England is the land of quaint Christmas pictures. They did produce Dickens after all. You wouldn’t think that it would be hard to get into the Christmas spirit. We have Christmas lights hung all over London, Christmas trees decorated in nearly every public square. Small towns have markets and Santa and live nativities with donkeys even as our local hardware store. Sounds pretty Christmasy to me.
But’s it’s not the same. It’s not home. There isn’t a Target to walk through and be tempted by the reasonably priced goods. There isn’t eggnog at every store. And more than anything, it is still all new.
This is our third Christmas overseas, and each gets easier, but that also means that with each one, I forget that it still might not be the same. That happened here. London has all the makings of a great Christmas atmosphere, but it still isn’t home. There won’t be Christmas Eve with Sarabeth and Andy, or driving around looking at Christmas lights sipping on a latte (though both are present, it’s a dangerous proposition with our narrow roads . . . as I learned last night!)
Anytime you move the holidays will be different. I’m learning (though I keep forgetting) that instead of trying to duplicate old traditions, it is best to create new ones that are unique to where you are. Simply trying to recreate always leaves me sad and disappointed. When I embrace what is new and different, the holiday spirit is much more likely to come.
It’s our first Christmas in England. I hope that by the time we leave here, hopefully many years in the future, I miss Christmas here just as much as I do the States right now.
*Last day to get your t-shirt before Christmas