Making Christmas Special for Our Travelling Family

Our little Christmas Tree in the windowsill.

Our little Christmas Tree in the windowsill.

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.

Wexford's Main Street looking festive.

Wexford’s Main Street looking festive.

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 ย ‘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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

Real Holly at Christmas time! It grows everywhere here in Ireland.

Real Holly at Christmas time! It grows everywhere here in Ireland.

7 thoughts on “Making Christmas Special for Our Travelling Family

  1. Merry Christmas from Aunt Patricia, Uncle Geoff and Rianna here at Clare SA. We are thinking of you all experiencing a northern hemisphere Christmas – early darkness, twinkling lights, turf fires maybe snow … picture post card stuff!! Wonderful!!! Have a lovely Christmas Day I am sure Santa will find you all there at Wexford!!! Ours will be a quiet day – just ourselves and Cathryn for a roast lunch with all the trimmings and then Kath and Luke for cold tea with yummy salads. Michael is working this Christmas and Carmen is in Canada working at a ski resort in Whistler – now she will be having a white Christmas!!! The weather man says it will be a mild day so that will be good. We enjoy reading of your travels and adventures, and do take care where ever you are and whatever you are doing – it is a different world out there these days and you are all precious. Now while you are on the eastern side of Ireland do find time to visit Glendalough (pronounced Glendaloch (in Ireland) – we pronounced it (the name of our property at Stanley Flat) – Glendalow. Glendalough means “Glen of two waters” and is in county Wicklow .. a beautiful place of significance with lots of history – we loved it altho’ it was a wet (soft) day when we were there. There is a national park and lots of things of interest to behold!!! Another place to visit south of Dubllin at a little place called Enniskerry is – Powerscourtt Gardens – one of the top 10 gardens of Europe – a most beautiful place – fountains – glorious gardens, vistas, walks, a pet cemetery tucked away in a quiet place, and a coffee shop!!!! Enjoy!!!! Ireland is my favourite place – all of it – everywhere. I have other places to tell you about when you get over to the west coast there. Meantime, Merry Christmas blessings to you all – good health, good cheer, and happiness right into the NewYear.
    Merry Christmas and love from us all here at Clare OOOO xxxx

    • Thanks so much for your Christmas wishes, its lovely to hear all about your family’s plans. It is cold here, but not cold enough for a white Christmas sadly – maybe we’ll find one next year. We actually went to Glendalough this week. Simon us just sorting through the pictures to publish. It was so lovely there, and there is so much to see, that we plan to return again as it’s not too far away. We are having a wonderful time exploring our little corner of Ireland, and are looking forward heading west in the new year.
      Much love from Simon, Gina, Lucy and Oscar xx

  2. Something terrible has just struck me. Whilst thinking of you all over in Ireland, and wondering about everything your up to, I forgot to think about Christmas home here. Other than you all being away, Gina’s baked Christmas Goodies will be absent!!! Ohhh dear, I guess I better have a crack at making my own gingerbread……

    Looking forward to skyping with you all Christmas day

    xx

  3. It is great to hear about your holiday traditions, and ours have a lot of similarities with making much of the decorations ourselves and relying on electronic gifts. Our biggest change since traveling has been the evolution of our Christmas tree. We used to cut our own fir tree every year before we traveled, and since we’ve had a cardboard Christmas tree that we painted and decorated, then a coat rack that we decorated, and this year a tall lamp with homemade ornaments. Not quite the same of course, but it helps us to remember that the ritual and being together are the most important parts. Hope you have a wonderful New Year!

    • Thank you for commenting. We had a lovely Christmas day celebrating together, and despite our earlier concerns that the children wouldn’t feel festive this year, they were absolutely fine! They thoroughly enjoyed our low-key celebrations, especially as they got to spend the whole day in their pajamas playing with their gifts, without having to rush off to extended family events. Skype is a marvelous invention I have decided, and whilst it isn’t quite the same as having our loved-ones near, it was pretty close! Yes, our Christmas Tree was deliberated over for weeks leading up to Christmas, and we discovered just how tricky it was to have a tree in the traditional sense, without purchasing all of the trimmings. Next year we shall have to be more inventive as you have obviously been ๐Ÿ™‚ All the best to you all, we’ll enjoy following your travels in the new year ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. It sounds like you all had a wonderful holiday season! I love to hear how other traveling families do holidays. You have totally sold me in how beautiful Wexford is, I would love to add it to our list of places to visit someday. Enjoy the cold! We are up in the mountains and it was -11deg F yesterday….ugh!

    • Oh my goodness Casey, -11 well that IS cold! I bet you cant wait to get to warmer Costa Rica, but cold, and especially snow, is special for Christmas isnt it? Our kids would love it to snow here, but its quite unusual here in SE Ireland. Wishing you all the best in 2015 – love following your adventure!

It's your turn! Please leave a comment or question.