This year marked Eben and I’s 6th Christmas abroad, with traveling, honeymooning, and sailing always falling on this special time of year. So we have come to make some traditions of our own. We had to forget about the snowy white Christmas, and how even though that snow is freezing, it does help to spur on the holiday spirit. We also had to forget about the 6 foot tall Christmas tree and the garage full of ornaments. This is how we have honed our “Christmas Cheer” over the years and have now reached nomad-traditions we really enjoy.
1) Be prepared. Our first Christmas abroad with Arias we were not prepared. We were in Georgetown, Bahamas, where there is hardly anything gift-like to buy, especially for children. So our dear daughter ended up with dog chew toys as presents. Luckily for us she was only one and couldn’t care less, she quite enjoyed the squeaks they made! This year, with the timing of our trip to Canada, we bought all of our Christmas gifts 2 months in advance and brought them back to the bought with us in a big tupperware bin.
2) Decorate, mini size. We are now the proud owners of a 2ft tall fake christmas tree that stows nicely in one of the compartments behind our settee. In that same compartment we also keep our ziplock size baggie of tree ornaments, and a bunch of different wrapping papers which I have removed from the rolls and folded neatly into little squares. For everything else, we make it ourselves with construction paper. (This also makes for a few days of crafting activities for the girls!)
3) Traditions. We kept those traditions that we held dear, the ones that reminded us of our childhood Christmas celebrations. We still do eggnog, Christmas carols on the boat, finger-foods on Christmas eve, one present opened on the Eve, the reading of the birth of Jesus on Christmas morning, and crepes suzettes. Don’t forget those delicious crepe suzettes, that Eben has made his own tradition of always ending up making them in the wee hours of the morning because he left them till last minute!
4) Presents. Don’t go overboard with the presents!!! We just can’t. We can only fit so many things on to a boat. So if something new comes on to the boat, something old most likely will have to go out. Christmas translates to purging of old toys and clothes. And even outside of “space” constraints, Christmas is not just about presents, so there is no need to go overboard, just enjoy the holiday.
5) Be Open to the New. Our lives are constantly changing and we have become pretty good at not being able to have longterm concrete plans. This year, that meant that we didn’t know where we would be or who we would be with until two days before Christmas. To our delight we ended up with an awesome crowd of people. We had Christmas Eve dinner with our longtime friends Jac and John (s/v Jacasso), and later that evening went to hang out with new (and future long term) friends Jody and Peter (Where the Coconuts Grow) and Kim and Jeremy (s/v Laho). They spoiled the girls with gifts, and we had so much fun making all these new friends and reconnect with old friends. It was a great way to spend the holiday, we didn’t not feel alone, at all.
**Also on the “be open” topic, we did not expect to find the harbour we were in to be packed full of rafter-up motorboats on Christmas day, partying at full force, blaring the music, and showing off a fair bit of female skin! But it made for a good laugh, some good people watching, and a new experience.
the Christmas elves are ready for some tree decorating
Ellia thought they were socks!
Placing the star atop the tree
While the girls slept Santa crept on to the boat and left them a few gifts
Of all the presents we got them, the hand sanitizer was the biggest hit!
We were so happy with how the girls attitudes this Christmas. They took the sharing mentality to heart and were great with all their new toys. The only thing I would have changed is them waking up at 7am after we had all had a later night the night before! But hey, we made a new Christmas tradition, family nap on Christmas day!