Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas

By now most of you will be packing up your desk or suitcases and heading back 'home' for Christmas. (If you are travelling on long journeys with children check out 'Tis the Season to be Travelling' for tips to keep them occupied).

Things will be getting quieter on the roads any day now, the school holidays are already in full swing, and frantic last minute shopping expeditions are being carried out.

It is the season to spend with family and loved ones, to wrap yourselves in tradition and to keep jolly, no matter how strong the urge gets to wrap the entire turkey around one in-law or another.

Christmas back in England was filled with stockings, mince pies, Christmas pudding with brandy butter, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, Christmas crackers containing silly paper hats and plastic toys that served no purpose other than to choke small children and pets, copious amounts of alcohol, treats left for Santa and a fairy on top of the Christmas tree.

Life abroad means that family traditions change. I buy what I can from the English supermarkets when I am back (or there are the expat shops nearby) to bring a little of an English Christmas to the Netherlands each year but traditions get watered down, or enhanced by the local customs and Christmas is not quite as it was before I moved abroad. It is not better, nor worse, just different.

And in turn we are creating new Christmas traditions for our children.

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