You know when you’re a child and Christmas is truly the most magical time of year? The feeling you get when you hear a Christmas carol, watch a Christmas film, give your mum a warm hug or smell freshly baked cookies. These are little joys that make the season feel special. But with age that overall magical Christmas feeling started to disappear. It is sad to say but being an adult sucked the magic out of Christmas for me.
I remember having jobs where I worked Christmas eve and rushed home to wrap gifts. I remember feeling frustrated about buying gifts and anxious about what the receiver will think. In fact, the time leading up to Christmas was not joyful, it felt like a massive never-ending errand. How pathetically sad. And the icing on the cake was always my European-born husband saying: “It’s a shame you’ve never experienced Christmas in Europe, it’s really beautiful-” Before he could go on to rave about the Christmas of his childhood I would roll my eyes and say: “Yeah, yeah, it’s not about where you are. It’s about growing up. Life and responsibility and the heavy stuff that make Christmas different.” But boy am I eating my words, because a European Christmas is truly different! For someone who has never known anything but at an Australian Christmas, I feel like I missed out celebrating an entire Christmas season.
Although, I was taught about the advent season and preparing for Christmas in the religious sense, I had always seen Christmas as a ‘day’ to frantically prepare for. I have never experienced Christmas as a communal season until now. From the beginning of December in Basel the entire city is festive! Lights and real Christmas trees line the streets and Christmas markets pop up with stalls selling gluhwein and freshly roasted chestnuts. There are social events and Christmas craft workshops on for young and old, and the vibe is just heart warningly charming. For the first time in a long time, I found myself really enjoying December; making handmade Christmas cards with my children and friends, building gingerbread houses and not rushing to get anywhere.
Now, I don’t think I was entirely wrong when I said to my husband, “It’s not about where you are. It’s about growing up. Life and responsibility and the heavy stuff that make Christmas different.” I think I could have had the same Christmas magic in Australia, but the obstacle was where I was internally not physically. Having two kids and a full-time job can get the better of you, if you let it. Feeling rushed and anxious can make us forget what Christmas is really about. If we go back to Australia I hope to make Christmas an entire joyful season again. If the Swiss life has taught me anything it’s that living a slower life lets you live in the moment and prioritise what’s most important – family. The first Christmas was all about a family doing everything they can to be together, so I hope you have an amazing slow Christmas and treasure the little joys of Christmas and hold on to the feeling of ‘together’.
To my family and friends in Australia and around the world, I really wish you were here!
Merry Christmas Nomads,
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”― Maya Angelou