Christmas in the sun = no fun

Aside from Halloween, where I get to let my freak out, Christmas is my favourite time of year.  Rob adores it too, so there are two grown adults acting like excited kids in our house over the festive period!

Iceskating last year, in my ear muffs!

It all starts with that crisp and chilly anticipation in the November London air.  Days get shorter, night time starts whilst you are still in the office, and by the time you leave for home the lights are twinkling and there is a festive feel.  In Canary Wharf, where we both lived and worked, Christmas stalls pop up that sell German goodies (why is Christmas so German in London?!) such as stollen, lebkuchen, zimtsterne and everyone’s favourite, gluhwein (that’s mulled wine to you and I).  Seeing this everyday on your way home from work really gets that festive spirit going.  These stalls spread around London like wild fire.  They have a German market outside The O2, which just so happens to house our local cinema so we are there frequently. Then the lights on Regent Street and Carnaby Street are turned on, and all of a sudden shopping in the extreme throng of frenzied tourists just isn’t so bad, it’s pretty darn beautiful!   Outdoor ice-skating rinks pop up in the most amazing venues – Somerset House, Tower of London, The Natural History Museum are among my favourites.  We go every year

Then Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park and Taste of Christmas arrive and you know that Christmas really is just around the corner.  Borough Market starts selling hot cider in addition to all of it’s yummy offerings, and mince pies are consumed by the dozen.  Work Christmas parties are planned, and the Christmas Coca Cola and Marks and Spencer tv ad’s are an institution

Every year we have Christmas Day with Rob’s family, and then my family come to our house for Boxing Day.  On both days we open stacks of presents and eat a huge roast dinner consisting of as many different meats and trimmings as we can fit on our always too small table

I LOVE Christmas shopping for my family.  I’ve always been very good at getting them the presents that suit them, a talent I share with my sister Danielle.  I must admit, I am phobic about shopping in London in the crowds (people actually touch you!) so I do most of my shopping online, but a couple of days during December we do brave the crowds to go and experience shopping in Central London.  The grotto’s in Selfridges and other big departments stores are awesome, Hamley’s toy store display always makes you want to be 10 years old again, and Fortnum and Mason’s food hall is an amazing, delicious place (as my sister Rebecca will testify.  She’s a little obsessed with that place)

This year, we will have Christmas in the sun.  In Joburg this time of year is prime holiday season, and you will be hard pressed to find an available guest house in Cape Town, Durban and similar.  The place is literally evacuated.  We have been lucky enough that a good friend is from Mauritius, and he is going home for Christmas.  He invited us to stay with him, so this year we are spending Christmas with his family, in the sun, in Mauritius.  Awesome!

Yet, I can’t help yearning for a British Christmas.  It was a white Christmas the last couple of years, so we spent the whole of Christmas day fretting that the car was going to be snowed in, eating way too much all day, spilling red wine on my sister in law’s new carpet, and wearing our warmest, snuggly clothes whilst falling asleep in front of Doctor Who.  I do love a pair of wooly Christmas socks.  My friends and I painstakingly choose our wooly footwear for the festive period weeks in advance.  Totes rock my world

It’s summer in South Africa in December.  Everywhere I look there are Christmas trees popping up in stores and Christmas music playing in shops.  Still, I don’t feel remotely festive at all.  This is so unlike me!  The minute I can see my own breath on the air in London I start to feel festive! I’ve usually finished most of my shopping in November and have the whole month of December just eating and watching movies – Sky have a Christmas channel from November that plays all the old classics, and new ones too (Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and Bad Santa are non-negotiable viewing).  It’s so strange to see Christmas things around here, yet you are covered in a high SPF cream and can’t go out without sunglasses lest you go blind

Nativity scene from the Christmas market we went to in the 30 degree heat
I know that I am very lucky to have the opportunity to spend Christmas in paradise, I really do.  But this time of year is usually the only time that I get my whole family in one room, and I really am missing that.  Luckily for us, I know my friend from Mauritius very well, and have met a lot of his family before, so it is not like we are complete strangers camping out for the day

Nevertheless, Killick’s, Brown’s, Murarji’s, Webb’s and everyone in between – we love you and miss you.  Have some Christmas pudding for us – I’m pretty sure we won’t be having any this year as Rob refuses to eat anyone elses other than his mum’s!

Vintage Rebecca and Martina.  Danielle was a baby.  I’m the one with The Fringe.  Damn it

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18 thoughts on “Christmas in the sun = no fun

  1. Oh stop moaning about the perfect weather, relish and do as many South Africans and celebrate Christmas in July with a party on a date of your choice, with roast turkey and other heavy goodies.
    It seems like that little ‘Learn to write’ set you got from Santa really paid off!

    • Okay Jeroen, I’m trying really hard not to be hurt that you always comment on the ‘new’ Jozi girls’ blogs now, and neglect mine. I miss your little admonitions and corrections.

    • The point is that it is NOT perfect weather for Christmas. Christmas to us is more than just one day – it’s the whole lead up, and most importantly, spending time with our family. We will not be able to do this in July!

      You know, I don’t even remember getting that Learn to Write kit – but I do remember getting that vanity set of mirror, comb and hairbrush!

  2. Oh my goodness this Jeroen guy is crazy – this is the first time I’ve ever seen one of his comments!

    I’m also used to cold Christmas and even though I’ve been here 4 years now I’ve never gotten used to the warm weather. This year I’m a bit more into it though because I bought a little tree for our flat! 🙂

    xoxo
    Jenna

    • haha Jenna! For the first year in yonks we are not going to get a tree as they are so expensive, and we are away. Plus there are no presents to go underneath! I knew I should have just shipped my tree from the UK!

  3. You were such a cutie patootie! We neeed to do something Christmas-y. Someone throw a party outside in the middle of the night, it will be cold enough to wear a sweater and boots at least!

  4. Love this post, it’s making me feel even more appreciative of Christmas here! I’m sure you will enjoy Mauritius, and I’m sure by next Christmas you’ll be flying home for a visit! 🙂 I used to find that the real Christmas feeling didn’t hit me till about a week before the actual day in Seychelles. But it is true, a cold and (hopefully) white christmas is just more magical. And it is about the whole build up to it too. And, esp being part German, I totally get your appreciation for the German markets! 😉
    Loving the new blog look btw. xxxx

    • Thanks A! I’m hoping that I will get that last rush of festive feeling, but I doubt it as we just are not doing anything that we usually do. We will have an awesome time away – it’s just that I still miss my usual cold Christmas. Enjoy for me!

  5. Think of it this way. When my sister was in Scotland for her studies. She HATED Christmas there. Cold dark, snowing. None of the things we’ve grown up associating with Christmas (i.e. SPF 30, braais, swimimng, tanning etc). Christmas is what you make it. It’s very hard when things are SO unfamiliar but so long as you surround yourself with friends and love, does it matter where you are?

    • Yes, it’s true. I suppose moving to a country so close to Christmas effects the way we are feeling as our family and older friends are not here. Luckily for us we have made some great friends very quickly, so it’s not like we are just the two of us alone. Which would result in one of us killing the other 😉

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