Christmas is a wonderful time for friends, family, good food and togetherness… But it can also be a logistical nightmare. Between the near-militaristic precision with which Christmas dinner needs to be planned, the mounting expense of food and wine for a list of guests that seems to grow longer every time you look at it and the ever-looming threat of tipsy familial bickering it can all get a bit too much. Couple all that with the long, cold nights and the short but hectic days and it’s no wonder so many of us feel the inexorable call of exotic shores. Even the most staunch traditionalist can see the many and varied benefits that come with taking Christmas (and the family) overseas every few years, but just in case you’re on the fence allow us to elucidate…
Christmas is about more than presents
It’s a sad but unmistakable truth that we put far too much emphasis on the importance of presents at Christmas, but as long as we remain at home, where social convention and the relentlessness of advertising push the commercial aspect of the season to the forefront, it’s a tragic inevitability. Taking them abroad to a place where they celebrate Christmas differently (or even where they don’t celebrate it at all) can help your family to gain some much needed perspective on what the holiday is all about. Of course you can still stock up on presents and keep them in secure local self storage or with a trusted relative until you get back. Speaking of much-needed perspectives…
Travel is a great eye opener
Seeing a familiar tradition played out overseas in a different country by another culture really is its own reward. There’s so much to be gained from the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of how other cultures celebrate the season. If you have a gourmand in your family, this is the opportunity to open up a world of intoxicating aromas and tastes to them. If you have a culture vulture in your midst, they’ll be fascinated by the local traditions, celebrations and rituals of the season. Check out the giant lantern festival of the Phillipines, rollerblading Christmas traditions in Venezuela or the Cavalcade of lights in Toronto and you’ll come back with a whole new perspective on the holidays.
Sunny weather makes people happier
Many of us begin to feel the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder around this time of year. This form of depression can sap the joy from the inherently joyous holidays and leave you feeling tired, sad, irritable and prone to emotional outbursts as well as wreaking havoc with your sleeping patterns. It’s unpleasant to experience and to be around. If you know you’re prone to the effects of the winter blues a trip abroad to sunnier climes can work wonders. Sunshine is a proven mood booster that is known to trigger the release of serotonin and melatonin into the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that boosts mood while melatonin promotes healthy sleep patterns.
Spending Christmas in a sunnier climate can not only be great fun but send you back home with renewed vim and vigour.