Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent Calendar of Memories - Christmas Travel

Did you travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

Most years our family would stay close to home for Christmas. Occasionally, we would travel to see friends but it would only be a day trip.

During my teen years, our family travelled several times to Florida - Naples, Fort Myers and Sannibel Island. We flew. It was fun to get away from the cold and snow. I didn't mind not having a white Christmas.

When I was little my paternal grandparents lived across the street. At some point on Christmas Day, we would walk across the street to visit. Quite often, some of my aunts, uncles and cousins would be there.

As an adult, I have gone twice to my sister's for Christmas. Back in 1978, she was expecting child #2 any day, so we packed up everything and headed there for Christmas (via car). Now, I often go to my sister's during the days following Christmas. 

Christmas 2002 was very special as my brother, sister and I would be together for Christmas Day. My sister and her son accompanied me to Guatemala. I had gone over to Barrie on the 21st travelling by coach. Early on Monday the 23rd, we left Barrie on an air-bus with door to door service to the Toronto airport. That began our adventure. It was a long day as we had also stops in the Detroit and Houston airports.

When we left the arrival lounge at Guatemala City, straight ahead in the mass of people were Ted, Doris and Sarah. I am not sure what we would have done if we hadn't seen them right away. By this time it was quite late. It was hard to believe we were there. A brightly lit Canadian Christmas tree awaited us at their home. 

Christmas Eve day is a big day in Guatemala . In the morning we saw some places in Guatemala City. In the afternoon, the extended family started to gather. They all made us feel so welcome. It was such a beautiful warm day and it was great to sit outside and visit. We were able to eat our Christmas turkey dinner outdoors. Some of the family departed for their own homes.

Because of our big dinner was served in the late afternoon, we only had a light supper of the traditional Christmas Eve meal of tamales. During the evening, we could hear firecrackers being set off.

 We were all waiting until midnight.  Ear plugs in place and with my hands over my ears, I went outside the gates of the home into the streets with the other members of the family to watch the lighting of the firecrackers which are in rounds and to see some of the fireworks shooting high above the city. I didn’t last
very long outside. 

Now it was time to open our gifts.  Never have I ever opened Christmas gifts that early in the morning. 

After 1 a.m. we posed for family pictures and despite the late hour and the long day, we still looked pretty good. Finally we headed to bed. During the night, the vibration of the firecrackers being set off, set off the sensitive car alarm.

In the morning, the crowing of the roosters announced that it was Christmas morning.  What a great feeling to wake up where you didn’t look out of the window to fields and streets of snow - no thought of snow boots and heavy winter clothing and travelling on slippery, snowy roads with the fear of poor visibility.

That was a wonderful trip with the opportunity to see family and to experience Christmas in another culture. 

© 2009 Janet Iles

1 comment:

  1. That must have been a wonderful christmas and it is a great story. So glad you shared it.


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