As an expat, you find yourself a little adrift sometimes at the
holidays – somewhat akin to the little Matchgirl standing in the cold.
No, I take that back, they are #firstworldproblems – we aren’t freezing in
the snow, and if we are it’s because celebrations were a little too
You do however end up starting your own
hilarious Christmas traditions. Some are untraditional like the gorgeous
Montgomerys who have a tradition of not traditioning, I
have ached to be a) prepared and b) in the country for the fabulously
British tradition of ‘stir-up Sunday’, the date where households gather
their baking aprons to and failed several years in the row – but I did finally manage to watch the Trafalgar Square switch on this year. However, when the lovely Annie of Montgomery Fest first mentioned the inagural Expat holiday round-up, I knew there was only one topic I needed to confess.
**Disclaimer: Not our 2015 tree**
This year is the second in a row that we aren’t decorating
for Christmas. *Cue the Awwws*. Normally I allow myself to go a little
crazy – we’re talking fairy light overload, a beautifully smelling real
Christmas tree carried on the train to the bemusement of our fellow
travellers, bedecking every possible surface with baubles, wassailing
from the very first moment possible (some unkind people might infer it’s
wailing – to-mar-to, toh-may-to), cupboards groaning with spiced mince pies and stockings all hung by the chimney with care.
Instead, with a trip for a family Christmas planned, a
mini-neon green Christmas Tree accidentally fell into my bag on the way
home the other day (I blame an afternoon of mulled cider by a roaring
fire – I swear it was the warmth that did it) so once home I carefully
upended our Christmas Storage Facility (a non-Pinterest worthy
hodge-podge of repurposed boxes that lurk in our cupboard under the
stairs, itching to get out each
November December) to find my absolute favourite tree decorations.
** I did warn you about the effects of mulled cider – luckily I didn’t go for the neon pink one…**
They’re an unusual mix collected over the last few years – I prefer to
forgo a colour scheme for a collection of memories, leaving the overall
scheme of baubles to my husband’s whimsy. When I began travelling, I
collected postcards voraciously (sometimes they still turn up, usually
when I’m looking for socks, distracting me from the job at hand until my
toes go blue) but after a while we realised that they don’t really ‘do’
anything but hang out on my corkboard. We then hit upon the genius idea
of collecting Christmas decorations as wanderlust souvenirs that we could enjoy for a month or so each year hanging from the tinsel laden boughs.
Amongst the branches hang miniature dutch clogs, an Irish
fairy, teeny Kiwis, Football baubles and a German angel who crown our
decorations with a fair few others. As a childless couple it makes for a
personalised tree, a month in the year running through travel memories
and they are super small to carry through airport security. (A small
Oscar figurine might just have been added to the collection this year
after our adventure in Los Angeles, but I can’t admit anything.)
I’ve tried, but can’t pick a favorite – the enthusiasm for my husbands football team the Grimsby Mariners; a sweet momento of our blissful 10 days in Ireland, teeny-tiny porcelain clogs reminiscent of our Amsterdam long weekend.
Or perhaps it’s the glittery London tube train, an ethereal spinning crystal star hanging sweetly, miniature kiwi birds in Santa hats or perhaps the German Christmas Market angel that crowns our indoor forest.
Happily, it’s for a good reason – I just hope that my family understand the full extent of the whirlwind of expat that they are subjecting their own homes to…
Have you a favorite ornament/memory?