Monday, November 28, 2011

Experiencing Christmas

When I was a teenager, my father left home and his gifts became more expensive. The first year he gave me a suitcase with gifts inside.

Another year, he enrolled me in a scuba diving course, and he took the course right along with me. I still carry my diving card proudly.
It was issued in the days when computers took up an entire air-conditioned room and typing was still done on manual machines. I am surprised they even had plastic cards in those days. It must have been one of the first ever printed.

While I cannot remember a single gift that was inside that suitcase, I have always carried the experience of diving with me. That gift has lasted all these years and brought me much joy.

I spent most of my adult life as the stay-at-home mother of six children. I loved that time when my children were small, but travel and adventure could seem very far away when I spent my days washing clothes, faces, and dishes, or changing what seemed like hundreds of nappies.

Just knowing I had the qualification, made me feel I was still an adventurer at heart.

Almost thirty years later, my diving qualification has also been useful. Last year I was offered an opportunity to go diving at the beautiful Nelson Bay marine park in New South Wales, Australia.

The sea life was amazing and the coral seemed unspoiled and so beautiful in colour, shape and texture. I saw a huge blue groper with a droopy jaw, stingrays, baby sharks and a puffy orange boxfish. I admired purple and orange fixed coral and wavy, fronded, flower-like coral. It was magic.

The experience of diving was one of the best presents my father could have bought for me, and one that still has value today. When all the physical presents are gone, the experiences are still there, ready to be taken out and mulled over if I am ever grounded by age or illness.

As it comes up to Christmas, I have been thinking about what I can get my boys for Christmas. I want the gift to be memorable.

I would love to give them scuba diving courses but it would be too expensive this year. I will have to be more creative. I am thinking camping or maybe spending some nights on my friends moored yacht.

We are also going to put together baskets of goodies to leave anonymously at doors on Christmas Eve. It is one of my favourite traditions, and a fun experience for me and for my boys.

I hope your Christmas plans are coming along well. Experiences make lovely Christmas gifts. If you have any better ideas for Christmas experiences, please share them in the comments section. I would love to hear them.


Nasir said...

Amazing!!! from house to a bike adventurer, very different.
print plastic cards
Clear business Card

Nikki said...

Thanks Nasir. It has been fun, and a lot easier than it would seem. A motorbike is a great way to see a warm country like Australia and housesitting makes accommodation really affordable.

diane b said...

I admire your get up and go after being a stay at home mum with 6 boys (wow). I can imagine housesitting would be fun and cheap. I had house sitters back in 2009 when we went overseas . They were an excellent couple but they don't do it any more.
When I was young and working in Papua and New Gunea, I used to ride a Honda bike but it was only a small one.
Gifts for Christmas are always difficult for me so I doubt I can help you. I'm thinking photobooks this year.

Nikki said...

Thanks Diane
It has been so much fun and certainly cheap. I lived on $100 a week a lot of the time.
It sounds like you have a lot of get up and go yourself. Papua New Guinea must have been an interesting place to ride a motorbike.
I haven't done photo books yet. I think it is a great idea. Sadly boys are not that impressed with books.

Bribiegolf said...

Hi Nikki:
Just finished reading your housesitting adventures on my new Kindle and it was good to see someone enjoying life.
My wife and I are just on the verge of pulling the pin on our jobs and start travelling a bit.
Housesitting is the choice for our accommodation needs and like you we have friends and family we can stay with between sits.
We live on Bribie Island and that will remain our base.

Now you've go me all fired up about Geocaching. Might run into you somewhere along the way.

Thanks for sharing your experience as it is inspiring.

Nikki said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I would love to run into you somewhere. I am enjoying life and have a renewed passion for everything since I changed my lifestyle. Good luck with the housesitting.

Michelle (Confessed Travelholic) said...

I've always wanted to experience an Australian Christmas! The sunny weather must be great. When I was in Australia, it was considered fall and winter for you guys, but it's still a lot warmer than Canadian summers!

Nikki said...

Hi Michelle
Australia is so big that there is a range of weather options. I love the sun so am happiest in Brisbane where it is sunny all year around. I think winter is a great time to have Christmas. It can get quite hard on our overdressed Summer Santas. [:)]
Thanks for visiting