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Christmas in France

Christmas in France

Passed Christmas in France with friends from Chile. It was a real warm time as I watched their three children open their presents. They yelled and screamed with excitement and kissed and hugged the newly minted pink plastic toys that they freshly unwrapped. Christmas in France was really nice. Mira and I gave the children plastic fish and dinosaurs. The little boy now walks around the house all day trying to hang on to all of them at the same time. He asked his mother this morning if she could buy him a pair of pants with pockets big enough to accommodate all of his fish and dinosaur toys, so that wherever he goes, he will have his toys. The kid is a traveler! I exclaim. This may be my next travel tip- “How to make pockets big enough to carry all of your toys.” Haha.

My friends are from Chile and they celebrate the “Santa Clause” aspect of Christmas a little differently than we do in the USA. In Chile, all of a child’s presents come from Santa, while, in the USA, some of the gifts come from Santa and the rest from parents, friends, etc . . . I suppose us Norte Americanos have some objection to giving all of the gift-giving credit to an old, fat man. But the Chilean way is pretty interesting, and is probably more in line with the origins of the Christmas tradition. It is just really funny that the children believe that their parents had absolutely nothing to do with their gifts. “Mom, why can’t you be more like Santa Claus?,” they ask. The parents get tongue-tied, as their own tradition and graciousness comes back to bite them. We laugh.

Oh, another Christmas passes. I have been on the Road for a long time, but I think that this is actually only the third Christmas that I have not been with my family. The first I was in Peru in ’01, the second was last year in China, and now this year in France. I often try to time my visits back to the USA so that they correspond with Christmas. My mother loves for me to be there. Being away from my family for so long is the biggest drawback to being a traveler. As traveling and family life are slightly mutually exclusive. But now there are many new devices to enable us travelers to remain a little closer to our families. Skype, Truphone on Facebook (has a few mild catches), and other services now allow us the ability to call home whenever we want for a surprisingly marginal amount of money, email has enabled us to get letters delivered quickly, and these blogs and websites allow us to tell the world what we are doing, thinking, and feeling. Now is probably one of the best times in world history to be a traveler. But I must take Loren Everly’s position when I say that I do not think that it can last much longer. Something has to give. Us travelers will soon find ourselves walking down the hard road before we know it. Enjoy the world and the ease of travel now I say, as tomorrow we may be trodding down a different path, while humming a far more perilous tune.
So it was Christmas. Sent Merry Christmas emails and made phone calls to family and Erik the Pilot. Just remembered that I did not send Stubbs my regard.

Stubbs is one of my best friends. He understands. This is one of the great things about real friends: if you do not call them on the holidays, they do not get upset. This is because they know that we are truly friends, and we do not have to prove it. You do not even have to talk to your friends to regard them as such. But I miss Stubbs. I think I want to talk to the guy soon. Maybe I will go into the woods and track him soon. Or perhaps I can coerce him into a mad three months in Brooklyn with me?

Christmas in France. Quiet. Empty. Drunken. Ideal. Christmas is for children. They know the world because they can still believe.

Chateau de Tornac XIIE outside of Anduze, France

I still believe in fairy tales.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Anduze, France
December 26, 2007

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Filed under: Celebrations, Culture and Society, Europe, France

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3169 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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