The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

DISPLACED Q: Where and how would you spend your ideal Christmas?


For the last 14 years, we have spent Christmas in Connecticut. It sounds ideal – it’s the name of a classic Christmas film, for goodness’ sake – yet recently, more and more, I’ve wished to spend the festive season elsewhere.

By ‘elsewhere’ I don’t necessarily mean Olde England. Although I may be overtaken by the occasional yearning to spend a foggy afternoon in a pub while Slade and Wizzard bellow Christmas songs in the background, the feeling usually passes after two aspirin and ten minutes in a darkened room.

No; now that youngest child is healthily skeptical and I don’t have to invent elaborate fibs about how Santa Claus is going to track us down at another location, more and more I would prefer to spend Christmas somewhere — well, warmer. Much warmer. Maybe in another hemisphere, even.

But (someone is bound to say) you’re in New England! You have White Christmases!

It’s cold, certainly. But white? Not really. Of the fourteen Christmases here, only one has been properly white. While we have snow, and lots of it, the timing is always spectacularly bad. In any case, any aesthetic pleasure in snow is dimmed by the worry of whether the power lines will collapse before or after the beef comes out of the electric oven, and if it will be necessary to raid the kids’ Christmas toys for batteries for flashlights.

Speaking of my kids, they’re a traditional lot. They like Mum’s roast beef and Yorkshire puddings (the British roast turkey was shelved long ago when it became apparent that you can have turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but not both) and my last suggestion of being anywhere but Smalltown, Connecticut on December 25th was met with howls of distress.

Christmas in Aruba? Barbados? Cancun? You’d think I’d suggested Christmas In The Workhouse.

I showed the kids a photo of Santa-hatted people frolicking in the waves at Bondi Beach.

“Doesn’t this look great?” I pleaded.

One of them sniffed. “Christmas is meant to be cold,” he said.

Cold outside with the central heating turned up to 75 degrees, that is.

“How about Disney World?” suggested another. “It’s supposed to be really nice at Disney at Christmas.”

OK, I can see a couple of advantages: above-frigid temperatures, and fake snow that won’t cut your electricity off. The disadvantages: too many to enumerate, but enduring a Disney Character Christmas Dinner would come top of the list and make me wish that either we or Mickey and friends were, indeed, spending Christmas In The Workhouse.

So, in the absence of family enthusiasm for an alternative location, I guess visions of sugar-plums will stay in Connecticut, while my own visions of barbecued shrimp under waving palm trees will just have to stay hold for a little longer.

I’ll keep working on it. Maybe next year.

QUESTION: Where would you spend your ideal Christmas?

STAY TUNED…for Tuesday’s Classic Displaced Writing, when Anthony discusses — who else, at this time of year? — Charles Dickens.

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6 responses to “DISPLACED Q: Where and how would you spend your ideal Christmas?

  1. missneriss December 20, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Any where warm. Being a southern hemisphere girl, Christmas is meant to be warm. Still traditional foods served either hot or cold, but sunshine is a must. I’ve done the cold Christmas for the last five years and I’m ready for a heat wave!

    • ML Awanohara December 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Unlike you, I’m a northern hemisphere gal, but it’s been so mild in New York this December, I don’t know where I am any more, or whether it should really be Christmas! Last night I went out to Carnegie Hall to watch a friend of mine in a performance of The Messiah (Mozart version — I didn’t even know there was a Mozart version, but that’s another story!). I’d brought my woolen winter coat because I remembered from years past that waiting on 5th Ave for a bus back home can get cold this time of year. Well, it was so mild, I could have done with a light jacket instead. Surrounded by fantastic window displays and glittering street decorations, I felt all confused. Moral of the story: Sometimes one can feel displaced staying in place, in one’s own part of the world!

      Give Connecticut a few more years, and you may have palm trees there — stranger things have happened! At the very least, I predict you’ll be able to barbecue your turkey, which is better than relying on an electric oven, given the state of your electricity supply services. (I’m thinking back to that freak snowstorm that arrived on Halloween — surely one of the year’s more memorable events?)

  2. Awindram December 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Christmas is the only time of the year that I become an unabashed romantic – it has to take place during old, dark nights. Provincial towns becoming momentarily beautiful due to Christmas lights even though half of the lights are broken. Putting a tree in your living room and decorating it will colorful glass balls and not finding that the least bit strange. Telling children to go to sleep because an elderly fat man is going to break into the house and we don’t want to disturb them. Being on a beach just doesn’t do it for me.

  3. chaumierelesiris December 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I’m afraid I’m a sucker for the cold, traditional London Christmas. Roasting chestnuts, frost and all that. I have spent Christmas in warmer places – notably Houston, Texas – and the fir trees and air conditioning just didn’t work for me on Dec 25th.

  4. Melissa December 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I love to be away from home at Christmas. It can be a place where some aspects of Christmas are incongruous, like Hawaii, a place made for Christmas like Colorado, a place that does Christmas on a pretty grand scale like Dublin, a place that is simply new to me like the Algarve. Being a tourist at this time of year somehow lets me soak in the season more. I don’t have to worry about presents or cards or social obligations. There are no pressures except finding a nice spot for a champagne toast on Christmas morning and sourcing a good dinner. Next year I hope to spend Christmas in Rome or go to Barcelona for the Three Kings.

  5. Reina S. Weienr December 24, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I’m spending Xmas exactly where I want to be – Sydney, Australia. We just left Bondi Beach! Maui would be fine and so is anywhere that’s warm. One more advantage to kids growing up and leaving home – you don’t have to please anyone but yourself anymore! Have a merry.

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