IN THE WINTER WITH THE VAN TO THE NORTH CAPE
CHRISTMAS WITH A DIFFERENCE – AWAY FROM THE FAMILY MEALS STRAIGHT TO THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
The dinner is already ordered, the dessert is planned and the faces of our families are long. We have told them that we will not be home this Christmas. We are going to the North Cape by van.
It all started when we were talking about the Christmas celebrations we’ve had so far. I think that not only we have our doubts about the annual food marathon and are looking for something different. Then, if you’re still a child of divorce like me, you go through this run on family dinners several times at different stops. First your own family, then your partner’s family. And what remains at the end is a full stomach, immobility and the feeling of having had far too little of the festivities yourself. This feeling gave us the idea to simply drive away. With the van to the North Cape for a Christmas that we would still remember in 10 years.
THE PLAN IS TO GO TO THE NORTHERNMOST POINT ON THE EUROPEAN MAINLAND
I love snow and I have never been to Scandinavia. Actually, it was just a spun idea at first. We had spun around a bit and thought what if we just drove to the North Cape in the winter with the van. But really we just wanted to pack everything into the car, start the engine and drive off without any real fixed destination – escape the annual madness and make Christmas something really special.
We had noticed that we both had not celebrated Christmas for ourselves for a very long time. The family for whom it was normal to come together or friends who also insisted that you were there for the holidays, always had priority.
After my last two Christmases were really the worst in years, I had actually decided long ago that the next holidays must be different. Talking to Kathy, I then said, “sure, let’s go to the North Cape and shake Santa’s hand in person…”, Kathy’s response took less than ten seconds, “Yeah, let’s do just that!”
The gift for my 35th birthday, a week before our trip, then looked like this:
HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR FAMILY THAT YOU WON’T BE THERE FOR CHRISTMAS?
While I had actually prepared my family ahead of time for the fact that I would probably be somewhere else this year, Kathy’s family was already busily planning the family event. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t still thrown my family off a bit with the idea. They had at least hoped for Christmas Day or Boxing Day as an alternative to the 24th.
But we agreed that a good argument could be that we would like to shake Santa’s hand personally. In fact, that was not the argument that convinced. Nevertheless, this is what makes a loving family, that despite their disappointment, they are interested in your well-being and are ultimately happy for you.
THE COMPROMISE FOR THE CHRISTMAS EVE
Especially my grandparents were affected by the idea that we would not be there for Christmas. They had spent 35 Christmases with me in the meantime and now that was supposed to change? But from my point of view, especially for my grandparents’ generation, they are both over 80, it’s less about December 24 and more about being with their loved ones. For this reason, I decided that this year Christmas will be celebrated just a little earlier.
The solution was quite simple and required only minor adjustments on both sides. Actually, we wanted to leave already on Thursday, December 21. But since one day didn’t matter, we shifted our plans backwards and moved Christmas forward 3 days. I wasn’t sure how my idea would be received, but my grandfather’s face betrayed very great joy that we wouldn’t skip Christmas altogether. So Christmas for us this year was already on December 21.
THE CONCRETE PLAN FOR OUR TRIP TO THE NORTH CAPE BY VAN
The plan is as follows:
On December 20, I will go to my mother’s house in the evening, she lives alone. Friends will also be there and we’ll have a fun evening, which in the end won’t have that much to do with Christmas either. My mother is not an overly Christmas person. Still, again, it’s the time together that makes it. It’s about really making time for the people you love, which you can do any other day of the year. I’ll sleep over at my mom’s house, have breakfast with her the next morning, December 21, and then head to the other part of my family.
My grandparents will certainly be busy in the kitchen preparing for the joint meal. My father will probably not be home from work until the afternoon. I will spend the day here as well. Then maybe in the evening, or the next morning, I’ll meet up with Kathy and we’ll head out together and look forward to the northern lights and snow. We might even have a little Christmas tree on the car dashboard.
How do you celebrate Christmas and what do you have planned this year? What do you think about our idea of compromise? Maybe for you a Christmas without the family is not even imaginable… feel free to write us in the comments what you think about it.