This is year four of our Mariah Carey Christmas.
You know the song:
I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree.

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas
Is you..

Here’s the video in case you don’t

We’ve been singing that “no presents, just presence” tune since 2011.
And there are still no regrets.
It’s still a learning curve though. And we’re still finding ourselves managing other people’s expectations.

People who insist on gifting and then face that awkward push back at the door.

People who assume the kids have been brainwashed and so try to poke what they think is some hidden anger on their part. (I recently had to pull my oldest off his soapbox when someone assumed he had a list of gifts he wanted ready to go to Santa. He doesn’t.)

And this year, we’ve faced new questions: We don’t have an Elf on our shelf and no one here is sad about it.
But what I stress to my kids, and to people who ask us, is that what we’ve chosen to do over the holidays, and why we’ve chosen to do it is in no way a reflection of how we feel about the way you choose to do it.
We’ve made the choice that works for us. We hope you’re doing the same.

We aren’t offended by mountains of toys. You can feel free to exchange gifts in front of us. And we aren’t trying to convert you.

In fact, I’m always happy to share a list of the things I think people who travel might appreciate.


This is not the holiday equivalent of eating chocolate in front of the dieting friend.

We don’t feel deprived.

We’re spending time away at some point over the winter break and are already looking ahead to trips in the new year.
None of those things will be wrapped with pretty bows but they will bring us plenty of joy.

And so here we are.

Four years without gifts under the tree – for us or from us.
Four years without a list of things we want but a long list of things we want to do together.

Four years without the dread of the January bills or the stress of wondering if we bought the right thing.
Four years where all we got for Christmas was each other and the joy of eating and laughing with family and friends.
And four years of being so perfectly okay with it, that we continue to sing along with Mariah and mean it.

We are wishing you and yours all the best for the holidays. Whether it’s Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Christmas or Festivus. We wish you peace and love and all the things your heart desires – whether it comes wrapped or not.

Happy Holidays from our Globetrotting Family to yours,

Heather, Ish, Ethan and Cameron