrates in our own way, saving our pennies so that together we can make the trek to a warm beach in a sleepy village where we have no phone nor television, where we unplug and spend our days together, eating fresh fish, swimming with beautiful fish, hunting for urchins and swinging in the hammock with a good book. Our nights are equally simple, a walk through town, a card game, people-watching from a bench near the small church painted white and filled with voices young and old, off-key but heartfelt and joyous.
Oh, with time we all change, and the village is a bit less sleepy than it was when I first visited it twenty years ago, but is still lazy and uncommercial, simple and relatively disconnected. We’ve been going there long enough that we’ve made friends and feel quite at home.
Our time there is precious to us all, always an incredible reminder to us of what life is really about, as well as how fortunate we are. The contrast is great from the rabid consumerism of the season here and the simplicity of it there, where the holiday is equally festive, but enjoyed in the town square, at a communal table, with laughter and love. There are many children there who do not receive any gifts at all, ever, an important lesson for my own, especially when they were young and surrounded by first-world-fortunates for whom the holiday was all about making endless lists of endless wants whose scale seemed to grow along with their age, and then with the one-upmanship which followed.
I’m so grateful—for family, for friends, for good health, and smiles, and being together, for having the luxury of food in our bellies, and the ability to provide those we love what they need and more.
My best holiday wishes to you and yours, whatever you celebrate, it is a time to do so!
(The painting above was given to me years ago by my friend Gloria. I have no idea where life has taken her but will never forget her kindness, her joy, her friendship.)