2nd day of December and already in full swing.
Somerset House Ice Rink. Somerset House, London, England. December 2014.
As an American living in London, I’ve learned a lot about the way we all divide up our final few months of the year between all our holidays; one month each for Halloween and October, Thanksgiving and November, and, finally (and in its due course), Christmas in December. Each has its time and place on the calendar, in our minds, and the way in which our lives are broken down in time.
This is a whole other worldview than I’ve found here in London:
Halloween seems smaller; a fun opportunity to binge drink no matter the day of the week, but this time in costume. I don’t know if it’s a ‘life in the city’ thing or dorm life thing or a wider non-America thing (maybe even a grown up thing), but there seems to be smaller appeal here.
Thanksgiving, as an exclusively American tradition (at least, on our date – other’s have their own), isn’t celebrated here. Instead, you go about your average day tasks like work or (for me) school, and if you want to cook and celebrate, you work around that schedule. For me, this meant three days of cooking between the other tasks I had to do, but I had a lot of fun (Check out my other blog—shared with my sister back in the US—for more on this Thanksgiving which will go up on Friday, and for other Lifestyle oriented posts of two twenty-somethings living half a world apart!), and of course, way too much food! However, one must remember that there are a lot of Americans in the UK, and in London especially, so, if you are planning on making pies, I’ve been told to shop in advanced as your ingredients will be out of stock on the day of unless you are very lucky!
Because there is no Thanksgiving, Christmas comes early here—a full month early. My graduate program celebrated its Christmas party already, specifically on November 26—the day before Thanksgiving!
As an American, this just seemed wrong. Things were not in there designated months and my more local friends didn’t understand my freak out – mostly because most of them forget that Thanksgiving is an actual things for Americans and because Christmas for them simply starts this early. I’d say the season here picks up a bit after Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) and then just keeps going.
I, for one, am not sure how they sustain the season with all the enthusiasm which appears in shop windows and around holiday festivities, like the ice rinks and carnivals that seem to have sprung up what seems like overnight.
So, as my first semester in London comes to a close, I’ll be going out over break between writing my final essays and sharing more of these winter treats to check out if you are ever in the area, as well as seeing where else I can get to. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the other blog—Silk Sheets and Grilled Cheese— where I’ll be bringing an LA and London experience perspective of food, fashion, and anything else I encounter here.
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.