It should comes as no surprise that Christmas in England is a completely different experience to that in Australia. What does come as a surprise however is that two years straight I haven’t felt the slightest bit home sick. Now that’s not to say that I don’t miss my family and our traditions – because I absolutely do – but more to say that Christmas in England is so incredibly different that you just can’t compare.
This year I spent Christmas at the Lake District in England. My friends and I stayed in a cute little farmhouse in what literally felt like the middle of nowhere. Lush green fields surrounded us creating the perfect playground for the various farm animals; geese, chooks, horses and sheep. With no reception we were completely separated from the outside World. It was the perfect set up for my second British Christmas.
On Christmas morning I was woken by the sound of passing geese and the whistle of the strong, wintery winds. After making the mistake of filling up on a delicious breakfast we all sat down to play Secret Santa. Despite installing the rules of being able to steal from others, there was only one steal throughout the whole game. Each present chosen was so incredibly suited that no one wished to part with their gift. Except for Emily…who decided to steal the present that she herself brought for the game. Classic!
Glasses of prosecco were poured as we started playing games. There was plenty of cheering and yelling as Bryce introduced us to his family tradition of “Christmas ball of fun.” It was an intense race against time as you attempted to unravel layers of glad wrap to retrieve as many prizes as possible. The day was going so well until suddenly we realised…the Turkey!!
We had completely forgotten to prepare the main meal! It suddenly dawned on me. This was the first time EVER I have had to prepare the Christmas lunch. I never knew how long it took! Luckily this didn’t phase anyone and it instead became a rather funny experience. Remembering that we had no internet to follow any form of instructions we improvised! I imagined I was a famous cooking show host, as I rubbed herbs and oils over the bird. Johanna created a stuffing recipe off the top of her head using left overs bread crusts and Fiona axed away at the veggies.
Finally we were done! The turkey was in the oven and the alarms were set. Time for a Christmas Day walk; a classic Aussie/Kiwi tradition. This year’s traditional Christmas walk was a little different to the usual warm beach side walks we were more familiar with. However this one will definitely go down as one of my most memorable…
As we walked past neighbouring farms we approached a group of horses. We excitedly ran over to pat them, especially the tiny little pony. Everyone was having a great time until suddenly one of the horses became spooked! He trod forward, entangling himself in the wired fence. We tried to help and encourage it to return to his home however he continued in the only direction he knew how; forward. Somehow we had gone from happily patting ponies to becoming face to face with a horse on the loose. Now what??
Fiona was on a mission! With the clever idea of using a carrot she lured the horse into another paddock. Yes, it may not have been the correct paddock but it was empty and it locked! Plus we let the neighbours know so all was good in the World again!
Lunch time! Finally! And to our surprise it actually turned out half decent. Yes it may have been served at 4:30pm but we got there in the end and that’s all that counts. We sat around the table cracking bon bons (or Christmas crackers as the Kiwi’s call them), cracking bad jokes and telling each other our family Christmas traditions.
As darkness set outside (here’s a big difference – dark by 4:30pm!) we all huddled around the fire for one last Christmas game; Santa Pinata!! Never have I seen this group of girls get so violent. You would think we hadn’t eaten all day with the way we were swinging for those chocolates! Especially Fiona who managed to swing her arm straight into Bryce’s…well…Jingle balls.
It was the perfect English Christmas. Good food, great company and no harmed farm animals. What more could you ask for? It will certainly be a Christmas I will never forget. And just a tad different to the Christmas I’ll be having next year…