Téléphone maison

For me Christmas is about being with family. Like ET, I want to phone home. But when half (in our case, the bigger half) of your family is on the other side of the Atlantic, you have to make choices. I’ve posted before about feeling pulled in different directions when it comes to the year-end celebrations.

“What if we just forgot about Christmas and instead went somewhere warm by the sea?”

The idea came up when visiting Toronto last year. For once, how about we just forget the turkey and the tinsel and pack a suitcase instead? We have to pack anyway, and spend several hours on a plane, so why not indeed?

This year we are heading to Curaçao, along with several members of my Canadian family. It is a bit of a one-off. Never before have I been so close to South America. Never before have I spent Christmas in a sunny destination. I am curious as to whether I’ll miss the snow (but I rather think not…) but I am sure of one thing: it will be memorable. And the older I get, the more I realize that life is all about making memories.

I am saddened that we could not get everyone in my family to come but heartened that my Dad, who recently celebrated his 85th, will be joining us. House and home in France along with our ménagerie of bulldogs and cats will be cared for by our reliable service of travelling seniors who come to stay while we’re away (a wonderful concept for anyone here who needs a pet-sitter by the way — if you’re interested, ask me for details).

Wishing you all a wonderful end to 2017, wherever you are, filled with love and joy, and a bright start to the new year. Looking forward to catching up again in 2018!

Holiday hugs and grosses bises à tous mes blogging buddies!



  1. Ayesha · December 14, 2017

    Joyeux Noel!

  2. Garfield Hug · December 14, 2017

    Happy holidays my friend! Enjoy your trip and am glad your dad is joining you. May 2018 be fantastic🤗🤗🎄🎄💕💕

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Thanks a million and a great big Garfield hug right back atcha!

  3. francetaste · December 14, 2017

    A destination Christmas with family sounds like a wonderful idea. Plus, since you’re all traveling, it isn’t on anybody to “host.”
    We went to the U.S. for Christmas only once–because my grandma died (age 100) just before. We almost got snowed in on the return, which is why, in addition to crowds and high fares, we avoid traveling then. However, my in-laws here celebrate in ways that I just don’t understand. Christmas is the same as New Year’s, with people getting extremely drunk and trying to stay up until dawn (why does that prove a party was exceptional? it’s even sillier when most of the participants are retired). My family would go to midnight Mass and then straight to bed. Very different.

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      That’s it exactly for me. No one needs to do all the work and we can just enjoy being together. As for French Christmas, my experience over 3 decades has been exactly the same. No celebration of the event as we know it, other than a big blast out meal and repeat on the 31st with extra oomph. Absolutely hate it and have always tried to replicate our (admittedly pagan) Christmas tradition with tree, stockings, gifts, etc. Has always worked with just us and kids, but no changing the rest of the family. Must be bred in the bone!

  4. phildange · December 14, 2017

    Enjoy the Caribeans, even with a Dutch accent !

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      That Dutch accent is probably why it’s more suited to our budget than the more chic Saint Lucie or Saint Martin! Cheers and see you in the new year!

  5. Osyth · December 14, 2017

    I think its a brilliant idea and I am so happy to read that your father (who is the same age as my mother) is making the trip with you. I wish you the merriest of Christmas’s making footprints in the sand and drinking in your fair share of Vitamin D, surrounded by many of those you cherish and when the time comes I wish you the most magical of years yet to come. A year when dreams come true and things you hadn’t dared to dream become part of your reality. If you would be kind and message me the details of your sitting service in the FaceBook thing, I would be hugely grateful. Gros bisous ma belle amie x

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      My dad will probably out-party the rest of us! Thanks, dear Osyth, for your wishes – I could not think of a better aspiration for the year to come. Just seeing it expressed this way makes me feel I’m on my way to something magical. Big holiday bises (yes, kisses not buses – damn you spellcheck!) and see on the other side! xo

      • Osyth · December 14, 2017

        Haha big 🚌 🚎 🚌 🚎 🚌 to you too xo

  6. Lisa @ cheergerm · December 14, 2017

    Fantastic! Enjoy a different Christmas, one that we are very used to here. (For example, it’s 41 degrees here today, a tad too hot for comfort.) Swimming on Chrissy Day is a pleasurable thing indeed. How very special your Dad is going too. Festive greetings to you lovely Mel.

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      I will think of you as I frolic (more whale than porpoise, I fear!) in the waves. How wonderful to share a Christmas tradition with my Aussie friends! 41? Egads. Head for the shade and don’t move. Wishing you and your boys the best of the season, Lisa! xo

  7. midihideaways · December 14, 2017

    Holiday hugs to you too Mel, and have a wonderful trip!! Look forward to catching up again next year!!

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy the best of Provençal Christmas and all the best for 2018!

  8. suzlearnsfrench · December 14, 2017

    Merry Christmas – what a wonderful way to spend Christmas. Enjoy the sun.

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Merci! It’s a test that if successful, may just need to be repeated!

  9. Mél@nie · December 14, 2017

    bonnes vacances, Mel with all your loved ones… ❤

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Thank you, Mélanie! I’m sure you’ve experienced a Hawaiian Christmas somewhere in your travels and look forward to sharing my island Noël with you in 2018. May Santa be good to you! xo

  10. jmnowak · December 14, 2017

    Sounds like it will be a very relaxed Christmas. Cheers to you. 🎄🔆

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Well, as relaxed as it can be when you combine a Paleo-diet (brother) with vegans (daughter and boyfriend). 😉 Our family get togethers are usually…lively.

