This will be my second Christmas in the UK. As I wrote recently for The Age, a northern hemisphere Christmas is not as delightful or necessarily snow-laden as you might expect. In fact, I find a lot of the Christmas celebrations here both mystifying and annoying to me. I do not understand bread sauce. I do not understand Christmas jumpers. More than anything, I do not understand why supermarkets insist on playing that awful Wham song for over a month in the lead-up to Christmas. You’re better off having Christmas under he Australian sun so that you can go outside and bask in the summer break.
I’ve never been a hugely enthusiastic Christmas person, but living abroad has made me realise that certain things do make the time feel more festive. Having family around – especially children (my cousins are quite young and excited on Christmas morning) – who tell silly Christmas cracker jokes and strew wrapping paper all over the place make things feel a little cheery. Having things you do each year – eating certain foods, watching certain movies, sleeping on the couch after lunch – also contributes to the good vibes. Christmas away from home last year didn’t really feel like Christmas because it lacked those things. But my husband and I are making our own traditions we hope to repeat next year. We watched the Christmas episode of Peep Show, prepared a delightfully non-British Christmas lunch, got excited by the fact that we had passed the winter solstice and the days would finally get longer, talked to family and friends abroad, and went on a walk in the cold. It didn’t feel like the real deal, but it was genuinely nice.
And, despite my misgivings about cold Christmases, I definitely came around to the Christmas lights of London and the cosiness of looking at a Christmas tree in the cold.
Have a good one!