Folks out here celebrate Christmas.  Off-the-gridding is largely a WASP (and aboriginal) culture, after all.  (NOT 100% by the way).  But we do ‘the holidays’ differently out here, that is for sure.

Not too many people buy Xmas trees, for instance.  Like, NONE!

Most years there is a winter solstice party on the 21st somewhere.  Clearly, paganesque.  Mind you, we do the summer solstice, too.  Even MORE paganesque, I understand (I don’t go to that one.  I have a pending court order against public nudity………or as Sal says ‘YOU WILL HAVE!’).  And, around here, a local always hosts a Boxing Day do and a lot of people end up spending the night.  So it is really a big Boxing Day Sleepover (which, I confess, I find a bit odd given that everyone is over 60 and not drinking much anymore.  It is probably just a winter-weather-traveling-by-boat-thing.  I am pretty sure they all just go to sleep!?).

And then there is the well-attended but weird and wacky ‘gift exchange’ (erroneously, in my view, referred to as the ‘white elephant’) whereupon everyone brings modest gifts and names are drawn one by one and the current receiver gets to open their gift and then decide if they want to trade their choice for a gift already opened and currently held by another.

Most items are just just silly but usually there are a few trouble-makers who insist on giving something nice.  This, of course, means the ‘nice gift’ is chosen and re-chosen and subsequently lost and hard feelings can sometimes result. Lesson#1.  Don’t forget a present has to be brought by each attendee.  Lesson#2: Don’t make it the gift-of-all-time.  Lesson#3: Some presents you just don’t mess with.

I inadvertently fell prey to that don’t-mess-with-this-one-syndrome once when  a few years back I received a lovely ‘My Little Pony’.  All pink and glittery.  One of the local teen boys had something better.  I can’t recall what.  Maybe a jar of jam?  I was feeling impish.  I walked over to him and ‘swapped’ his jam for My Little Pony.  The air around him went cold.

The next day I went to his place and gave him a new LED flashlight to make up for my blatant cruelty.  I had no idea that sitting with My Little Pony was such a stigma for a 14 year old boy but, really, I should have known.  I’d likely have trouble myself.  Even today.  The flashlight only got me half-way back to our previous relationship.  I have had to add a few other minor things since.  Plus a steak BBQ.  Five years later, I think we are good.  NOT great.  But good.

There is always a large turnout for the school play, of course.  Despite the fact that only five or six kids are in the school this year, over 60 people will usually show up.  It is the school play!

New Years may see a party or two but none that we are aware of.  We don’t get those invitations.  We wouldn’t go anyway.  It is the one party that has the expectation of staying up til midnight (and longer than three hours) and that is simply a non-starter nowadays.  Especially if you have to go home by boat.  In the dark.  In the winter.

No, the gift exchange is the BIG one.  Maybe the Boxing day sleepover (BDS).  I am pretty sure the BDS was a much more fun event in the 70’s and 80’s when it started.

Truth is, many folks go away at Xmas.  We go to visit family.  So do others.  Some go to warmer climes.

Living off-the-grid…………….what a concept, eh?…………. a lifestyle change that seems to involve changing even Christmas traditions.

1 thought on “Off-the-tradition

  1. Like the introspective and philosophical observations on humanity in your guise as the ironical observer of the passing scene. Pithy is good in the context of humanity’s flawed but beautiful psychology. Reflecting on people as they belly-up to life’s vicissitudes is worthy some further unfolding.


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