If you’ve been listening lately you’ll know I’ve been working through some mixed feelings about Christmas. I talked about how the holidays have (perhaps unfortunately) coincided with the six-month-blues, and was then really sad and really pleased at how many people reached out to me in different forums to share their support and their own feelings about this difficult time of year, in the Christ-month blues. I even took to ‘poetry‘ to get it out of my system!
It’s strange and sometimes hard to be so far from family and friends at a time when tradition dictates that you should be with them. But when you come from an unconventional family and a December of sunshine, beaches and barbeques, it’s also a wee bit CUTE to watch tradition unfold around you.
So it’s pros and cons and yeas and nays all round. Or YAYs and nays!
Yay: It’s cold and dark
As much as this sounds like a nay, and yes, I’ve complained about it previously, it’s kinda nice to walk around seven dials with its ostentatious Christmas lights, and Regent Street with its 12 days of Christmas, and Oxford Street with its… Marmite lights. Yeah. But what’s nice is being able to walk about and see them straight after work, since it’s dark by 3pm. In NZ we’re all about the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ and I didn’t realise that this was an antipodean thing, but apparently we have such late-night masses because otherwise the pretty lights are overshadowed by the brilliant sunshine.
Nay: The shops
Dear gawd, I have always hated the crowds at the holidays. I described the everyday footpath situation in London to my mother as: it’s like it’s Christmas Eve at 5pm and the shops won’t open until January 25th… EVERY DAY. So multiply this by actual shopping-for-love season and it’s bordering on a murder-suicide possibility. Being around Oxford Circus the other day made me never want to be anywhere near there ever again. Monopoly be damned.
Yay: Shops are open!
I don’t know about the rest of the city, but here in little village-looking suburb Stoke Newington, where I’m spending Christmas with LD, there are multiple supermarkets and off-licences open. I wonder if it’s the diversity of the city working in my alcoholic favour as there’s a whole lotta people not celebrating Christmas and willing to work. I have no idea if it’s legal for them to sell me booze today, but they’re all up for it, and so am I!
They have ads here! In NZ there is no commercial advertising (i.e. nothing but ads for other shows) on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and I think the two days after NYE. It used to be the perfect time to tape all your fave old school movies on VHS. I guess instead we’ll just go back to a different sort of ripping. LD also pointed out that it’s ALL perfume ads. What is with Brad Pitt looking like a country singer for Chanel?
Yay: Going for a walk
I would never ‘go for a walk’ back home, as the suburban pavements would be dangerously chocka-block with children trying out their new bikes, trikes, and that kid walking down the street in his flippers. But LD and I just took a walk about the back alleys and got our fill of cool air, twinkly lights, men in fluoro yelling at us to get outa the park, and Merry Christmases from apparent crack addicts. We also got rained on, but apart from that, we got a look into a lot of people’s Christmases through their sparkly windows (no, it’s not creepy), and worked off lunch to make room for our pudding-dinner. Noice!
‘Tis hard to be away from the fam, especially when the London family end up spread out and about. It’s also too far to send presents mostly, as the postage will cost more than the gift and, as I learnt with recent bday presents, might not ever arrive. My fam are mostly together, and mother even took Toby (my canine replacement) to Auckland for Christmas day, so almost all are in one place. Except me.
Thank the lord I don’t have to write a letter six weeks early in time to get it across the southern oceans, coz we all know that’s not gonna happen. I can barely seem to manage an email. But at least there is facebook, with its super-sincere wishes to one and all for spoiling and overeating. And Skype, which woulda been great today, but for my grandparent’s lack of camera and mic whoops! As much as I groan, it really is great to be able to text, and message, and blog when my loved ones are spread throughout the world.
It looks like I’ve got more yays than nays. I am a bit jealous of the beautiful sunshine I’ve seen all over my facebook feed today from my NZ pals, as I’d rather have a sunny than a rainy Christmas, and a snowy one has evaded us miserably. It’s funny how I could wish for the sun in the same way a Northern-Hemispherite would long for the white, but I’m dreaming of the yellow and blue.
Nevertheless, there’s love and lights and I’m healthy and happy and having an adventure. I’m also spending most of the day on the couch in my PJs, so it’s all good really!