This was my first Christmas in England, and I spent it at a family friends’ place in Bishops Strotford, a town just out of London. I took the train there on the 24th and returned to London on Boxing Day. This year was the first year that I spent Christmas anywhere but home. At home we have a Christmas tradition: a pot-luck brunch. I live in a joint family, which means that I live not only with my parents and siblings, but also my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. So, we’re about 20 people in my house and on Christmas everyone brings something to the table. Every member of the family has a special dish they cook for Christmas brunch each year. The day usually starts by us waking up to Christmas music, which then continues to be played all day, getting dressed and bringing over food. Invariably, people are late, and brunch doesn’t start till lunch time, by which point everyone is starving, thanks to not having had anything to eat all day. Post-brunch, gifts are finally removed from the under the tree and distributed by the children. Having eaten too much and no longer being able to move or function, the afternoon is a time for relaxation and the entire family gathers in the drawing room to watch a movie, and so the day goes on. We generally end up just chilling all afternoon and the Christmas party resumes in the evening when the drinks come out and left-overs are had for dinner.
Now that you have an idea of what a normal Christmas day is at my home, I’ll go in to Christmas 2016, and how it was different while also being quite the same. The day began with us being up bright and early to open presents, after which we all got to work in the kitchen, prepping for brunch. The family I was staying with was having their relatives over for brunch and were cooking an absolute feast. There was turkey, gammon, beef among other salads and veges, and then there was also fruit and cream sponge cake and toblerone cheesecake…and everything was delicious! Brunch was supposed to be at half 12 but the first relatives turned up at half 1 and by the time everyone came and we sat down to eat, it was 3. Canapés and mulled wine is all we’d had at that point, and so after a quick round of crackers, we all started piling food on our plates and pigging out.
When our stomachs could no longer take any more food, we all retired to the drawing room where we had another round of presents. The family had another tradition; every year they played dumb-charades after brunch. So, we divided ourselves into oldies vs. youngsters and played charades for a good couple hours. As the game progressed, the names of the movies became more and more absurd and it was an absolute laugh seeing people act out and guess movies they’d never even heard of. We finally stopped playing because it was getting late and a lot of the family had long drives back home. By that time, everyone was tired and yawning although it was only around 7 pm. After an entire day, we switched off the Christmas music and watched the ‘Bake Off Christmas Special’ while cleaning up the kitchen and then everyone settled down to have dinner and watch The Jungle Book.
Now, I haven’t yet mentioned, but the family has a dog named Kaiser who is the most adorable dog I’ve met. He’s a 10 year old golden retriever and was the highlight of my Christmas. He has a blanket that he roams around carrying in his mouth, is attention seeking and will keep quiet only if you continuously pet him, and he barked every time he saw an animal on the tele (he went mad when we started watching The Jungle Book). He’s a big, old, adorable fellow! I have a dog back home who I miss more than anyone else, and Kaiser being around made me miss my puppy less.
So, while this Christmas was spent in a small town in England instead of in India, it went through pretty much the same motions as Christmas back home does. Christmas is a very family affair at home, and I’m glad it was the same here; it made me not miss my family. It was basically the same Christmas as always, just in a different location with people who felt like family.
I hope you all had a great Christmas this year!
That’s all for now, folks!
Hope you’re having a good morning/afternoon/night wherever you are!
Quote of the Day: “At Christmas, all roads lead home.” – Marjorie Holmes