My poor mother in law reminded me about some of the things that she's feeling sad about being in Australia, while all of the rest of us are spending Christmas here together this year. I haven't been in England over Christmas for 5 years, and that time we were 5 years ago, we just rocked up on 23rd december to our ready made celebration, so didn't really get involved in the prep. We still don't know where we'll be this time next year, or for years to come, so I really should be making the most of it and approaching it like I would any other travel opportunity, instead of sinking into the comfort of 'home' (well, my parent's home, which is really only one step removed) and behaving like a Grinch.
So I've pulled up my Christmas stockings! I'm really enjoying being a visitor to UK Christmas! Last week we went out and bought a Christmas tree. It was bitterly cold, and that seemed right. We wrapped up warm and made an occasion of it. Us three generations of girls went for lunch and then headed to a garden centre where there was row upon row upon row of trees in every shape and size. The littlest hobo made a game of getting 'trapped' between the branches and having to be heaved out. We spent about 45 minutes picking up trees which were too short, too tall, too wide, lopsided, too green, and the wrong needles before settling on our perfect tree.We took it home and dressed it up, and it was magical seeing the look on the littlest hobos face as she pulled sparkly trinkets from my childhood out of their packaging and hung them on the same branch, over and over, which was by that point starting to sag a little.
|Choosing the Christmas tree|
I've taught the littlest hobo how to wrap presents too. Well, of a fashion. So if you read this and then receive a dogs dinner of sparkly paper mashed together with half a ball of sellotape, please smile and tell her that you're glad she went to the trouble of wrapping your present herself :) It's actually led to hours of entertainment for her, and it's usually me, with aching back from leaning over on the floor for just a bit too long, who puts a stop to this particular activity.
As many will already know, Mr Traveller likes to Cook like Jamie, so he and the littlest hobo had a lot of fun baking some Christmas biscuits, which we wrapped in cellophane today and will deliver to the neighbours. All of this Christmas activity has been taking place to a soundtrack of Christmas music which seems so much more comfortable when we're wrapped up warm inside against the biting wind and gloomy days that are hanging around outside the window.
This Friday we're joining friends to visit Santa on a farm. I'm fairly confident that I wouldn't be going anywhere near a farm in December if it wasn't for the fact that this particular farm is supposed to do the best Santa visits in the area (I'll let you know...). We've also been looking around for a carol service that we can take the littlest hobo to - there's something magical about standing, all rugged up, under the twinkling moonlight, listening to the most familiar of songs.
And then there's Christmas itself - we'll be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a combination of both Mr Travellers and my own family. The frenzy of planning has begun and there's stream of ongoing discussions trying to buy the perfect presents and make sure the day itself is just right. On Christmas Eve we'll get together to have a meal. We're house sitting for friends over Christmas in a house that's kitted out in so many sparkly lights it's probably a fire hazard, and we'll probably put on our hats and scarves on Christmas Eve and take a wander around the neighbourhood and look at the other lights too - any time after 4pm, seeing as that's when it's getting dark at the moment. After the post-Santa frenzy of Christmas morning, we'll wrap up warm and walk to the pub, which I hope will have a roaring log fire to warm ourselves by while we raise a Christmas glass, before returning home to eat Christmas dinner UK style, with turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, and I dare say turkey sandwiches in the evening. On Boxing Day we'll see more family, and probably brave the cold and go for another walk, just because it's tradition, and it's nice.
These are all things that I haven't done in the same way in the last few years. Our Christmas tree, for several years, was some silver twigs in a vase, we ate seafood and had a bbq for our Christmas lunch, and wore clothes to keep us cool. We spent time with the few members of family that were there, or with friends, and Boxing Day was all about the beach. I wonder if there'll be snow this year? It's been forecast for this Sunday....