Kristen over at See You In A Porridge wrote a really sweet post about what it’s like to spend Christmas with her family, and it got me thinking of what I’ll be missing this year during my first Christmas abroad. My mom and I typically spend the holidays together, just us. We didn’t start celebrating until I was 14, and have since developed a small list of traditions. For one, we assemble our tree (we’ve had the same fake pine tree for over a decade) and decorate it the day after Thanksgiving with the same ornaments we’ve had since we first bought the tree. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a lot of personalized ornaments, too. So many, in fact, that we have to become Sherlock Holmes and Watson in order to find a free bit of tree to stick the remaining ornaments onto.
There’s also the tradition of chasing whatever feline menace is living with me at the time away from said tree.
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is food, food, FOOD.
Mom and I plan our menu each year. Some foods are staples (baked ham, collard greens, yams, turkey, mac & cheese), but there are dishes we rotate in and out, too. My main food-related duty on the day is eating (we all have our strengths), but I do help out here and there. It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that my mom’s food is the best ever, so why mess with a good thing?
On Christmas day, we HAVE to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (and sing along, too, of course)…
…and on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day we watch the Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy.
Of course we open gifts. And once we open them, our unwrapped presents go back under the tree for a day or two so we can enjoy the look of a full tree a little longer.
I’m happy to be living in England — it’s literally a dream come true — but I’ll miss spending the holidays with my mom. However, me being here just means I’ll have to come up with my own traditions to carry me through the season. And in future, when my mother comes to visit me here for Christmas, we’ll have new ways of celebrating (but we’ll still watch The Grinch wherever we are in the world because how can you not? 🙂 ).
*Brief aside* I did my first UK reading Tuesday night, and it went really well! I was a newbie to this group of (crazy talented) writers, who all seemed to know one another, and I was worried the humor in the piece wouldn’t come across… but it did! One of the organizers told me afterwards, “You were a revelation! Everyone kept saying ‘That lady! That lady!’ So I guess I’ll have to bill you as ‘That Lady’ from now on.” Hahaha! I smiled the whole way home. I’m so happy to have found a literary community to be part of here.
I’m on the lookout for fun ways to spend my first Christmas in England, so if you’ve got any recommendations, send ’em my way.
Happy Holidays, everyone!