Tag Archives: Christmas

I have a dream

Hollywood films have a lot to answer for. They have been bombarding us with the image of the perfect happy family for so long, that a simple look to our plain and regular lot makes us feel disappointed.

Still, I think it can be done, especially at crucial times like Christmas.

And I have a dream.

My dream consist of a big living room / dining room, with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents and other gorgeous decorations. The house smells of cinnamon and cleanliness. Everybody is dressed up but without looking over the top. The children are running around and playing nicely. Everybody is mingling and having politics-and-religious-free conversations. The food, which looks straight out of an M&S advert, is served right on time, nothing is burnt, or undercooked, and everybody loves everything. There aren’t any fussy or picky eaters and even the traditional Christmas pudding (which I don’t personally like) is a success. After the meal more merriment, with singing and a bit of entertainment from the kids, who have been rehearsing a little play for the last couple of weeks. We open presents, more oh!s and ah!s, more easy flowing conversation. A few anecdotes from the elders of the family, the same anecdotes that we have heard again and again before, but make us laugh every time. Everybody chips in with the tidying up and then they all leave without much fuss, leaving me time to sit down by the fireplace with a glass of Baileys in my hand, looking out of the window to the freshly laid snow and relive the best moments of the day.

That is my white Christmas dream. I’ll let you all know if it comes true one day 🙂

Early Christmas

I, for one, love Christmas. The lights, the colours, the decorations, the ambience, the cheerfulness, the carols, etc. And I always look forward to the festive season eagerly.

However, this year I am actually a tiny bit annoyed that certain shops have started their full Christmas sale in mid October! Seriously? October? What will they be selling in December then? Valentine’s stuff?

We haven’t had Halloween yet (well, it’s today, actually – but I’ve had this post in mind since early last week) and still have Guy Fawkes’ night to come in a few day’s time. I understand shops selling costumes, witch’s brooms, pumpkins, fireworks, sparkles, etc. But Christmas trees and glitter balls? No, thanks.

I mean, I can see that the recession has hit hard and shops are trying their best to encourage sales, but I think this is going a bit too far into the crazy consumerism that seems to be ruling the world nowadays.

The great thing about Christmas is the expectation. Expectation of meeting up with friends and having great parties, visiting family or those people that you don’t really see the rest of the year, the exchange of presents (yeah, why not– but those presents may not necessarily be material ones), decorating your house if so you fancy… But when you’re being bombarded with everything Christmassy since October, this expectation loses its point.

I hope people keep their cool and don’t go crazy Christmas shopping in October. This will teach a lesson to the big shops who believe they can make us bring the festive season forward by two whole months.

Christmas flights

Yes, I have already bought my plane tickets to go back to Motril for Christmas. A couple of years ago I left it until November and they cost me a small fortune. So I had no intention to be in the same situation again.

That time, a couple of years ago, I waited for as long as I could to buy them because when I asked my brothers what the plans for Christmas were, they laughed at me saying that they were still at the beach and they couldn’t find themselves thinking about Christmas so early. Lucky them that they can still be at the beach in mid-September. For me mid September already smells like the beloved December celebration, as the shops have already started selling decorations and the such.

For the last three years running my brothers’ plan was to spend New Year’s Eve at a hotel that does a “cotillion”, with dinner, drinks and party attire included. The first couple of times was fun enough, but last year I had enough of it. The main problem laying in the fact that the music that my brothers would happily dance to to the end of the night is not necessarily the same music that I would dance to. Ever.

So this year we’ve decided to twist things a bit and go for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Jon’s family won’t spend it together anyway, so we might as well spend it with mine. I know it won’t be an easy task either, as some of my family are not talking to each other, so we’ll see how we celebrate. I can already see that my mum will prefer going to Katena rather than cook at home… Who can blame her…

And we’ll see what we arrange for New Year’s Eve, in Blighty…

I’m kind of dreaming of a white Christmas

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know”

Well, kind of…

I’m loving the snow this year. Seeing the snowflakes fall, seeing it settle, kids on sledges, making snowmen… It’s really fantastic. Despite the cold weather, one can’t help but feel cheerful with such a white scene.

However, with the snow comes the travel chaos. Roads, trains and airports have been seriously disrupted for the last couple of days. And my main problem is that they are announcing more snowy weather for Christmas day. Yep, that is going to be a problem, because we are supposed to spend the day with the family and nobody knows if the roads are going to be okay for driving. And the following day we are seeing more family, everybody is supposed to be travelling that day… and of course, nobody would want anybody to risk their security by travelling in icy and snowy roads.

And finally, we still don’t know the forecast for New Year. Is it going to keep snowing? I am supposed to be on a plane to visit my family in Spain for the first time since last Christmas, and despite the fact that I am not 100% looking forward to that little break, I am not looking forward to the travelling chaos either. I already had enough of that last year when we were stranded in Malaga’s airport* for 15 hours because of the snow in the UK (*and I don’t know about the brand new terminal in Malaga’s airport, but the old one was terrible – overpriced drinks, food and no entertainment at all)

Gatwick-Airport-has-closed-due-to-snow

So yeah, snow is gorgeous and fun when you are at home, playing with it in your back garden, when you have got plenty of food and drink supplies in your fridge and you really don’t need to go anywhere. Say you have to leave your house for anything, then you’re f*cked!

Different traditions in UK and Spain

The more I live in the UK, the more I realise how different these countries are. In Spain there are all kinds of traditions that have been followed by everybody all over the country for centuries. I can’t really think of any British traditions that are still fully alive these days.

For instance, just during Christmas, Spain has got the following traditions:
– Setting up the nativity scene (with the traditional “caganer“)
– Buying “Loteria de Navidad” and “Del Niño”
– Lots of seafood
– Singing Christmas Carols at home whilst playing the “zambomba” and the “pandereta
– Eating the “12 lucky grapes” in New Year’s Eve
– Eating “Turrones
– The “roscon de reyes
– And the most important of them all: The coming of the Three Wise Men.

Reyes Magos

Santa Claus has only been in Spain for the last 10-15 years, before that, the real “kings” of the whole Christmas were the “Reyes Magos” (= Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar). Basically, they are the three wise men (or Magi) who travelled for two years following a Star and brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus.

Hence, Spanish gift giving tradition follows this Biblical story and not any North Pole nonsense as Santa Claus.

The tradition is that on the night of the 5th of January all kids must leave their shoes outside (in the window sill, or outside your bedroom door) so the Three Wise Men know where to stop to leave the presents. Normally, also, it is good practice to leave “refreshments” for the Kings and their camels; this widely varies depending on the area or family. Some leave milk and biscuits, some leave brandy and chocolates. It really doesn’t matter as long as you leave something out for them to recharge their energy!

Somebody was asking me earlier what I had asked for this year to the Three Wise Men and I had to answer that unfortunately it’s been quite a while since they brought me any presents. Obviously, it is quite a journey for them to come to the UK as well, so I fully understand that they can’t come all the way just to bring presents for me. Plus, the fatty bearded man is a good deputy-present-courier and I won’t complain if presents come early each year.

Having the “Three Wise Men” festivity on the 6th of January had one good aspect and one bad aspect.
Good one: Christmas holidays last longer, as you don’t go back to school until after that day
Bad one: You normally go back to school straight after it, so you don’t really have much time to play with your brand new toys.

I used to love the excitement of leaving my room in the morning and see all the presents there right under the tree. I can’t really remember when I stopped believing, but I don’t remember it being a huge disappointment. I suppose that having two older brothers would influence it, as I’m pretty sure they managed to drop a few hints before my mum told me they are not real.