Snowman or sandman?

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By Sophia Choudhury, third year French and Italian

The Croft Magazine // Would you rather spend Christmas day catching some rays at the beach, or tucked up in front of a fire and a frosty window? Sophia shares her thoughts on the chilly-versus-toasty festive debate.

With Christmas around the corner and travel restrictions up to our ears, it’s hard to imagine December 25th anywhere other than in the UK. In fact, there was a decrease in travel to all destinations by 50% in the first half of 2020 (as reported by UNWTO) and the second half of the year is predicted to have an even greater decrease. Nevertheless - we can still weigh up the pros and cons of a festive holiday abroad -  even if the idea is a bit far-fetched at the moment …!

Returning home frozen to the core to wrap your hands round a mug of hot chocolate and tuning in to the Queen’s 3pm Speech is a must for many people

Staying at home for Christmas can offer the chance to enjoy our home comforts, usually surrounded by friends and family: albeit in a slightly different way this year. For many, this is the one opportunity to see their loved ones, and so staying at home is a no-brainer. This obviously involves the odd bit of snow, plenty of jumpers and the classic turkey-fuelled, post-dinner walk. Returning home frozen to the core to wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate and tuning in to the Queen’s 3pm Speech is a must for many people. These traditions are the things that lots of us have come to know and love, and the time to enjoy all the cosy familiarities can offer a welcome break from the usual chaos of daily life.

Smiths Beach, Yallingup, WA | Sophia Choudhury / Epigram 

I’m personally not that fussed about turkey, and I doubt I’ll ever turn down the chance to catch some waves on Christmas Day

On the flipside, we have the point of view of those from the Southern Hemisphere who associate Christmas with flip-flops, rather than boots, and Santa with a jet ski, rather than a sleigh. For those who choose to go away for Christmas in the sun, this can offer an incredibly different experience.

For example in Bangkok - the most popular destination for Brits during Christmas 2019 - you could book a Christmas Eve cruise down the Chao Phraya River, or go to the Holy Redeemer Church for Christmas Mass. Every culture celebrates Christmas differently, with different foods, music and traditions. The excitement of a completely new sort of Christmas is beyond memorable and I’m personally an advocate for seasonal champagne on the beach. In fact, it seems most Brits are, with the top 5 holiday destinations during the Christmas break all hot and sunny
I guess with so much rain in the UK it is hardly surprising...!

a snowy day on The Downs | Daisy Game / Epigram

Having been lucky enough to share Christmases with family in Australia and India, I am in the fortunate position to be able to offer both points of view. I think the anticipation and novelty of a Christmas away is irreplaceable, but I appreciate that this is a topic that very much lends itself to individual choice. For me, Christmas will always be about being with loved ones, wherever that is in the world, and however we choose to celebrate it. I know I’m personally not that fussed about turkey, and I doubt I’ll ever turn down the chance to catch some waves on Christmas Day. That being said, having been in the south of France for the last couple of months on my year abroad, nothing sounds better than getting home for Christmas this year. On that note, I’d like to wish you all safe travels in whatever direction you find yourselves heading, and all the best for a happy holiday and a 2021 that’s better than 2020…

Featured image - Pancha Rathas Temples at Mamallapuram, Christmas Eve | Sophia Choudhury / Epigram

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