Celebrating Christmas on 5 Continents

This year for Christmas I’m back at home on the farm where I grew up celebrating and spending the holiday with my family. Since 2010, however, I’ve had the unique opportunity to celebrate Christmas on five continents.

Where have my travels taken me and how did I spend my Christmas Day?

1. Auckland, New Zealand – 2010

My first Christmas away was very different than traditional Canadian Christmases. No snow, hot weather — it just didn’t feel the same!

I spent the days leading up to Christmas surfing at Raglan. Consequently, I blistered my face with a sunburn in the water.

I spent the days leading up to Christmas surfing at Raglan. Consequently, I blistered my face with a sunburn in the water.

Thankfully I had wonderful friends-of-the-family to spend it with in Auckland, New Zealand. They welcomed me into their home, shared their Christmas meal and even took me to the Ellerslie Horse Races on Boxing Day. The next best thing to family is good friends to share the holiday with.

I carried Christmas with me in my backpack in the form of a small stocking my mom sent along with me. Made the day extra special! It's a tradition she's carried on every year I've been gone.

I carried Christmas with me in my backpack in the form of a small stocking my mom sent along with me. Made the day extra special! It’s a tradition she’s carried on every year I’ve been gone.

2. Hanoi, Vietnam – 2011

Spending 6 months traveling through South East Asia, I found myself busing into Hanoi, Vietnam to spend Christmas with two other Canadians. Christmas Eve I shopped for a random assortment of North American treats like cream corn, Jello pudding and European chocolate while also visiting Hoa Lo Prison, where John McCain was held as a prisoner of war. Very festive.

Christmas Eve in Hanoi.

Christmas Eve in Hanoi.

Christmas Day I celebrated with other international travelers at my hostel joining in for a festive Christmas lunch. I finished my night off with a little Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas Supper. Not quite a turkey, but the next best thing after a day spent celebrating.

The Christmas hats in KFC made it feel much more festive!

The Christmas hats and decorations in KFC made it feel much more festive!

Mom sent along a very large Christmas while I was in Asia. Always a great selection of goodies in the stocking!

Mom sent along a very large stocking while I was in Asia. Made it extra special!

3. Saskatchewan, Canada – 2012

 

Handmade stockings of all the kids in our family (minus my newest nephew born this past May).

Handmade stockings of all the kids in our family (minus my newest nephew born this past May).

Sometimes plans change and I spent less time in Central America than expected. Flying back to Canada from Belize on the busiest travel day of the year, I happily spent a white Christmas back at home with most of my family. After two years away, enjoying Christmas with loved ones was a treat.

4. 2013 – The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Having followed my heart to the 19 magical islands that make up the volcanic archipelago of the Galapagos Islands off the west coast of Ecuador, I spent two months pursing my professional diving certification. The course fell over Christmas and I enjoyed getting to know the local customs during the holiday season (in particular their New Years customs).

Feliz Navidad from Ecuador!

Feliz Navidad from Ecuador!

Christmas Eve I had an Ecuadorian supper with the company I was diving with. I spent Christmas Day scuba diving Gordon Rocks with a school of hammerhead sharks. Even more exciting, was spotting the elusive Mola-Mola (or Sunfish) the same day – the only one I spotted while diving in the islands.

No day was a bad day in the Galapagos when you get to dive with these babies!

No day is a bad day in the Galapagos when you get to dive with these babies!

5. Capetown, South Africa – 2014

Last year, plans swiftly changed when shortly before Christmas I accepted a year-long contract as a travel blogger for the province of Saskatchewan. Knowing I was cutting my African trip short and flying home in a few short weeks, I spent my Christmas in Cape Town.

Christmas stocking from my mom in Cape Town.

Christmas stocking from my mom in Cape Town.

With more than 770,000 tourists invading the city during the holidays it was difficult to book activities. It also happened to be a very rainy day, so I spent a short time exploring the city and then stopped for a Big Mac Christmas Lunch at McDonald’s. The rest of my day was spent in good company with a fellow traveler.

My Christmas meal.

My Christmas meal.

Merry Christmas to you, wherever you might find yourself this holiday season. Hopefully you’re able to spend it with family and friends (new or old) celebrating over good food! Travel safe!

5 thoughts on “Celebrating Christmas on 5 Continents

  1. Really enjoyed following your adventures as the Saskatchewanderer! Loving the blog too and really enjoyed this one! What an adventure!

  2. You have had some unique Christmas experiences over the past few years. You also have a wonderful Mom, who takes great care of her little girl while she is away. It will feel great to be home with family and friends this year… Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, and best to you in the New Year.

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