The Brits don't celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously).
But, they do get Boxing Day so it all evens out.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and
means an extra day off to relax in your PJ's and eat too much.
We spent four days on the South coast of England with TE's parents.
We loaded the car with presents, suitcases and food. Then made the quick trip to Folkestone.
It was a great few days with TE and his family sharing all of their holiday traditions with me.
Christmas specials, music, puzzles and food!
So much food! We decorated cupcakes, which they call Fairy Cakes in the UK.
On Christmas Eve we had a little party with munchies (including queso!) and cocktails.
No matter how much I begged, we didn't open any presents until Christmas morning.
We all made out like bandits. I love my new satchel and wool blanket.
We had Christmas dinner early afternoon.
It was a traditional turkey dinner complete with stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce.
My mother-in-law put on a fantastic spread!
We put on Top of the Pops and popped open our crackers.
We read out the riddles and the paper crowns remained on for the rest of the day.
At 3pm it was time for the Queen's Christmas Message.
It was four days of relaxing around the fire and enjoying each others company.
I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful English family that love me.
But, can I tell you a little secret? I’m kind of glad the holidays are over.
It was my first Christmas as an expat. And in all honesty, it was tough.
I really struggled with finding balance between embracing the new and craving the familiar.
And, I really just missed my daughter and the rest of my family so much.
So, having recently been through it, here are a few pointers
if you ever find yourself spending the holidays away from home.
1. Relax and don’t be too hard on yourself. Holidays are stressful in the best of times. Holidays thousands of miles from home, will certainly be a challenge. And spending a Christmas away from your child is almost unbearable. Allow yourself to feel those feelings and find positive ways to deal with them.
2. Adapt your traditions to fit your new situation and mood. We purchased a massive, fragrant tree. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to decorate it. I hung all of our ornaments from the past year happily. But each box of older ornaments that I brought out just made me sad. So, I just put on a few of them. It still looks pretty. And watching Love Actually made me cry like a baby. The scenes from Heathrow Arrivals? Like a baby! My suggestion, skip it. Find a new Christmas movie to had to your annual rotation.
3. Don’t spend so much time searching for the familiar that you don’t embrace the new. I think that’s the hardest part about being away from home. I just wanted the familiar; familiar food, movies, music, and people. I went to a candlelit Carol Service and left after two songs. Here I was in this gorgeous, old church listening to a children’s choir. I didn’t recognize the songs and I didn’t want mince pies and tea. I wanted punch and cookies. I was trying so hard to find the familiar that I missed out on a wonderful experience.
4. Be open about how you are feeling and ask for a little help. My husband was thrilled to be home for Christmas. And you can imagine how happy his parents were to have him home. He was getting all of the familiar things that he has been missing for years. He’s been in my shoes for years and knew what I was going through. He even found me a traditional US Country Ham to go with the traditional UK turkey. When I came downstairs on Christmas morning, his mom met me at the bottom of the stairs with the biggest hug and it felt so good. I'm so grateful that I had them all surrounding me for Christmas.
5. Lastly, I suggest that you embrace the fabulous treat that is the quirky UK Christmas Number One. You haven’t really experienced Christmas until you’ve heard the following festive ear wig.
Do you have any tips for making the best of the Holidays away from home?