As I write this, Christmas Day 2011 is already a memory, even though it’s still holiday time and it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow. The frantic shopping, card-writing and present-wrapping rituals have, once again, all been done in time – just – and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t breathe a huge sigh of relief.
One of my favourite Christmases was four years ago when our very good friends from Washington came over to stay. We took them on a whirlwind sight-seeing tour of London on Christmas Eve, stopping for lunch in an ancient pub in the heart of the City. We went up on the London Eye, walked round the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Mall, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden ... and I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired in my life :)
But I do think it’s always so much more enjoyable seeing your home town through visiting friends’ eyes, experiencing their pleasure, and seeing everything so differently. How many times have I got out of the tube at Charing Cross and walked down the Strand to work, without even seeing the lions in Trafalgar Square or Nelson standing so high up on his column above the Square? Too many to count. In our busy lives we often miss many wonderful things around us, or simply take them for granted. I’m a Londoner born and bred, but moved to the Sussex countryside with my parents at the age of ten. There’s an old saying, ‘You can take the girl out of the City, but you can’t take the City out of the girl.’ So true, because after graduating from Art College, back I went to London!
That Christmas Day four years ago is one of my happiest memories of any holiday season. Traditions differ of course, but the sentiments are the same. We have the main Christmas meal at lunchtime and our friends have theirs in the evening. We traditionally have turkey, which they, of course, have at Thanksgiving. Also our ancient cottage is tiny, but we managed to squish eight people around our old oak table for lunch where our friends had roast potatoes – English-style – for the first time. The presents were handed round after lunch amid much laughter at some of the jokey ones, and at the antics of our cat as she burrowed in all the empty wrapping paper.
So with apologies for being a day late with my blog, all that’s left is for me to wish you all health and happiness for 2012, and to wonder (fleetingly) what vampires do for Christmas ...