Christmas international student bloggers

Anyone that knows me well knows that Christmas is by far my favourite time of year. Everything about it makes my heart skip a beat. I think my deep love for it stems from my childhood. My parents, in particular, always made Christmas a magical time of year for both my sister and I growing up. While things change, the older you get the love and magic that comes with Christmas time does not go away- at least I hope it won’t go away anytime soon.

So, as you can imagine when I first found out I was moving to London one of my first thoughts and I’m not lying was, “I can’t miss Christmas, I can’t go to London.” I presume my mum had similar thoughts as my flight is booked to return home just in time for Christmas day.

However, I realised it’s not Christmas day that I love. It’s the weeks leading up to it.  As the first of December rolled around It was already really obvious that this year was going to be drastically different than any other year of my life. Sure, I was going home for Christmas day but I was missing all the family traditions in the lead-up. It was at this point I realised I had to embrace the coming weeks and make my own traditions, otherwise, I was going to miss out on enjoying my favourite time of year. It was especially important I made my own traditions if I want to call London my home permanently.

Usually, on the first day of December, my family listens to carols and we put up one of our several Christmas trees. My mum usually turns our house into a winter wonderland – the closest thing I thought I would ever get to the north pole. The night usually goes on with my sister and me unravelling Christmas lights. I don’t know how it happens but it does not matter how they are packed up every year we struggle with knots in the Christmas lights, we have tried everything. However, rather than being with my family, I spent the night this year with my London family. At our student accommodation, my friends and I decorated the tree. The group of us had mulled wine, mince pies and the company of each other.  It was a really beautiful night, with a really awfully decorated tree.

Other things that have got me in the Christmas spirit have been looking at the decorations that have been put around London. Since moving here it’s clear that no one puts on a Christmas display like the city of London. At Vauxhall station, my closest tube, has just erected a beautiful tree complete with volunteer carol singers on selected nights. Michelle and I also went to Oxford street to watch the turning on of the lights. We stood for over half an hour squished up against everyone, only to miss the light switch on because we were in an in-depth conversation (I wouldn’t expect anything else from the two of us). At least once a week we also try to go for a stroll down Oxford Street to look at the windows and lights and grab a Starbucks.

I made sure that my apartment is not without something festive. I went and bought myself a miniature live Christmas tree complete with fake snow from Sainsbury’s. My cupboard is also spilling open after I bought myself a pile of Christmas sweaters in the black Friday sales. Another bonus to living in London rather than Australia throughout December is that I can actually wear Christmas sweaters outside, with no judgment…well not as much judgment.

However, the one tradition I hope I will get to continue for as long as I live here in London are the Christmas markets. Coming from Australia there aren’t really such thing as Christmas markets. So, the thought of going to Hyde Park for Winter Wonderland almost sent me into cardiac arrest. I have already been twice and they have both been incredibly magical experiences. The first time being with Emily. I felt so sorry for her because just as we walked through the entrance tears filled my eyes instantly. For someone who loves Christmas as much as me, this was a dream come true.  I have never seen anything like it. No offense to mum and her decorations but they had nothing on this place.  I’ll be honest, I’m so glad I went with Emily to the markets first. I was such a blubbering mess that I was able to get the embarrassing water works out of the way before I went the second time. Which happened to be a date.

Seeing as I am a hopeless romantic it was the perfect date spot. I didn’t want to waste this experience on just anyone, they had to be somewhat special. Cue the gorgeous lawyer with the big blue eyes and the stomach flipping English accent. It was honestly a date out of the movies. The kind I have always dreamed about going on. Donning a shirt with Elvis Presley splashed across it and buying me hot chocolate with whipped cream I couldn’t fault him (Who would ever say no to hot chocolate). I’m not sure what it was but there is something so romantic about strolling through the Christmas market hand in hand with someone.  In efforts to not sound too cliché, Christmas truly brings out the love and happiness for everyone. This date was definitely a Christmas tradition I could get used to.

– M

Ps. A thank you to Nikki for always helping me edit, much love x

Read this post and other stories on Madison’s personal blog.

Madison Pearce
Madison Pearce

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