Was It Ever Like That?
Ex-pat reflections on the Christmas that never was gleaned from collective memy
The ex-pat Christmas – an amalgam of all those festive moments that you are never actually sure you had – a tapestry of times and traditions, festive food – Got to have a mince pie, must have a Christmas pudding ‘cos they’re traditional. Hang on a minute – we never had mince pies and Chrismas “pud” in our house – no one liked them. (or mum didn’t like them).
What was that Christmas past that I’m never sure ever was?
- Down the pub on Christmas Eve, getting into the Christmas spirit with complete strangers, rocking around to Slade « Merry Xmas. »
- Strolling sozzled into Midnight Mass. Tanked up on enough goodwill and whisky to stick a fiver in the collection plate – Hey it is Christmas.
- Carol singing with friends – woolly hats, lanterns and mulled wine .
- Late Christmas shopping – finding that last minute présent before the shops close on Christmas Eve.
- Rowdy Christmas parties.
I think I’ve done them once, but they weren’t regular festive activities, as an ex-pat though, you tend to roll everything into one for a bright, shining festive memory of a typical British Christmas – a Bright shining but very comforting lie.
Over the years I think I’ve stopped pursuing the traditional British Christmas. Try explaing Christmas crackers to the French. Try and get them to eat Christmas pudding or Christmas cake … IMPOSSIBLE. There are no French Christmas carols as we know Carols in Britain – well the French never had Dickens and the Victorians seem to have given us most of our traditions and elevated the festival to cult status.
No matter the traditions, despite the trappings, Christmas is very much what you make it. So, closing down for the festive blip.
Whatever and however, have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.