Best Gift You Can Give – Is To Not Be There?!?!

by brian on December 17, 2009

The last week or so has seen a number of blog posts written about being away from home for the holidays. In fact I recently saw the movie ‘Four Christmases’, about a couple that takes off every year to a new exotic locale for the holidays because they don’t want to be around their dysfunctional relatives.

Do you have relatives that look like this around the holidays? My sympathies…

ttt Best Gift You Can Give   Is To Not Be There?!?!

I take the tack that being away one year or even multiple years is great.

Because you come back and appreciate your family and friends when you get back.

Take me for example. This time last year, I was on the other side of the planet…

Tokyo for Election Night 2008

On a plane to Hong Kong on Thanksgiving

In Macau for my birthday

Ethiopia for Christmas

London for New Year’s and

Paris for the Obama inauguration

Were there times I got lonely on the trip? I can’t say I did. I was too engrossed with the trip and experiencing everything that I didn’t notice that I wasn’t with my relatives. But I still had ways to be connected with others on these special days.

I remember heading to the phone shacks of Addis Ababa to call my parents on Christmas.

I was with my aunt, uncle and cousins in London. In Paris I connected with ex-pats watching the inauguration. Same during Election Night ’08 in Tokyo. Spending huge bucks in Macau was fun when I had cool people to hang out with. So you find a way to enjoy yourself, just like you would/should ANY OTHER DAY when traveling.

Being home this year, I take more joy in being with my family since I wasn’t with them last year. Mom’s sweet potato pie tastes better. Watching football on Thanksgiving – priceless. You remember what you had before and glad to be home to experience it again.

I can still do without the cold though. Ethiopia’s 80F temps on Christmas Day is something I loved.

There are people who are at home with their “loved ones” and can’t stand to be around them. But they do it out of a sense of obligation.

Don’t be there for the obligation. Do it because you want to be there.

And if you don’t want to be there, take off and hit the ski slopes for New Year’s. Go to Vatican City for Christmas. Experience a Thanksgiving in Namibia, or Chile or Korea.

Joining Santa may not be a bad idea

skiingsanta Best Gift You Can Give   Is To Not Be There?!?!

The people who loved you before you left will love you when you come home.

And everyone will appreciate each other that much more when you get back together again.

The bigger point may be: Why do you have to wait until the holidays to get together with the ones you most care about? You should not wait for “special” occasions.

Have you been away for the holidays? What did you do to keep the holiday spirit? Did you come home and find yourself enjoying the company of family and friends more? Or less?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

A December 17, 2009 at 1:53 PM

I am with you!Why do you have to wait until Christmas to see people you love?We are always very busy and we forget about the people that really matter to us and maybe one day will be too late…love today because you can!

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Stephanie December 17, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I'm amazed how many comments I got on my post along the lines of "I WISH I was going to be out of town this year!" Sometimes I feel that way too. Better to get away sometimes so that you can appreciate you family all year round without wanted to throttle someone.

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darlene December 17, 2009 at 10:59 PM

I've been away (not necessarily abroad) on a couple of holidays and more than a couple of family birthdays including some of the milestone ones which is a fairly big deal since my family is very close.

But thankfully they "get" me and know that everyday holidays are way-y-y-y more important to me than those designated by public schools and banks :)

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brian December 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM

@A
"Love today because you can" – so true

@Stephanie
Absolutely agree. I never even thought about the holidays or my birthday last year. If you make yourself happy you can be happier for the people around you.

@darlene
"Everyday holidays" – indeed. Sometimes you just want to do something different and not worry about your fam. Doesn't mean you don't love them any less.

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Candice December 18, 2009 at 12:31 PM

So true. I feel like skipping Christmas wouldn't be a big deal if I'm in another country…seems like there'd just be way too many other things to keep me occupied.

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Mark B. December 18, 2009 at 8:28 PM

Happy holidays B. You are absolutely right being away for the holidays definitely makes the next ones that much better.

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brian December 20, 2009 at 8:22 AM

@Candice
That's exactly how I felt before the trip and that's exactly what happened during.

@Mark B.
Same to you Mark!

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No Hurry Curry December 21, 2009 at 2:41 AM

I almost drooled when I read your comment that Cathay had stickers letting the stewardesses know if you wanted to be awoken for food. Cathay has to be the Michael Jordan of the airline industry.

This post definitely "hit home" with me as well – it sucks being away from home for the holidays, but I'm sure I'll appreciate it that much more next year. Although I suppose ziplining through the Thailand jungle with the wife does make for a good Christmas as well.

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brian December 21, 2009 at 9:24 PM

@No Hurry Curry
Pretty much any Asian airline does it better than their American counterparts.

Keeping yourself busy and just enjoying yourself is how you get over not being home. That's what you're there for anyway…

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Dave and Deb December 22, 2009 at 2:18 AM

Well said. It is wonderful to be with family when you really want to be. While we are traveling this year, I am missing being with everyone during the holidays, but it makes it that much better when we see them all again!

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brian December 22, 2009 at 8:05 PM

@Dave and Deb
Yes. I think about it this way. If you were at home this year but really wanted to be on the road, you wouldn't be "all" there.

Maybe even a little resentful because you're not doing what you really want to do.

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Perth Hotels January 5, 2010 at 4:57 AM

There is no place like home,and everyone will appreciate each other that much more when you get back together again.

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