Reinventing Christmas

I can’t believe it’s December. Exactly one month since we started our journey, and time for the holidays. This post is part of a writing project for the Families on the Move Group. You can read the links below about what other traveling families are planning this holiday season.

We spoke to a friend in New York this week and she says the city feels like the holidays. It’s cold, holiday music draws shoppers into every store, and christmas trees are lined up for sale on street corners. I love New York City in the holidays. It’s the only time I don’t mind the tourist attractions because that’s where I can find roasted chestnuts. The holiday lights are enough to take the darkness out of 5 PM sunsets.

It doesn’t feel like Christmas in Chiang Mai. We’ve seen just two Christmas trees, one at a tourist-frequented night bazaar and the other by the airport. The only holiday song we’ve heard is jingle bells. From Ava. Ava sings jingle bells all year long.

The area’s celebrations such as Loi Krathong have been so festive that we’re not yet missing the holiday spirit. We’ve been able to spend time together, share stories and eat good food every day. At the heart of it, that’s what holidays are about anyway.

In a few weeks we’ll be celebrating Christmas with my parents in Goa, India. We won’t be bringing any boxed gifts. Two bags, four people and a year’s worth of items doesn’t leave room for purchases along the way. Also, if our short month on the road has taught us anything, its that experiences are much richer and more lasting than material goods that wear, get outdated, or lost.

We will be giving gifts, just not the material kind. Our gifts this year include the upkeep and medication for an orphaned elephant in the name of  the recipient. Chiang Mai is home to many elephant orphanages that seek to provide safe environments for neglected, abused or overworked elephants. While we can’t replicate the same expriences we have had for our friends and family, we hope they agree these gifts are more meaningful, lasting and impactful than any handicraft we could have bought along the way.

We can’t speak for what we’ll receive this year. The kids have been happy with minimal toys and wev’e been fine recycling our week’s worth of clothes. Our bags are stuffed and our hearts are full. We’re looking forward to more time with loved ones around the tree and less time looking at what’s under.

What are other traveling families saying about Christmas?

A King’s Life: Forget the Gifts, Give an Experience this Christmas

Pearce On Earth: A Different Kind of Christmas

Family Trek: What’s For Christmas? Dear Santa, do we really need more stuff?

The Nomadic Family: Poverty for Christmas

New Life on the Road: Dear Mr Santa Claus Whats For Christmas

With 2 Kids In Tow, It’s Backpacking We Go:  Dear Santa, For This Christmas We Wish…

Living Outside of the Box –  The Best Christmas Presents

Discover Share Inspire: Christmas is Coming – What Do We Give on the Road?

Bohemian Travelers: Gift giving while living a simpler life

Little Aussie Travellers: Presence vs Presents Christmas Time for Travelling Families

Family Travel Bucket List – Feliz Navidad Without All the Stuff

Life and Views: Christmas Travelling

Adventurous Childhood: Christmas

Carried on the Wind: Christmas Giving

Edventure Project: On Christmas a Reflection on the Real Gifts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Filed under Religion, Thailand, Traveling Family Writing Projects

24 Responses to Reinventing Christmas

  1. shernaz patel

    Can’t believe it’s been a month since you left! Your photos and posts are wonderful and I eagerly await each one! You were all missed at Thanksgiving )and by the way the turkey thermometer popped up only half an hour late!) Looking forward to seeing you in Goa. Much love to you all

  2. Daphne n Kwok Hoong

    Hi, absolutely refreshing to hear your perspective if Christmas! God bless n keep you all as you discover more heart rendering experiences!!

  3. Pingback: The best Christmas presents | Living Outside of the Box

  4. so love that “More time with loved ones around the tree and less time looking at what’s under” – love it 🙂

    We are having our first xmas in our Motorhome, and we are so looking forward to our first year where we are giving more with time then with gifts!

    Have fun travelling 🙂


  5. Pingback: Forget the Gifts, Give an Experience this Christmas | A King's Life

  6. Jordana

    Yes, you have got it figured out!
    I totally agree about how Christmas should be more about spending time with family and dear friends rather than focusing on what gift we did or did not receive. 😉

  7. Pingback: What I think about Christmas on the road | Life and Views

  8. Sounds like a great perspective! I spent a Christmas in Varanasi and it was very special.

  9. Pingback: What's for Christmas? Go big or go simple for Christmas? | Family Trek

  10. Pingback: christmas | Adventurous Childhood

  11. Pingback: Singing For Our Dinner at Chew Clan Jetty Penang | a minor diversion

  12. Pingback: Christmas and a Muslim Sermon in Kuala Lumpur | a minor diversion

  13. What a great gift, of the support of the orphaned elephant! How are you feeling with the ‘different’ holiday spirit this year then in SEA? Definitely it takes the emphasis off of the material side of Christmas, but….?? Hope you have a great Christmas in India!

    • Diya

      KL has overwhelmed us with holiday spirit. Honestly, it’s a bit too much – carols, trees, lights everywhere! I’m so happy we avoided material gifts this year. We are off to Goa tomorrow – can’t believe we are leaving SEA. I feel that we have to brace ourselves for Indian madness now, but you know that better than anyone!

  14. Pingback: We Found Our Christmas Spirit | a minor diversion

  15. Pingback: Poverty for Christmas | The Nomadic Family

  16. Pingback: Poverty for Christmas Nomadic Family Travel Blog, World Travel with Kids | The Nomadic Family Travel Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *