Ok, I’ll admit it – I am a sucker for all things Christmas. Crackers, lights, trees, carols… What’s not to love?
This, however, is my first winter Christmas. Christmas, for me, is usually spent surrounded by family, eating mountains of food, relaxing on the beach! This side of the globe celebrates the festive season in a slightly more traditional fashion – it is cold and frosty and dark, the Christmas lights shine more hours than not, mulled wine is available on every corner, carolers abound and whispers of snow are on everybody’s lips.
Unfortunately, due to a sequence of events beyond my control, there has been plenty of rain but not much snow in London for Christmas. None-the-less, I haven’t let this dampen my spirits too much and I have tried to celebrate all things Christmas! There have been staff party’s with free-flowing wine, school Christmas lunches with turkey and special Christmas dinners with crackers. I have learnt that the English have an unhealthy obsession with eating brussels sprouts at this time of year (yuck) and that most Americans have never seen a Christmas cracker!
The last week of school was a flurry of Christmas activity, with maths lessons being replaced with card making and literacy being switched for tree decorations. There were homemade crackers, Christmas activity packs, card giving (and receiving) and even a screening of Nativity! There was Christmas music in the background, children handing out gifts like miniature elves, rehearsals and a soul-shivering carol service.
My own Christmas, the first without my family, was spent with a wonderful Australian family and a collection of friends. There were brandy alexanders and mulled wine, turkey and Pavlova, laughter, banter and, thankfully, no brussels sprouts! A hearty Christmas lunch was followed by a fun Christmas cricket match – luckily it wasn’t too serious because it turns out I am not very good at cricket! A visit from Australian Santa and an evening screening of ‘The Lion King’ rounded off a wonderful Christmas day. Back at our flat a collection of presents was waiting under the tree and a good haul of chocolates, bath goodies, jewellery, stocking fillers and a trip to Paris (!) later I was cuddled up in bed with tea and fantastic Christmas memories.
Thanks to everyone who made my first UK Christmas so memorable, and a Merry Christmas to all!