A Very Different Christmas Perspective From Our Motorhome

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Monday 22 December 2014

A Very Different Christmas Perspective From Our Motorhome

For us Christmas can be a magical time of year, with happy childhood memories like trying to listen for Santa Claus, making Christmas decorations at school and the joys of Christmas morning bringing back emotions of excitement and joy. However, we also found that as an adult the run up to Christmas in the UK was a savage bombardment of advertising starting as early as September which could really suck the fun out the whole experience. Shops get crowded and people seem to go into a frenzy of spending that felt so detached from what Christmas meant to us, which was a time to appreciate your loved ones. But this year has been worlds apart from our old UK Christmas experience (with the Pogues playing seemingly on repeat) and we feel much happier for it.

Obviously just being out of the UK we are immersed in entirely different cultures to start with which has helped a lot. For example, unlike our previous Christmas in Britain where our local Tesco first created a Christmas 'seasonal aisle' in late September we didn't see any similar displays in France (where we spent October and November) until mid November at the earliest. Even then they were far less extensive, tiny in comparison.

We've also noticed that the introduction of Christmas branded advertising in general began much later in France and Spain than we had been used to in the UK. Although there is a chance that we might have missed some advertising on the radio for example since they aren't speaking our first language, generally speaking the image of a big Santa or Snowmen wasn't something we noticed until December.

However, the change of our experience runs deeper than simply being in different countries. Since moving into our motorhome we've become aware of a steadily increasing appreciation of much simpler pleasures. Taking time to read to each other, listen to music or watch a flock of birds were things we never used to feel we had time for and when we did have leisure time it used to be much more action packed. It was as though the time was so scarce and precious that every second had to be packed with excitement and we were always wondering if we were 'making the most of it'. Simply taking time to watch the world go by felt dull in comparison, almost like missing an opportunity.

Over the past months we've begun to see that living such a fast paced life meant that it took a lot to grab our attention and caused us to miss a lot of the beauty around us. We used to 'escape' to nature as often as we could at weekends, but would also come down to earth with a thump come Monday morning when the weekly commute resumed. We tried to consume less and be more mindful of our environment. But tiredness and stress made it hard and after months of advertising and dark wintery days the lure of 'Christmas Magic' being sold around us would have us caught up in the Christmas whirlwind of worrying about gifts and making less healthy food choices, despite that nagging feeling that it wasn't what we really wanted to do.

But this year Christmas has felt very different. With a much deeper sense of calm and connectedness to the world around us we don't feel the urge to click 'buy now' when we see another bargain appear in our inbox. We have still sent gifts back home with a round of online shopping in early November, but we've chosen fewer more thoughtful gifts to family and heartfelt Christmas messages over hurried  ones in Christmas cards necessitated by lack of time. We've taken the time to write to friends, old and new, to tell them what we appreciate about them and what they've done for us this year.

There are still downsides, the obvious one being that we won't get to see any friends and family this year, but we are in a campsite with decent internet and will do the best with Skype and telephone that we can. We also feel very fortunate that this campsite has a wonderfully friendly community making us feel very welcome indeed and we are looking forward to a peaceful Christmas Day just the two of us. Motorhome life and the time to reflect has really reminded us what it important to us about Christmastime.

1 comment

  1. Merry xmas you guys. Hope you have a lovely, peaceful day. Ours will be chaotic and noisy (but wouldn't have it any other way). Dan...Chris is trying to convince me die hard is an Xmas film...do you agree? Love to you both. Xxxxx


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