Unfortunately, this base idea of Christmas has been transformed in many people's minds by corporations and capitalism into a time of stress, greed, and competition. Every Christmas I spend in England seems to make me feel further and further away from this idea of unconditional love and acceptance that I want to be able to feel from others and give in return. Christmas these days apparently isn't Christmas without a tree hung to the rafters with chintzy decorations, trying to outdo everyone with the best present, the best Christmas dinner, family members getting drunk and arguing about inconsequential nonsense, the order, the tradition, the planning, the excess. We're brought up to feel that without these things, it's not really Christmas. We stress about creating the 'perfect' Christmas, as if it's something that's attainable only by throwing more and more cash and planning at it.
Because of this, I was a little worried about spending Christmas here in Ibiza, away from my family in England. I love my Mum and my Sisters with all my heart, and being away from them for only the second Christmas in my 29 years wasn't really by choice, but through a lack of money and deadlines for work which need to be completed by the new year. It turns out, I shouldn't have been worried though. Like all the best days in Ibiza, Christmas here came together with the minimum of fuss, drama and planning and I couldn't have been happier about it. Because nobody in my Ibiza family has any money right now (it's the middle of the Winter, and with Ibiza being such a seasonal place, most people just work for the 4 months of the Summer, and those that stay for the Winter just 'get by'), there was no exchanging of gifts. There wasn't a tree. There wasn't any snow (I've only ever seen it snow in Ibiza once, and that lasted about 10 minutes). There wasn't any carols. There wasn't any crappy Christmas movies that everyone had seen a million times before. There wasn't a bad word spoken about anyone or anything. But there was love, in abundance.
Because of this, strangely, it ended up being the most Christmassy Christmas I think I've ever had, and I'd like to take this opportunity to bestow a million thanks on my Ibiza family in general, with special mentions going to Sarah for her amazing hospitality and cooking (with help from Joleen). Without these people, I wouldn't still be here on the island. I love you all, and every day that I live here, I'm thankful that I have each and every one of you in my life and in my family. You're my family not through bloodlines, but through choice, and the fact that you could just as easily choose not to include me in your daily lives is reason enough to give thanks. :)
You can see all the photos I took in my Picasa Album.