This year, I celebrated Christmas on Nusa Ceningan, a little island nestled between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, just off the coast of Bali mainland. When I booked the tickets and the accommodation for this vacation, I knew that Christmas here would be quieter than usual.
But I didn’t prepare myself for a complete silence.
I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I’m that annoying person who tries to put up decorations and Christmas tree way before December. I’m that person who starts making a list of things I should buy for presents 3 months before Christmas, and playing the Christmas songs on full blast every day, starting from November. I religiously watch Love Actually, Elf, Miracle on the 34th Street, Home Alone, and A Christmas Carol in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I sigh when I see the sight of the festivity in the western part of the world, which I could only see from my screen. The bottom line is, I’m crazy about Christmas.
I compromised a lot, and I was ready to celebrate Christmas without full-blown decorations, carols, and even Christmas tree. I thought, ‘Oh, I could still play the Christmas songs, put on the antler headpiece, and have a nice meal on Christmas.‘ I was determined to feel festive despite being on a small island. But Nusa Ceningan was something else.
In here, Christmas didn’t exist. There was no Christmas tree, tinsel, garland, or wreath. The air was filled with the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks, and nothing else. No carols. Forget about a nice lunch or dinner. I was in an isolated place where there was no cafe or restaurant in the immediate vicinity, so I had to choose my meal from the hotel’s menu (all was overpriced, bland, and uninviting). To get the festive spirit up a bit, I put on the antler headpiece I’d brought from Jakarta, and the few people by the poolside were looking at me, some of them smiling (well, at least I made some people smile on Christmas day). We chatted with a fellow guest, and she confessed that she hated Christmas. Well, I guess if you hate Christmas, this would be your perfect place.
In all honesty, it wasn’t a bad day. I spent that day beach combing, collecting shells, reading by the pool, and going into the water when the heat was unbearable. It was a quiet and relaxing day, which on any other day would’ve been amazing. I just wished it had been a tiny bit more festive on this one particular day.
We chose Nusa Ceningan as we wanted to avoid the crowd in Nusa Lembongan, but we didn’t expect to experience a nonexistent Christmas. While it was a great holiday, I guess for next Christmases I’ll make sure I spend it in places where I can actually feel that it’s Christmas.
But still, what an unforgettable experience.
Merry Christmas! :)