By Selga Berzins
You know it’s almost Christmas in Australia when Jakaranda trees turn purple, there are bowls of cherries on the table and the weather starts warming up. But what’s it like on the other side of the world where it’s winter?
This year I’m spending Christmas in London and the build up has been eye opening. I’ll start with the fairy lights – they’re everywhere! Oxford street has an amazing display that stretches for miles and this year Robbie Williams had the honour of flicking on the switch in the city.
The suburbs are just as bright. Most of the high streets are decked with lights and ornaments. You’ll also find Christmas tree stalls on street corners, selling all shapes and sizes. Fake trees virtually don’t exist here and it’s not hard to see why. The fresh smell of pine needles beats plastic any day! And the best bit is, people place their decorated trees by their front windows for everyone to see.
The British love their food and this becomes even more obvious during the winter months. At Christmas, everything revolves around turkey. Supermarkets publish Christmas catalogues that have pages and pages dedicated to this delicious bird. Plain, stuffed, half, whole, the options are endless. The same can be said for puddings, lavish custards and tummy-warming egg nog.
Dressing for the occasion also ranks highly, but is nothing like festive fashion in Australia. Thongs are replaced with boots, hats are swapped for beanies and t-shirts are put aside for knitted jumpers. In fact, the biggest fashion statement this year has been the knitted jumper decorated with tacky christmas icons including snowmen, reindeer and snowflakes.
In the week prior to Christmas, the festive season is ramps up. People are singing carols on the street (yes, that really does happen over here!), there’s congestion in every shopping strip and office parties dominates the social calendar. For me, one very important question remains… Will it be a WHITE Christmas? I hope so!