Thinking about skipping conventional Christmas celebrations this year? Source: Shutterstock.
CHRISTMAS DAY is less than a month away, but everyone knows Christmas starts way before this – as early as mid-November for many.
Christmas really begins when coffee shops dedicate their menus to nutmeg and cinnamon drinks, shops selling bulks of light-up jumpers, and the “Why not, it is Christmas after all?” excuse liberally applied to every drink and dinner invitation.
But among the fun Yuletide-themed events where we stuff our faces with mince pies, make gingerbread houses, and write our wish lists for Santa, there is often a lot of stress associated with this time of year.
Often, the stress caused by gift shopping, turkey ordering, and negotiating vegan dinner guests.
So then, why not avoid that stress all together and escape to a place where you can enjoy someone else cooking for you and where you can take walks along a beach or up a hill without worrying about burning the turkey in the oven?
How can you escape? Well, by booking a vacation.
If you’re worried about upsetting family and friends by going away and ditching the conventional celebrations, consider ways you can remedy their disappointment.
“We’ve done loads of stuff with both of our families this year and we’ve made plans to make sure we see both of Tom’s parents and siblings as close to Christmas as possible,” Weekendtourist author Jessica Friend explained to Travel Wire Asia.
Friend, her husband Tom, her parents and brother are set to go on a three-week cruise exploring the Amazon river in Brazil over Christmas.
Originally, a version of the trip was planned for October 2017 in the Caribbea but the devastating hurricane season saw the cruise canceled. Friend and her family were given the opportunity to rebook the vacation with a huge discount, an offer too good to pass up, even if it does fall over Christmas.
Another way Friend and her family are relieving themselves of the Christmas time guilt is by hosting and attending early Christmas Day celebrations.
Friend added that having a deep love for all things Christmas helped with getting organized enough to please family and friends before abandoning conformist celebrations.
“I’m a naturally organized person, so it wasn’t really a big deal to get presents sorted before we leave.”
“Plus I really love Christmas and I’m happy to get in the festive spirit as early as possible, so we’ve been getting Xmassy [sic] since the beginning of November.”
So, if you can get all your Christmas-related tasks done before jetting off, you’ll be able to relax on your vacation without a morsel of guilt to ruin your trip.
Equally, there’s no shame in skipping Christmas altogether, as Will and Caroline from breaks.com explained to Travel Wire Asia.
The pair booked a hotel in Amsterdam for Christmas as to “not to have to do the Christmas build-up dance”.
“[We] decided to book a hotel in Amsterdam to selfishly have some time together away from the madness and expectation of family,” they added.
Expectations from family are something every Christmas celebrator is familiar with. But Will and Caroline explained that the easiest way to escape expectation is by not committing to any plans and being careful not to cancel on people.
“Tell the family as early as possible so that you aren’t built into their plans and you can organize time to see them beforehand if you both wish to” they explained.
Ultimately Will and Caroline view traveling over Christmas with your loved ones as a “present to each other,” and no family can argue with that. After all, Christmas is all about presents right?
Alternatively, if you’re already traveling and can’t decide whether or not to return to home for Christmas, you should listen to your heart and dismiss any expectations your family and friends may have because if they care about you, they’ll want you to be happy.
“She’s on a journey of a lifetime, experiencing the world, I knew she wouldn’t be home for Christmas,” UK-based fireman Luca Romano told Travel Wire Asia with regards to his daughter who is currently traveling around East Asia.
Romano’s daughter has been traveling since August and hadn’t discussed the possibility of returning to celebrate Christmas, but Romano explained that neither he nor his wife was under any “illusion about her coming home for the festive period.”
“We miss her,” he said, “but we know she’s living life to the full and taking every opportunity to broaden her life.”
If you’re still struggling to justify abandoning Christmas, think of it the way University College London medical student Anastasia Krywonos does.
By viewing Christmas in a foreign country as a way to “step away from the commercialization of Christmas and a way to discover a new culture and their traditions.”
Krywonos has plans to spend Christmas in Myanmar this year with her fiancé’s family. She explained that her family were initially disappointed in her decision but have decided to remedy the situation by having an earlier Christmas dinner.
Also, it’s worth remembering that most industries minus hospitality, offer inbuilt vacation days at Christmas time and plenty of tour operators and airlines put on sales to encourage travelers.
If you’re still “Umm”-ing and “Ahh”-ing about whether to pack a bag and escape a traditional Christmas at home and worrying you’ll be riddled with guilt, why not suggest a family vacation?
On average a person in the US spends US$900 on Christmas gifts every year. But imagine if you could spend potentially less on gifting yourself and your loved ones with treasured memories that will last a lot longer than novelty toilet paper?
Ultimately, traveling at Christmas boils down to what’s important to you. If waking on up Christmas morning surrounded by your adult siblings and a half-eat mince pie on the kitchen counter is what Christmas is all about for you, then vacationing at this time of year probably wouldn’t make you happy.
But if you like the idea of avoiding the inevitable stresses Christmas brings and can imagine yourself lounging on a beach, sipping a mid-morning mimosa followed by an afternoon massage, book that trip now!
You’ll be glad you did.
Holly Patrick | @HollyMaeVogel
As a recent graduate of Journalism from Westminster University, Holly is keen on exploring the stories that hide in the most curious of places. She enjoys discovering new cultures, and has strong opinions about women's rights and how modern technology is influencing the globalized world. She also has a healthy inquisitiveness to find stimulating content… and the best pad thai in town.