This December, as I keep saying every time I reflect on my continuing life here in London, is so vastly different from the previous. Last year I spent the weeks leading up to the holidays stuck in the library, nose buried in a book with 5 more stacked on the table. But still, of course, I saw how magical London becomes around the holidays. London does Christmas very well (which is good, considering they completely ignore any other winter holiday). The trees sparkle with white and blue lights, and each part of London pops with their own particular decorations. Last December I accompanied my friends on a botched ice skating trip (not that I would ever ice skate myself . . . phobias abound) and looked up into a giant tree decorated by Tiffany’s. I wandered around Christmas tree selling points and drank hot chocolate in coffee shops.
This year, the Christmas trees are in friends’ homes and our new (centrally located to our flats) local. As much as I love the twinkly trees and Christmas cheer in shops, I much prefer my red and green paper garland and the holly fairy lights strung across my mantle. Hot chocolate is drunk at home, Christmas gatherings planned at my flat (curry takeaway for dinner and cider cocktails for drink). And celebratory wine is drunk, the spoils of victory from second place at the Christmas pub quiz.
Christmas shopping is still difficult. The mix of shopping from my American amazon for American family and UK amazon for UK friends and shopping in person/fighting crowds is decidedly difficult. Of course, it’s made more difficult when the cat decides to help.
But in 3 short days I’ll be boarding a plane to the States, to spend two lovely weeks with my family and friends back home. And then it’s back again. For more of whatever this is.