Christmas: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

It’s that time of year again and we are gearing up for Christmas!

I always say to myself, this year I will super organised, this year I will not stress and actually enjoy the lead up to the big day…. of course this never happens!  I get stressed out, feel overwhelmed, feel like there is just not enough time to do everything.

Part of this is just how I am, I do tend to stress out about things, part of it is the expectations – we should be having fun, we should be organised, everything should be perfect on the day, I should buy the perfect gifts…. none of this helps to make the day what I really want it to be, a day to relax with family and/or friends. Now, I don’t even have a big family, so my obligations are few and far between, but I still feel the stresses of the season.

Getting away from it all?

I have had a few festive seasons where I’ve flown away from it all.  I have spent Christmas in Scotland, Vietnam, Australia and Myanmar.  I do feel guilty for leaving family at home, but I’m extremely lucky that they are all very understanding and have been fine with me spending Christmas elsewhere if I’ve wanted to.

And when I have been away I have actually quite enjoyed leaving all of the festivities behind (that sounds really bah humbug doesn’t it!), not even putting up a tree, it’s quite liberating!


Growing up, our Christmases were spent with friends, rather than our families, as we were living overseas in Bahrain.  My memories of Christmas from those days are ones of fun, lots of people and lots of laughter…and quite a bit of alcohol (not me I hasten to add, the adults!)!

We would hopefully eat turkey if we could get hold of it, but it was a lottery.  Living in a community of airline pilots and employees, we often wouldn’t know who would be around and who wouldn’t, so being flexible was just one of those things and you learnt to live like that.


In Vietnam my friend and I checked into a lovely coastal resort in Mui Ne, which is up the coast from Ho Chi Minh City – a treat to ourselves, as we had been travelling in SE Asia for several months by that point.

Our Christmas retreat in Vietnam…many years ago as you can see from the date stamp!

On the day, we opted for their version of Christmas dinner which included mash potato – oh my god, I remember loving that mash!  It was great mash and something that we hadn’t had in a while!

Living it up on Christmas day at the beach in Vietnam!

We decided not to buy a present for each other though, a decision we did regret on Christmas day. It seemed like a good idea at the time, we were travelling for a year and trying to carry as little as possible in our backpacks, so just thought we would scrap presents.

Come Christmas morning, we were lamenting that decision!  Just having a little something to open would have been lovely…but hey, we spent the day by the pool in the sunshine – we got over it!

Me enjoying Christmas dinner!


Spending Christmas in Australia was a treat, as we were with my partner’s family.  It was again a little strange to be elsewhere, but so very lovely to be in the sunshine!

Nobbys Beach, Newcastle – a bit different from the weather back in the UK at that time of year!

We had the full on Australian Christmas experience, which was great.

My partner loved being home for Christmas – it doesn’t feel like a proper Christmas when it’s cold and dark apparently! For me, it’s the other way around!!


Myanmar was definitely the strangest of the lot!  We had travelled down from Mandalay, via Bagan and Inle Lake and planned to be in Yangon for Christmas day.  We had been in Myanmar for a couple of weeks by that point, and had both been ill. So, we decided to book a nice hotel as a treat for one night and we opted for the fancy looking Inya Lake Hotel.

It turned out that it was the hotel where a lot of expats go for their Christmas lunch. When we arrived, the place was buzzing with activity, Christmas lights were up and people were going in for their food…but we were not invited!

Welcome to Christmas in Myanmar! The lovely display that greeted us as we entered the hotel!

I felt a little envious and homesick at that point.  But we checked in and were shown to our room and those feelings started to dissipate…oh my god, the room!!  It was fabulous and so luxurious after the places we had been staying in. It was gorgeous!

Oh the luxury!  After the guesthouses we had been staying in this was a total treat!

The view from our room was pretty amazing too, we got to see a lovely sunset over the lake.

Sunset over Inya Lake, Yangon, Myanmar – beautiful!

So, Christmas day for us was spent down by the pool – Christmas lunch was a BLT and samosas! I couldn’t really complain!

Christmas by the pool? I don’t mind if I do!

A decidedly different Christmas Day lunch than normal!

Alternative Christmas lunch at Inya Lake Hotel – yum!

For dinner we decided to go down to the restaurant – apparently no one else did!  We were the only ones in there.  It was also a very festive Indian buffet….and for some reason we decided to sit as far away from the food as we possibly could!  It was totally comical and one of the weirdest meals I’ve had!

There is a buffet over there somewhere!

The hotel itself was lovely but pretty deserted, there were people there for lunch and at the pool, but in the evening everyone seemed to disappear.

The next morning on Boxing Day, it was another (if you ever go to Myanmar, be prepared for VERY early starts!) early 5.30am start so we could get to the bus station to catch our bus to Mawlamyine. The hotel very kindly gave us breakfast boxes which we could take with us and which were very welcome by the time we were on our way on the bus!

A fun, alternative Christmas never goes amiss sometimes…however I must admit that I am looking forward to a traditional festive season celebration at home this year.  It’s going to be a very quiet one as I will be working around Christmas and New Year, but I am looking forward to spending the day with my family.

Do you celebrate?  Where will you be this year? Are you on the road? Or at home?



