Christmas Without “Stuff”.

There’s a recurring theme amongst travelling families… A lack of things. I mean, it’s quite obvious that there’s only so many things you can take with you when you’re living out of anything from a backpack to a bus, either way, space is limited.

While we haven’t started travelling Australia full time just yet, it’s a family experience we’re working towards, so in recognition of that, we’re trying to reduce our “stuff”. The reality of our hoarding and overindulgence as consumers has been obvious to us for quite some time, so this year at christmas we’re reflecting on what we really need, and what is needed by travelling families.

It really comes down to presence vs presents.

As we sort through our things and choose what to sell, throw or donate, it has become quite a confronting experience, definitely something I’ll be writing more about for sure.

The Future of Christmas for Our Family Vs The Past:

It’s the 1st December today, that leaves just a few short weeks before the big red man makes his appearance here, and until this year we’ve built an expectation of quite a large number of presents under the tree for our kids. They don’t get as much as some kids, but they sure seem to get a whole lot more than many each year….. By the time we do our shopping and family added theirs, somehow it always just worked it’s way to a mountain of toys. Each Christmas Eve as I wrap the presents (yep I’m renowned for leaving things like that to the last minute!) I’d take a look and think “this is probably too much”.

So what about this year?  What do we value the most this year? What do Travelling Families DO about Christmas?

When you can’t give mountains of gifts at Christmas,  purely because you know they will just become a burden to your desire to travel, you have no choice but to recreate the meaning of what Christmas is to your family. We’re not a religious family in the sense that we go to church, and for even religious families I feel that Christmas has been over-commercialised, but beyond religion, what is it that our family, and I guess most travelling families wish to appreciate? My guess is that it’s presence.

Why I think Presence beats Presents!
  1. Memories last longer than things – Spending time together and creating a tradition will stay with your children forever. Gift experiences either as a family or individuals.
  2. Purposeful Gifts are more wonderful to recieve – I am sure most travelling families are still gift givers, but it’s more important to give useful, thoughtful gifts which are probably a world apart from gifts that they once purchased “just because” each year.
  3. It can be less expensive – Depending on how you redefine Christmas it can be much less expensive not having to buy a stack of presents to place under a tree. For some it’s not necessarily less expensive to share presence and not presents, after all if you refer back to point 1, you may do something as crazy as starting a tradition of taking a helicopter flight over gorges every christmas, or scuba diving in an exotic destination, those experiences will still cost a fair amount of money, but at least it’s not money spent on plastic “stuff” that will only be thrown away.
  4. It teaches children to be appreciative – or for that matter it teaches all to be appreciative. When a pile of toys and gadgets isn’t an automatic result of Christmas day, it’s much easier to appreciate the gifts you do recieve.
  5. Love and togetherness – is the best Present EVER!
I’m looking forward to this new chapter of life for our family. We try to raise our children to be great citizens and I really believe that by making Christmas less about “things” and more about togetherness it can only be a good thing! When families choose to leave their consumerist lives behind either for a short time or forever, they are choosing presence regardless. I truly feel that time with loved ones cannot be replaced with a gift of any value.

This post has been part of a Group Writing Project with other amazing travelling families – You can find their writings below:

Merry Christmas