First Christmas in Costa Rica Costa Rica

If you didn’t get a Christmas card from me this year, it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s just because I’m lazy. :) In fact, we’ve been consciously lazy about Christmas this year, and it’s been our least stressful holiday season yet! Well, maybe “minimalist” is a better word choice than “lazy”. Regardless, it’s been a great holiday season for us.


Jen and I aren’t really getting gifts for each other – we have all we need. Although she saw a few dresses she wanted in Guatemala which we bought, and I ordered a new router and set of walkie talkies for my mom to bring down when she comes next week, since our old ones are dead or dying. So we feel quite satisfied.

As for the girls, in addition to a new dress each in Guatemala, we also got them each a bike, which they’ve both been asking for. Hopefully they’ll be able to learn how to balance on them soon. They also got a little stuffed animal puppy they wanted. And that’s about it, except for a few additional gifts Grandma may bring down. (We’re so excited to see her!!!)

Santa Claus and Baby Jesus

Christmas plant

Marie (5) has already pretty much figured out that Santa Claus is a myth, but Emily (7) seems to want to hold onto the belief a little longer. We’ll see how she feels about that on Christmas morning, since there aren’t really any big surprise gifts. Actually, Santa Claus doesn’t visit kids in Costa Rica, anyway. It’s baby Jesus who comes to deliver the gifts – an interesting twist to the Christmas story. Although, I don’t get how that would work if he grew up and died and everything – how could he still be a baby? Oh well.

For a Christmas tree, we used one of the large potted plants from our patio, and have hung some ornaments on it that the kids decorated with their friends from the package that my mom sent. It looks pretty cute, in a pathetic sort of way. But it works for us. We also decided to go ahead and get a Pricesmart (Costco) membership, and bought a little decoration of a snowman and a tree, and some nice smelling candles to place next to some red lilies from our garden so our place would look (and smell) a little more festive.

What a Year!

Christmas decor

Usually when I send out Christmas cards, I include a letter summarizing our lives during the past year. It’s a good chance to reminisce about what what we’ve accomplished, how we’ve grown, and how our lives have changed. As I look back on 2010, I can hardly begin to understand the incredible opportunities we’ve had. I knew that moving to Costa Rica would be a great learning experience. But I didn’t realize that it would have an effect on almost every aspect of my life.

In just another couple weeks, we’ll have our one year anniversary of moving to Costa Rica. And what a fantastic year it’s been for our family! We’ve made some very dear friends, become conversationally fluent in Spanish (the kids are almost there), and have enjoyed wonderful weather and food almost all year. We’ve also had the chance to visit several other countries nearby, learn more about ancient civilizations and cultures, focus on our family, our spirituality, and improving ourselves, and have even discovered that we’re pregnant with our third child, which is going to have an even bigger affect on us next year, I’m sure!

I have no idea what the future holds for us. I used to have plans about what I wanted to accomplish in life, and had firm short and long-term goals. And I still hold to some ideals of what I might like, but I’m less attached to them now, and am more willing to just let things unfold naturally and go with the flow. I’m confident that my life will continue moving in the right direction for me, if I don’t force things too much, and just follow my joy. As I try to live with love and give more of myself, my joy will increase, I’ll be able to do more good, and I will continue to have a “Fulness of Life”.

Merry Christmas, everybody! I love you!

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you enjoyed our digital blog-post Christmas card this year. It has been a wonderful year. We feel very blessed and we are very grateful to have all of you in our lives as well. Thank you for all your love and for all you do for us. :)

    Happy Holidays and best wishes for a fantastic new year.

  2. Hey Guys, Merry Christmas and it sounds like you have had the kind of year that you had hoped for. I am so happy for you that things are working out so well with your decision to move and try new things. We have missed you this year but also understand each family needs to explore their own horizons and are thrilled to come and visit you in February. We have also had some uniquely different experiences from our norm over the past year and have really enjoyed it, especially our Thanksgiving in Beijing and our Christmas in London (even with the weather complications). Opportunity doesn’t come knocking every day. It has been a blast! So, our hats are off to you and have a wonderful day tomorrow…… Love, Michelle

  3. Merry Christmas! I think your potted tree looks great – and the ornaments are cute hanging from it. Those lilies from your garden (known here as a “Christmas Lily” are just beautiful… how fortunate you are to be able to just walk into the garden and cut them fresh!

    Yes, this has been a pretty amazing year for you – and, as your mom, makes it an amazing year for me. I’ve been so delighted to see you following your joy and immersing yourself and family in such wonderful experiences… and for the personal discoveries and growth you’ve made along the way.

    I’m really looking forward to my visit too… just a few more days!

    Love you

  4. I love how you said going with the flow. That’s truly my montra. If you have expectations of what you think should happen you start mucking up the things that are supposed to happen. Thanks to you and your family for enriching my life by sharing your experiences. Happy Holidays.

  5. Merry Christmas my DEAR ONES.

  6. Happy Holidays! I am so glad you have taken your family on this adventure and it has turned out to be wonderful and rewarding. I hope this coming year is just as great!

  7. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!! I am happy you guys have had such wonderful experiences there and that you’ve been able to share them with us. I’ll bet the girls LOVE their bikes. It’s nice that you live somewhere that they can ride them ALL year long, instead of just during the warm months :)

    I can’t wait to see you guys!!!

  8. Chris Fryer Says: January 5, 2011 at 7:55 am

    It’s interesting that my family and I had a similar Christmas. Once you begin the minimalist lifestyle Christmas becomes so much more enjoyable. We are excited to get to Costa Rica in the next few months and experience pura vida. Thanks for the post.

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