December 2016: Christmas in the UK

As I said, by the middle of November I’d had enough. Luckily, in the UK it’s customary to take quite a bit of time off as we make a big thing of Christmas. Without the distraction of Thanksgiving I felt like we were just sprinting hard to the middle of December, when I’d be able to take at least two weeks holiday. And in the meantime there was the fun of Christmas lights in London, carol singing at every opportunity and a Christmas concert with my choir.

img_0798
There was a definite theme of Christmas angels this year
img_0791
Window at Fortnum and Mason’s

Christmas markets have also become a real thing in the UK now. I don’t know much about the north of England, but down in the South you can visit the fairly established markets in Winchester, Bath and Exeter – and now Oxford too. In London there’s been one by the Festival Hall for a while, but this year there were stalls by the Tate Modern too, and at City Hall, meaning you could walk the Southbank and never run out of mulled cider…

img_0676
At Tate Modern

I did find it sad that Christmas was a bit curtailed in DC; the run-up is shorter and its thunder is rather stolen by Thanksgiving. So this year I even enjoyed the Christmas music playing in shops from the beginning of November, and I really had to be restrained from eating mince pies before December.

The religious aspect of Christmas doesn’t mean so much to me – I experience it more as a culture rather than believing in it as a faith – but this year I did derive quite a bit of comfort from attending the church service of the lessons and carols – as I had the service for Remembrance Day (our version of Memorial/Veterans Day) in November. This was probably a combination of nostalgic comfort in following traditional customs and the fact that the Church seems to be the main force against the extremes of right wing politics at the moment…

The main thing I enjoyed though was being on holiday, holed up in our families’ homes, away from the world, with nothing more to do than eat, drink and be merry. 2017 could wait – and it had to be better than 2016!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “December 2016: Christmas in the UK

  1. That’s funny that you find that Thanksgiving overshadows Christmas in America. That’s the holiday I miss the most, since it gets you ready for the holiday season. I do love the Christmas markets here though, we found the one in Manchester to be really good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, we can do Christmas markets up North too. Big ones like Manchester and Leeds as well as smaller community-based ones – my favourite is at Ripon Cathedral. Unlike you though, I hate it that Christmas begins early. Any shop with Christmas muzak on has me walking straight out again, particularly before early December. And mince pies? Not before about mid-December!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s