29 thoughts on “Christmas: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  1. Well we don’t have a home so are always on the road, spending Christmas and New Year in a housesit in Northamptonshire. Very quiet as just the two of us but be seeing our three boys a few days later for a bigger celebration. It’s good to mix it up a bit I think, one year away somewhere different and the next in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I move comfortably between C and F because of where I was born and where I live now (and C makes a lot more sense, IMO …). In any event, it’s around freezing today, too, though when it is not too blustery it is fine for me to go out with a jacket and a scarf, maybe add gloves. When it get REALLY cold (i.e. below freezing, wet, blustery), it is time for a longer heavier coat. NYC winters are variable, so it is always interesting … Though indoors it is nice and cozy and comfy. No complaints. 🙂

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          2. Wow, it sounds like it’s colder than here at the moment! It’s quite mild today at around 10C, but wet and windy, the worst kind of weather for me! We usually start getting colder temps in the new year, so we have that to look forward to 🙂 I hope you have a lovely day whatever the weather!


          3. Today is mild and wet — more spring weather than first-day-of-winter weather, but hey, we’ll take 60F (for about five minutes) over 30F … (which should return in a day or night or two..). Have a lovely whatever the weather day, too! 🙂

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  2. I’ve spent many a Christmas abroad and enjoyed them all, from Kenya to Thailand but the last two years have been in the UK. We don’t have turkey, and this year we are having veal escalopes in a wine and lemon sauce (our host is Italian) and lemon posset for desert. A lighter meal, altogether.

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    1. Wow, it sounds like you’ve had some great adventures for Christmas then! It’s so interesting to hear what other people do and where they go. And your lunch sounds rather delicious I have to say and nice to have something different! Thank you very much for commenting and I wish you a very happy festive season 🙂


  3. Sounds like you’ve had a good mix. 🙂 🙂 Until last year ours were mostly spent at home, with me the reluctant cook. Last year we went to our son’s for the first time and this year we are repeating the experience (but requesting rather less food 🙂 ). But this time we have to fly back from our Algarve home to do it. Enjoy whatever time you have off, and all the best for 2019.

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  4. I’m used to cold, snowy Christmases, so when we booked our 10th wedding anniversary trip to Jamaica for over Christmas break, I was a little nervous. I’d never “missed” Christmas before. We didn’t decorate, bake, or do presents. To borrow a word you used, it was LIBERATING! And we weren’t at all depressed to be on a tropical island “missing” Christmas. In fact, we loved it so much that we returned a year later and “missed” Christmas again. It’s been many years since those two trips, and this year we’re having a “normal” Christmas, but my fingers are crossed for a chance to “miss” Christmas again next year. Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, Christmas in Jamaica?! How amazing!! I’m not surprised you returned there again! It is strange to, as you say, ‘miss’ Christmas, but it can also be lovely! I do love this time of year, but it’s also quite stressful, so to take yourself out of it can be great and quite relaxing 🙂 I’m sure we’ll do it again at some point. I hope that you have a wonderful ‘normal’ Christmas this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Christmas spent abroad is pretty cool, imo! I’d love to agaib for sure. Just to have something a little more exciting and special. Last year, my mom and I were in New Zealand and we spent Christmas in sunny Nelson. This year, it’s back to normal, although one can argue the definition of normal! It’s just mom and me, so no big fmaily, no big fuss. That’s just the way it is, so we have our own little traditions. Like eating a vegetarian Christmas dinner as my mom’s one. Most of all, we relax, watch a movie (or Star Trek!), go for a walk, relax, chat, relax. No jumping on any crazy, commercial bandwagons. Just wind down, relax and eat food! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christmas in New Zealand must have been amazing! What did you do on the day? I’d definitely like to do an overseas Christmas again, it is lots of fun. Your Christmas this year sounds very similar as mine! Just myself, my partner and my mum, no major fuss for us either, just a nice day with nice food and good company 🙂 I am really looking forward to it!

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      1. It was pretty cool. On Christmas Eve we (hostel peeps plus owners) made pizzas in their outdoor pizza oven. In the evening I joined two people to go to the Christmas Carolling in the centre. We were a bit late and sadly enough we only caught two songs. But that would’ve been an awesome way to spend the evening! On Christmasday…I don’t really remember what we did. Not much 😛
        I’d love to do a Christmas overseas again too! Preferably at Hopewell, NZ. Such a gorgeous place!
        Almost time for my two week holiday and I too am looking forward to it! Especially to eating stewed cinnamon pears and heaps of merengue! (Not together though, haha)


  6. I’ve always spend Christmas at home (or at a family members home). I’m always tempted to try out an alternative Christmas experience but due to circumstances I’ve not really had a chance recently.
    Great post sharing your experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fun! How great to be by the beach and pool for Christmas!

    My husband and I have been talking over the last week about traveling for Christmas. It’s such an exciting, but strange concept to us because family is so nearby. It’s definitely something we want to do in the future at some point though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was quite a treat that’s for sure! I know what you mean, it is lovely to get away from it all, but it can be strange to be away from family at that time of year. I hope that you manage to do it at some point, it’s definitely fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This year, for the first time, I had the chance to spend Christmas in the sun, and instead, I went to visit family in the cold parts of the world. But I am back for New Year’s! It definitely feels weird to be walking around in summer clothes this time of year. But truly amazing, and a bit more relaxed.

    Liked by 1 person

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