It’s Christmas


When I think of Christmas I think of wintry cold days, being wrapped up in too many layers, mulled wine or hot cider , spending time with family and open log fires. Last year what I experienced for Christmas was something very different. We sunbathed on Christmas Day, drank ice cold beers, celebrated with a bunch of other backpackers and had a BBQ down by the river. There was the usual turkey and ham lunch too but I certainly lacked in any kind of Christmas cheer or excitement in the build up or even on the day.

Christmas in 2010

Christmas in 2010

Spending Christmas in the sun was something that sounded very exotic and exciting; the truth was when it came to actually spending Christmas abroad it just felt strange. Having Christmas decorations up in a town full of sunshine and 40 degree weather just felt wrong. To me the reminders Christmas is getting near are all things wintry – the cold weather and hot drinks by an open fire just doesn’t work for an Australian Christmas. I really struggled to get my head around the fact it was December and it was Christmas because I wasn’t used to it all.

Despite not being excited for the day nor really being able to afford many luxuries on the day I had one of the best Christmas celebrations I have ever had. We were living on a boat in the middle of South Australia with about 50 fellow backpackers all used to the same wintry feeling for Christmas. We all grouped together and three wonderful people in the group volunteered to cook Christmas dinner for the 30 or so of us that wanted it. We decorated the lounge and set up the tables with Christmas cloths and crackers. As people popped open bottles over the edge of the boat and the boys went around shouting ‘it’s Christmas’ I began to appreciate our setting and the people we had around us that day. There was nothing traditional about my Christmas abroad and I have to admit I really missed the traditional stuff! However it was a great celebration with everyone else being in the same situation and I think that’s what spending Christmas abroad is. As for having Christmas in the hot weather that’s something that is only strange to half the world and something I will never get used to, being from the northern hemisphere.

This year I have been excited for Christmas since November, pretty much as soon as it got cold. Apart from a brief spell in New Zealand I have missed that proper cold winter weather since 2011 – winter in Oz really wasn’t that cold – so as soon as it arrived my mind started to get excited for Christmas. We have had our tree up since the beginning of December, been opening advent calendars all month and the shops have had their Christmas displays up since Halloween! Now Christmas is finally upon is and I couldn’t be more excited.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Christmas Markets are one of my favourite parts of Christmas and the one in Edinburgh is certainly not to be missed! I have been lucky enough to visit before back in 2011 but this year they have really upped their game. With two Christmas locations – the usual one along Princes Street and the other at St. Andrews square. They seem to have less rides this year but that’s a good thing as it allows more market stalls. It is predominately a German style market with nearly every other stall selling mulled wine or hot ciders; it certainly isn’t just for shopping. I would love to visit a real German market in one of the German cities but unfortunately I just couldn’t afford to… There’s always next year. Along with my dreams of being in New York for the holiday period.

What is in store for Christmas this year? Well I have left Glasgow behind for the week to spend time with my family and my boyfriend’s family. We will get to be part of some family Christmas traditions that we missed out on last year, drink too much mulled wine and eat too much food. I cannot wait to be part of a traditional wintry with family and friends this year.

Have you spent a Christmas abroad or are you preparing to this year? If you are spending Christmas at home what traditions do you love about this time of year?