Happy holidays: a summer social media vacation

A symmetrical pohutukawa tree on a wide path in a city, covered in bright red flowers. Other similar trees visible behind the main one.
One of hundreds of “New Zealand Christmas trees” blooming now in Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington).

It’s getting very close to Christmas Day. Close also to my proposed social media vacation. In four days I’ll be on the ferry to Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). Sun (or rain), family, fun, food, swims, animals, walks, and a gift from Secret Santa. Happy holidays!

January is usually writing time. This summer I will have a private writer’s retreat right here in my apartment. In a good year I arrange that nothing happens in January — no social events, no AirBnB guests. In a good year, nobody knows I’m here. I haven’t quite managed to achieve that but at least every morning will be free.

Part of a perfect writer’s retreat is a social media vacation. My only social media activity now is a lightweight presence on Facebook and attention to this, my WordPress blog. For four weeks, both are on hold while I retreat from the social Web. Ursula also will be absent, if I can control her.

How I squander time on social media and news

I wake around 6am in the summer. First up: bathroom, meditation, tend to the cat, do tai chi, and get breakfast. That won’t change. Then I go back to bed and eat my fruit-and-muesli in bed (I know, I know, embarrassing) while I check my own blog and others, wander around Facebook, and tour a couple of newspaper sites. The Guardian is an infinite flurry of distractions. It involves frequent side trips when I am lured away by links.

Proposed morning routine on a social media vacation

No Facebook. No WordPress. And only one news item.

I’m expecting to start work an hour earlier every day thanks to this tweaking of my social media habits.

What this means for you

Nothing! I don’t blog very often so you won’t notice a wee pause. My FaceBook friends (mainly Kiwis) will all be on vacation too.

I wish you all happy holidays including New Year. I love that you read what I write, and think about it, and share your thoughts. Please stay.

Happy holidays your way

If you love family, may you be with family. 
If you love friends, may you be with friends.
If you love solitude, may you find solitude.
For what you lack, may you find a worthy substitute.

May you share beneath a roof
or in the shade of a tree.
May you receive good food and if you can, provide it too. 
May you be at ease on the day.

May you have adventures or rituals or both.
May you feel joyful and healthy and safe.
May you be loved the way that you are 
and the way you prefer to be.
Photo of three twirling vine shoots in a slim glass vase beside a green box shaped like a Christmas tree, with a painted image of Santa on the front.
My minimalist Christmas tree
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20 thoughts on “Happy holidays: a summer social media vacation

  1. josaiawrites says:

    Happy holidays to you as well! Enjoy your time away!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you, I shall,

  2. alison41 says:

    Love the flowering tree – beautiful shade of deep pink. Travel safe, relax and enjoy. Looking forward to hearing more from you sometime in the New Year. Thank you for a year of insightful posts. And, P.S. please give Ursula an extra Cat Treat and tell her its from her #1 South African fan. Thanks!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thanks very much, Alison. I appreciate your words and the gift of a virtual cat treat for Lady Ursula.

  3. Lois Roelofs says:

    Enjoy! Sounds grand. Can’t fathom your weather, though. We are between -10 and +10 F with piles of snow. It’s actually good hibernating weather, so I guess I could squeeze in some writing retreat time!

  4. cedar51 says:

    Happy Holidays Rachel

    May we all have some fine weather, I’m tired of the drizzle and the unpredictable other weather heaped upon us here in Auks!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I recall that Christmas weather is always volatile. Why would that change? It keeps us on our toes. Pretend you’re in Fiji.

  5. Enjoy your break. I, too, rise around 6 a.m. and were on WordPress comments.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      A gentle regime. Your comments always cheer me.

  6. Happy Holidays Rachel. May you be blessed with good food and good company in the perfect quantities and an abundance of good health and peace in the New Year.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That sounds like a fine recipe for happiness, so thank you, Peter.

  7. Alan Ralph says:

    Season’s greetings to you, Rachel, hope you have a peaceful and relaxing break. I’m very envious of that sunshine and warmth, as we come out of a prolonged cold snap here in the UK and head towards another grey, wet Christmas.

    I’m no longer on social media, but I still find I have some bad morning habits, such as playing games on the phone while still in bed. So those are off the phone, along with email and news — I can deal with those after I’ve had breakfast, washed and dressed. I make sure to start my daily journal entry first, and have my writing app open so I can add stuff as it happens or comes to me.

    Our Christmas decorations here are pretty minimal too, but that’s more because it’s only really there to cheer us up during December, not show off to the neighbourhood.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Goid to hear from you, Ralph. Our morning routines are so important. I like mine but it’s time I gave them a tweak. Merry Christmas, whether white, grey or blue.

  8. LA says:

    Good luck on the private writers retreat!!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thanks! I feel excited about that.

      1. LA says:


  9. After all your Happy Holiday-ing, what a delight to settle into your private writers retreat. All the best to you, Rachel and much gratitude for all you so freely share here on your blog-home.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you so much for your understanding and kindness. Yes, it’s looking like a good mix!

  10. judithhb says:

    Enjoy your Christmas alone. Alone but not lonely! I too love the days following Christmas when the rush is over and people have time to relax. I particularly like Wellington at this time. As you say, it’s almost like a village where people stop and talk or even just say good morning and move on. I like the idea of the Writers Retreat. I may just follow you. And I look forward to reading more from you in the New Year.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you, I will enjoy my semi-solitary January — and i like the thought of other writers doing the very same thing.

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