It’s the middle of the night. I can’t sleep. It’s November 24. One month until Christmas Eve. If I was in Canada I would be going full out on Christmas preparations. The trees (yes, that’s plural) would be up, the shopping full out, the wrapping centre set up with the matching wrapping paper scheme for 2013, you get the idea. Instead, I sent Christmas cards in October. I bought some wrapping paper and bows ( yes, old school bows) and I have no presents to wrap yet. It’s a very surreal feeling, almost like I am forgetting something or late.
I must admit I have very mixed emotions about this whole Christmas. Last year at this time we were packing our suitcases. The movers were coming to our house and clearing it out. We were to busy to even think of Christmas. Our friends were preparing for family traditions and get togethers, while we were preparing to leave our family. It was extremely bizarre, such a juxtaposition. Last Christmas was a blur. It felt like just another day. We tried to make it feel a bit like home but abandoned the idea once we realised how hot it was. This year is different. This year we are settled. My tropical Christmas tree has been replaced with a large, much more Canadian style tree supplied by my friend Marie France. I must admit, it’s much more my style. Keith’s parents arrive in two weeks for close to a month, so we will have family here. It’s shaping up to be slightly more traditional. To really try and add to the festivities, we have invited 30 people over in Christmas day to eat and be merry. So, my Christmas will be joyful. On the other side of things, being settled adds to the time your thoughts can be filled with memories. When you spend 30 odd Christmases with snow, family and traditions it becomes hard to shake. I miss the hustle and bustle of preparing for the season, the Christmas music, glittery lights and decorations, and the parties. And of course, I miss my family. But enough about that. No one wants to ruin an iPad with tears.
The Christmas season here has taught me many things. That bigger is not always better. Sometimes it’s the feeling you have in your heart that makes the season. It’s the friends that share a common thread that join you to celebrate and it’s as always, the faces of children that fill our hearts with joy. Presents and glittery paper are pretty and nice, but the memories I will have 30 years from now will have little to do with that. So, we will create new memories of our Christmases spent in New Caledonia, with our friends and family here. We will wear shorts, BBQ and eat cold shrimp, and be as merry as can be. Enjoy your preparations for this Holiday season where you may be.