Christmas in a ski resort. First thoughts – expensive food and drink menus? Yes, probably. Every restaurant was booked out – since August! Behind the scenes though, there were other things afoot proving the Christmas spirit was alive and well in the Niseko region.
Community Christmas spirit
Many of the employees here in the Niseko area, are living in shared housing. Some had dinners to attend and gatherings to be part of. Others organised themselves into communal dinners. That is the Christmas spirit!
One guy I spoke to lives in a two-bedroomed apartment. He invited everyone in the apartment block, that had no other commitments, to his place for Christmas dinner. It was a “pot-luck” style affair. Everyone brought a plate of food to share. There were home-made Christmas decorations of paper chains and snowflakes.
The meal was a huge success. Regardless, the more important outcome was that there was good camaraderie and shared enjoyment over the occasion. The meal was good and the spirit of the occasion was felt.
In another place – a house that accommodates many more residents (20+), there was a similar spirit. Everyone contributed a dish from their home country. Despite limited cooking conditions, everything worked! The meal was delicious and everyone’s contribution was appreciated.
Reassuring human spirit
It is reassuring to see the human spirit of shared occasions, thriving in this environment. In a land where not many of us speak the language, and where Christmas is not really celebrated, this was an opportunity to create a shared Christmas experience for those that do. Those people were brought together, united in purpose and celebration.
People took the celebration seriously. I met some on buses who were out sourcing their ingredients, then returned home and started the meal preparations.
We didn’t realise we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.
~ AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh
In a time when the focus is doing things quickly, it was reassuring to hear that some took four hours to prepare their dish. It is in the ritual or preparation, presentation and participation that the Christmas spirit is experienced. When resources are limited, we dig deep and pull something out of the bag. The effort is felt and appreciated. It feels somewhat old-fashioned – and reassuringly so. This is the stuff of tradition and memories. Sharing one’s traditions with others is satisfying. Creating memories is priceless.
The best things in life are the people you love,
the places you go
and the memories you make
Experience is king
The richness of the Niseko experience is enhanced by the people you meet and the things you do together. It is something that you cannot have without effort. You must put in your bit to gain your outcome. There are no apps that will do it for you. You cannot achieve it through surfing the internet. It is not something you can get from TV. You have to be here. Do the miles, get the smiles.
I say all this from a spectator’s perspective. We had a quiet dinner for two at home, after both working all day. We were happy with our own celebration but I think next time (if we come back) we will go for a more communal experience!
How was your Christmas spirit?
Do you have a good Christmas? Did you make good memories? Would you share them here?