Christmas Differences4:48 AM
I am a Midwestern girl. North Midwest, to be exact. So there are quite a few differences between what my memory expects at Christmas time and what I now get. This year we are in Spain again, land of the dry, so snow isn't really happening. It is funny how Christmas cartoons, cards, pictures, etc here still depict a Christmas as snowy, because you don't get snow unless you live in the mountains. There is a small population of people in Spain who get white Christmas's, but the majority of them don't. Where we are now it is cold, and so my girls keep asking me when the snow is going to come. Apparently Papa Noel (Santa Claus) can't come unless there is snow falling from the sky!
Back in Toulouse we won't get snow until around February. Here we will probably get rain and cold, but no snow, so when I see on Facebook all of my friend's posting their pictures of the huge snow storm, of their kids building snowmen, or just an after picture of the beauty of snow everywhere I get a bit nostalgic. Somehow it doesn't feel very Christmasy without snow every where.
Second you have the clothing. THERE ARE NO CHRISTMAS THEMED CLOTHES IN EUROPE! A friend of mine told me that the UK has started to get some in, but not on the continent. While Spanish woman LOVE the color red and wear it often, there is nothing out there that screams Christmas! Not even for kids. It is such a bummer. I was really hoping for some sot of maternity sweater taking advantage o the huge belly I have. I bet Target has something. Ah, Target......
There are no themed drinks. Not even in the coffee shops. No one puts peppermint in their coffee and no one knows what eggnog is! I am over the surprise of this as I have spent 5 Christmases in Europe now, but it definitely makes it feel LESS like Christmas to me. Something about shopping with a peppermint hot chocolate in a red paper cup makes you fee more in the season!
No one in Spain has a tree. NO ONE! Okay, maybe there is someone out there with a fake tree, but it isn't a tradition that they hold dear so no one I know has a tree. I miss the twinkling lights and the shiny ornaments.Where do we put the presents? They don't come out until right before we open them and then they just sit on the floor. Totally lame, but at least now the family wraps them. My first Christmas here people just randomly gave out unwrapped presents throughout the day. I put a stop to that American style. NO MORE! YOU MUST WRAP IT! I am now the official present wrapper for all the lazy people in the family.....! Notably my youngest BIL!
There aren't any Christmas cookies here. In Spain you make a tray full of chocolates turron, candied figs and dates and some raisins. No one makes their own cookies. Inset American and now the family expects the cookies! It means me making them, but as that is a large part of my Christmas preparation memories, I truly don't mind!
The great thing here is that the Plaza Major is decorated in Christmas themed stuff all month long until Kings Day on January 6th. You can take a ride on the Christmas train, tell the Kings what you want for Christmas, see Santa Claus and eat chocolate con churros. YUM! Sometimes new traditions aren't so bad after all.....
.....I just wish it would snow!
Merry Christmas everyone!