  11. poshbirdy · December 14, 2017

    Oh, have a wonderful time. It sounds so tempting. I’m happy to have a houseful for Xmas Day this year, but in future years I may just bolt as well x

    • MELewis · December 15, 2017

      I am usually happy for Christmas chaos, too. But going off the path for once is also fun! Enjoy your house-full! x

  12. Christmas and sun went hand in hand for many decades for me until I came to live in France. Now, it just doesn’t seem right and I look forward to the twinkling lights early in the evening, the possibility of snow and long, leisurely meals … We haven’t nonetheless changed our routine to incorporate eating after midnight Mass. Way too tired for that! I hope that you enjoy your Christmas in the sun and thanks for your year’s stories, which are always good to read.

    • MELewis · December 15, 2017

      Thank you! I am not sure I understand your story: you live part-time in both Australia and France? If so you sure get the best of both worlds! The twinkling lights are what keep me going at this time of year. Dark days mean early evenings and there’s nothing warmer than an apéro with a few candles lit. Enjoy Noël en France!

  13. doodletllc · December 14, 2017

    Sounds like a wonderful idea…enjoy the warmth and sunshine…tinsel shines just as bright in a sunny clime. 🙂

    • MELewis · December 15, 2017

      Hmmm…possibly even more brightly in all that sunshine? I am psyched to enjoy it barring a hurricane! 😉

  14. broadsideblog · December 14, 2017

    Oooooh, lovely! Will be so much prettier than cold, gray Toronto. Have a great time!

    • MELewis · December 14, 2017

      Thank you! It will definitely be a Christmas to remember, and who knows? Maybe even start a new holiday tradition.

  15. Katherine Wikoff · December 14, 2017


  16. Ali · December 14, 2017

    Have a wonderful Christmas. I remember Christmas’s in Ottawa….more snow than Toronto and oh so very cold. This will be a new tradition in a warm climate. We did that once and it was very strange…almost surreal. I think it’s the only time that I really enjoy snow, Christmas Day.
    Our first year on the West Coast, I actually missed the white stuff. Now if it’s snows I panic like everyone else.

    • MELewis · December 15, 2017

      I also have brief but fond memories of all the snow in Ottawa. Funny how the weather changes not so far from grey, foggy Toronto! I’ll take surreal for once, even though I suspect that a bit of the white stuff on Christmas Day will always warm my heart. Hope yours is merry and bright!

  17. Colin Bisset · December 14, 2017

    How wonderfully exotic. (And trust me, Christmas in the heat and sunshine is habit-forming…) To a wonderful 2018, my simpatico friend!

    • MELewis · December 15, 2017

      Merci, Monsieur! I can only imagine it could be a dangerously expensive habit for us northerners but looking forward to the experience. Wishing you a wonderful, sunny Christmas! xo

  18. davidprosser · December 15, 2017

    Nadolig Llawen Mel. Have a wonderful time and return happy and refreshed.
    xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

  19. acflory · December 15, 2017

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too. My Christmas is always warm so I’ll think of you in exotic Curaçao. 🙂

    • MELewis · December 18, 2017

      Maybe not quite so exotic weather-wise for you lucky ducks in Oz…but still a fun mix of Caribbean island, European and South American culture. Wishing you happy holidays in your sunny climes!

      • acflory · December 19, 2017

        lmao – I could live with that ‘Caribbean island, European and South American’ culture. Have one of those decadent drinks on a beach for me please. 😀

  20. memoirsofahusk · December 15, 2017

    Curaçao – wow! All I know of that is the liqueur – which might help you cope with the vegan/palaeo conjunction. Have I mentioned that the Prof ‘s specialism is the stone age of Africa…? So don’t get me started on the palaeo diet, he snorts with derision whenever he hears the term. Anyway, set that aside – I hope the magic of sun, sea and change works for you and you have a wonderful, happy, merry, joyous Noel (without accent – as I can’t be bothered let’s be honest!!!).

    • MELewis · December 18, 2017

      I have never tasted the liqueur and am quite curious as to what it’s like. Thankfully no one but my hubs is teetotal (and I’m trying my best to subvert this dangerous tendency during the hols at least…) so we’ll have plenty to toast! Rumour has it my daughter’s boyfriend is bringing some of the good stuff from Scotland. 😉 As for your Prof’s scientific insight, I would love to see someone debunk that nonsense with some solid arguments I could trot out at the dinner table. Thanks for your wishes and right back at you with all of the good things (and who cares about accents online anyway?)

      • memoirsofahusk · December 21, 2017

        I asked for the best rebuttal but he was distracted by end of term marking and class tests – will send something in the new year 🙂

      • MELewis · December 21, 2017

        Merci! Bonne fêtes xo

  21. Anne · December 16, 2017

    Quelle bonne idée et si bien racontée ! Tout cela me parle beaucoup. (par exemple sur le fait de vieillir et de se donner des belles choses dont on se souviendra toujours.)
    On attend la suite de l’histoire bien sûr et les impressions de chacun. Profitez bien les uns des autres au soleil.
    Grosses bises de fin d’année

    • MELewis · December 17, 2017

      Merci beaucoup, Anne! I’m realising with each passing moment how amazing it is to have this opportunity to make new memories with my far-away family in such an exotic locale…D-7 until our departure and I’ll be pleased to share my impressions, both French and Anglo-Canadian, with you all upon our return! Finissez bien l’année! xx

  22. eyelean · December 19, 2017

    How funny, my parents were just there almost immediately after returning from their visit to us in France. I hope you enjoyed your trip!

    • MELewis · December 20, 2017

      That is indeed odd – it’s not a typical destination around here. I’ll let you know when we get back in early January!

  23. Mél@nie · December 22, 2017

    Have a wonderful weekend and my very best: health, joy, peace and love… ❤ same heartfelt wishes to all your loved ones! Enjoy your Dutch Caribbean paradise and cheers! 🙂

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