Christmas is what you make of it

Christmas 2006, Isla de Mujeres, Mexico. For the first time during Christmas we are both far away from home. It’s summerish warm outside, and the only things reminding Christmas are plastic decorations and an artificial Christmas tree in town.

December 24, 2006. We are alone on the boat. It’s late in the evening, and we just finished working. The usual Christmas spirit of this day is totally absent. We remain silent, each one of us deep in thoughts. We think of our families, remembering the beautiful Christmas traditions, the Christmas dinner, the handing out of presents with all the “AAAAHHHHAAAAs!” and “OOOOOHOOOOs!” when opening them. And this…makes us sad.

In the moment when tears start surfacing our eyelids the gloom all of a sudden disappears. The sadness turns into creativity, boosting us with joyful energy for the activities laying ahead. Augustas starts tinkering small Christmas presents for our captain Stuart and his ex-crew member Cynthia. He takes some carton, cuts it small, glues it together, writes messages on top of them, and places little Guatemalan worry dolls inside. My dream of a unique Christmas tree realizes by getting a white piece of paper and letting my color pencils run over it. Appearing is the most beautiful Christmas tree we have ever had. Additional, I make little paper “plates” for Christmas goodies.

Half an hour later our bricolage comes to an end. We are gleaming like lightning bugs while fixing our Christmas tree and Secret Santa gifts on the ceiling. Underneath we place small dainties, nuts, and cornflakes inside self-made paper boxes. Additional, we hang up our country flags to give the boat a homey ambience.


On top we serve ourselves a delicious Christmas meal prepared on the board stove. Subsequently, we indulge in a cosy cabin set-up in front of our boat cinema until we fall asleep. In the morning we awake by the delightful sounds our captain Stuart and Cynthia make upon discovering their Secret Santa gifts. These emotions fill the boat with divine energy, lots of happiness and delightful bliss.

Lesson learned: Christmas can be a joyous event everywhere in the world. It just depends on each one of us what we make of it.

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