Because I wasn’t in North America, the occasion melted into a muggy, silly Southern Hemisphere beach party that, I was sure, would suck for decades to come. Then at the very last minute, one scraggly Eucalyptus branch and a bowl of fresh mussels proved me wrong.
So as December 25th looms in New Zealand, I wonder about traditions: about this invisible baggage that’s so often heavier than the backpacks we carry – and a thousand times more valuable than every personal possession inside.
Are traditions geographically-bound, or are they amendable? And do we, by carefully packaging them in memories and longing, stunt their growth in unfamiliar environments?
Maybe this year, it’s time we relax our grip a bit. Home will always be a traveler’s Christmas wish; thus let our festivities remind us of where we are, rather than blind us to where we are not.