The holiday season has always been one of my favorite times of year. For me, the joy is less about the actual holidays (though those are wonderful, to be sure), but the preparation and anticipation that comes along with them.
The start of December has always been heralded by the annual family trip to get a tree, usually as soon as the last bites of turkey have been eaten. The weeks that follow are always a blur of festivities: shopping for gifts, writing cards, sharing cocoa instead of coffee when catching up with friends, toasting the year with one too many glasses of champagne, and marveling at the slow and steady silence of a night snowfall.
All of this culminates in my immediate family coming together to celebrate the actual holiday; a particular gift as it is one of the rare times when we are all back in my hometown in Minnesota.
This year is a bit different. I knew when I left the states to travel that I would miss the holidays, and I wasn’t quite sure even where I would be in the world on December 24. I was worried when I left that I would end up spending the holidays alone. I know now that I shouldn’t have worried at all.
As fate and the beauty of solo travel would have it, I’m spending Christmas in a beautiful open-air villa in Canggu, Bali, with five wonderful new friends that I’ve met along my travels. We’re sharing our holiday traditions in one big family meal; splurging on a bottle of wine (it’s absurdly expensive in Indonesia); and indulging in Swedish meatballs (a family recipe from the Swede in our group). Though it’s unlike any Christmas I’ve ever had before, I couldn’t be more grateful for how things turned out. It just goes to show that sometimes the best things can’t be planned – something that I’m still trying to learn.
Wherever in the world you may be: Happy holidays to you and yours, in whatever form you choose to celebrate them. May they be your best yet.