Christmas is only a week away, and for the first time ever, our children are spending Christmas away from their extended family of Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and Cousins. We are acutely aware of what a huge difference this will be for the children, and to be honest a little worried that our Christmas celebrations just won’t have the usual festive feeling. But, experiencing different things is what Our Global Adventure is all about, so we are taking special measures to ensure that this Christmas our kids have an experience that is different, yes, but still jolly!
This is the first Northern Hemisphere cold Christmas that our children will experience, it will be very different from our usual one in Australia where it is summer, and Christmas lunch is often a mix of hot and cold dishes enjoyed outside. Sadly, it is highly unlikely that we will have a white Christmas here in Ireland (maybe next year?!) but the kids have commented on how all of the ‘snowy’ scenes and decorations make much more sense here. We have rented an apartment right in the centre of Wexford Town, and we all love the wonderful decorations in all the streets around us. Lights are strung from every post, there are giant glittering trees, the store fronts are decorated and there is Christmas music playing all day in the main shopping strip. It’s impossible not to feel festive as we wander around our new home. This year we will be enjoying a lovely roast lunch, (vege for mum!) with all the trimmings whilst staying warm and cosy in our apartment.
We arrived in Wexford three weeks ago, just in time for the Christmas parade and the lighting of the tree in the town square. This was a wonderful way to kick off the festive season in our new home. We took the children down to the square where we were entertained by choirs and enjoyed the parade. The kids had a giggle when the Wexford Mayor told the crowds that “Santa visits Wexford first!” Ummm, the Aussie kids in the crowd were not fooled! “No Mum, he visits New Zealand and then Australia first!” We are making a point of taking the children to various community events happening around the town. Last weekend we went to see “The Nutcracker” at the National Opera House which is here in Wexford,, and next week we are rugging up to watch a Christmas film “under the stars” (there is a clear roof in case it rains, we are in Ireland afterall). We’re not sure if we’ll be lucky enough, but we are also hoping to see some crazy Irish folk taking a dip in the sea on Christmas day. Apparently it is tradition here, (oh my goodness!) so we’ll wander down to the quay to hopefully witness the madness.
The other tough thing that we have had to consider for the kids this year, is what do you buy children who only have as much ‘stuff’ as they can carry in their own small backpacks? Both the children use their iPods a lot. They carry them in their pockets wherever we go, and after 6 months of travel, their poor ipods have taken a bit of a beating, Oscar’s looks like it has been run over! And of course like all Apple products their old iPods are starting to get a bit outdated, and will not support some of the newer apps and games. So it’s time for an upgrade. We have asked our family in Australia to contribute to the new iPods or some iTunes vouchers. Other than new iPods, we will also be buying them small gifts of things that are consumable or useful, such as sweets, magazines, and clothing.
One of the great things about slow traveling, and having an apartment to call home here in Ireland, is that we can still do Christmas baking together as well. Next week we will be baking an assortment of Christmas treats that will be sure to make it start to smell like Christmas around here… Gingerbread can even make it smell like Christmas in June, so we’ll be sure to get some of that in the oven! Having our own space has also meant that we have been able to put up a Christmas tree and decorate the living room with paper chains. We have had an extra strong emphasis on decorations that we can make ourselves rather than buying lots of ‘stuff’ that we will need to find a home for when we move on next. And of course there will be plenty of Christmas carols playing from the laptop, which will be sure to drive Simon and the kids nuts, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Buble, Sinatra and Crosby!
To keep in touch with our family and friends back home, we have arranged to Skype with them on Christmas morning (evening in Australia) to exchange our Christmas greetings and share our day with them all. Skype is the most wonderful invention for travelling families, it really does make the distance between us feel less when we can see and chat with our loved ones. So we will ‘share’ a meal together, even if it is breakfast for us, and dinner for them 🙂
In the lead up to Christmas the children have also been watching Christmas films and doing Christmas activities for their homeschooling, much the same as they would have in Australia and when they attended school. It’s been fun learning about different Christmas traditions here in Ireland, (apparently we’re to light a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to light the way for Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem). We’ve already eaten far too many Mince Pies, but we are yet to experience ‘Spiced Beef’ whatever that is! So, as you see, whilst some things will be the same, others will make our first Christmas on Our Global Adventure a whole new experience. It’s all about the balance for us, and hopefully we can create some amazing memories for our children, making Christmas special for our traveling family.
If you do, how is your family Celebrating Christmas this year?