It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for Christmas traditions. As I was growing up, the Ber months always felt like a magical season — a time when everything I wished for would appear under the spangling tree towering in our living room.
But this image was only possible during my early years, when I wasn’t too difficult to please — when my wish list only revolved around books and dolls, and my parents were easily able to save up for my Christmas presents. In fact, I was already 10 years old when I was shocked by the realisation that my father was not actually Santa, and Christmas did not magically allow things to fall from the sky.
Shattering the magical idea of Christmas
Encouraged to develop new hobbies, I surprised my parents with a pricey request for Christmas. “I want a flute!” I exclaimed with sheer idealism. I’d been enrolled in a music class for at least a year; by then, I had already mastered some classical pieces on my Baroque plastic recorder.
I wanted to expand my horizons, and I needed a standard Yamaha flute to do this. Two feet long, entirely made out of nickel silver — just like the one my music teacher owned. With this instrument, I’d be able to reach my dream of becoming a child prodigy. And I had it all planned out! For my recital, I’d wear a glittering gown. My hair would gracefully flow as I moved to the melody of my rendition of Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.
And so, that year, Christmas came. I opened my gift. It was a beautiful and delicate harmonica. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but it still represented to me what Christmas stands for: expressing love through gift-giving.
An evolution of Christmas wishes
It’s been a decade since that eye-opening Christmas day. As the years have passed, my experiences of Christmas have changed as well. I no longer look at the occasion with starry eyes — like everything else in adult life, the joy of the season now seems like a social construct to me.
Nevertheless, Christmas remains a social construct I try to enjoy. But with the idea of merriment, I thought I needed to step back and reassess myself: A decade after dreaming of becoming a child prodigy, what do I want now?
A Christmas that sparks joy
With the help of the modern heroine Marie Kondo, the minimalist in me came out of her shell. Suddenly, I found myself donating things that did not spark joy. Last Christmas, I finally confirmed that I had grown out of my materialism. Throughout 2019, I’ve been saying ‘no’, more than ever, to things that I did not love.
So, what do I love now? Like most millennials, I’ve grown to prefer experiences over material goods. Now, all I want for Christmas is to travel.
Personally, travelling is the best gift I could give myself. But, it isn’t something I’d demand from others. Travelling is so personal, so intimate, that I can’t ask expect it from other people.
Still, I’ve been blessed enough to have received travel as a gift. Until now, I consider it my most-loved present.
One of the stark differences between material goods and experiences is that you can easily share the latter. This is also one reason why I love the idea of travel as a gift It encourages me to express love through gift-giving, even without having to treat Christmas shopping as something that’s do-or-die.
This Christmas, I’m more eager to spread the love of travel.
Sharing the gift of travel
Sometimes, sharing the gift of travel means giving airline gift certificates or shouldering hotel fees. It can also mean handing out travel-friendly practical gifts — this article is all about that.
But other times, sharing the gift of travel simply means extending our travel stories. Words and photos go a long way in inspiring many aspiring travellers. This Christmas, think about sending out postcards or tiny souvenirs. Who knows? This might encourage someone to finally travel!
Now that I’m older, all I want for Christmas is to travel. But more than that, all I want for Christmas is for others to experience the joy in travelling, too. So, make travel happen, folks!