Does your family have Christmas traditions? Mine does. Most Christmas eves were spent watching the Polar Express, even though we knew the girl was going to lose her ticket, and the golden bell was going to be the first present given on Christmas day. Well this year, unless we all pointed our iPhones at the TV while simultaneously on FaceTime with each other, we will not be continuing that tradition. When my parents first asked if I was coming home for Christmas I was excited to tell them that I would be spending it with some of my best friends that I’ve made here at the University. I honestly think they were a little bit caught off guard, but when they looked into things a bit more and realized a round trip back home to Canada cost about as much as a 2008 Ford Fiesta, their expressions soon turned from surprised to grateful.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am saving my parents a lot of coin by not deciding to fly home (you’re welcome mom and dad), but spending Christmas in England is so much more than just saving money, it’s about the experience I know I won’t get the chance to have again. My first stop is Cornwall where I’m sure I’ll have enough traditional Cornish pasties to last me the next 3 weeks, and my second stop is Oxford, a place my Grampie actually used to call home. As I’m writing, I’m about 20 minutes away from the beach in St. Ives, Cornwall, and it makes me think that this Christmas may not be that different than at my home back on Vancouver Island. Sure, the faces are different, there’s no snow on the ground, it’s a completely different ocean, and I’m pretty much butting into two different families Christmas traditions, but I couldn’t be happier, and that’s what Christmas is all about!
I like to think that my parents and I love the Polar Express so much because it’s a fun cartoon about Christmas, but once you’ve watched it a good 8 times you start to realize the message. While taking you on a fun adventure, the film makes Christmas about spirit, about family, and about believing in something a little bit more than that new iPad you hope is wrapped somewhere under the tree. The next time someone asks me about my family’s traditions, I won’t forget to include the Christmas of 2016 that I spent in England. Maybe I’ll tell them that our new tradition will be making the most of wherever we are in the world, whoever we’re with.
This year I’ve traded in pumpkin pie for Christmas pudding, and although I had to get used to the acquired taste, it’s something that I know I’ll never forget.
Merry Christmas y’all!