Traveling for Christmas

When I was a kid, Christmas at my house was a stereotypically American affair. There was the build-up — Christmas lists, calendars with chocolate that helped you count down the days, tree-cutting and decorating, and, best of all, piles and piles of presents. It was always magical and fun.

But a friend of mine had parents who wanted her to experience Christmas away from the commericalism of the US, so one year they took her to Bolivia for the holidays. There, she witnessed poverty on a massive scale and left the country with a better sense of how much of the rest of world celebrates Christmas — simply.

Maybe I’m idealizing her experience a bit, but I do love the idea of enjoying the holidays away from the US consumer mania. And I think that introducing children to other cultures during Christmas is a great idea. I’m sure they’d get a lot more out of the experience than they would working at a soup kitchen — although I’m all for working at a soup kitchen. And hopefully they’d come to appreicate their iPods and Nikes in a way they wouldn’t have before the trip. What do you think?