Yesterday was my daughter’s school Christmas concert. They did the Nutcracker plus a nativity at the end. It was very sweet. My daughter was a humbug. Like I said, sweet.
|Humbug in the middle
I wonder if state schools in the USA are allowed to have nativity plays at Christmas. The thing that I am still getting used to, being American, is that state schools discuss religious subjects. And besides the nativity and Christmas, they sing songs about God and Jesus. Husband and I are not religious. So we find it strange when talking about December birthdays (as we did this past Saturday) and Moozles announces that Jesus’ birthday is in December. A couple of months ago she told me that God made the sky and the clouds. I tried to explain the Big Bang to my 5-year old but she did not quite grasp what I was saying.
I don’t have any problems with my kids talking about the religious reasons behind Christmas and Easter at school. But what if you do? What if you are a fervent atheist? Or if you’re from a different religion. How do you deal with your child talking about Jesus?
It was my daughter’s Christmas concert today, so Husband took a day off. We really needed this extra time to do a few Christmas-related things. Husband bought the Christmas tree, then got all the decorations and lights from the outbuilding. After the concert and after school, we all decorated the tree. I say all, but my 19-month old’s contribution was poking the tree then licking his hand. I let my daughter decorate most of the tree despite my obsessive compulsive tendencies. If it was up to me, there would be colour coordination and even spacing between ornaments. But, I am a mother. And I have a five-year old who could spend all day decorating, so I must chill out.
For those of you who don’t know much about Americans and Christmas. Americans are not big into tinsel. For those of you not familiar with British people, they seem to love tinsel. Both statements are a bit sweeping, so please be aware that there are exceptions. Anyway, Husband loves tinsel as does all his family. I do not. I think it looks tacky. But I am such a sweet, wonderful wife (what? I am!), that I allow tinsel in my home. And. On. My. Tree.
But even though the house and tree aren’t decorated exactly to my taste, the house feels Christmassy and I wouldn’t change a thing. Okay, fine, I took some of the tinsel off the tree after the kids went to bed. Sue me.
Elfy. Yes, this is what my five-year old has named our Elf on the Shelf. I never claimed to have the most creative kid.
Last week I was lucky enough to win an Elf on the Shelf from Life With Munchers. Elf on the Shelf is gaining in popularity in the UK but it is extremely popular in the USA. For years I have seen pictures on Facebook of these Christmas elves since most of my FB friends are American. I didn’t quite understand what the fuss is about. But now that Moozles is five, she is obsessed with all things Christmas. And she is obsessed with Elfy. How magical is must be to wake up and wonder what Elfy has said to Father Christmas the night before. And to wake up and wonder where you might find Elfy.
Moozles has found Elfy on various shelves, the radiator, our mini Christmas tree and tomorrow she will find Elfy enjoying a hearty bowl of Cheerios. Elf on the Shelf is a bit more work for me, but it’s worth it to see my daughter’s reaction to him.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I have celebrated each Thanksgiving that I have lived in the UK. This will mark my 12th. We normally celebrate at the weekend, with a big (but simple) dinner with family or friends. I cook a turkey, and we go crazy on cornbread, stuffing, green beans and sweet potatoes. And as a homage to my adopted land, and my British Husband, we have parnsips. For pudding we have pumpkin pie and/or apple pie.
But this year, I am not in the mood. This year, I don’t feel like all the trimmings. It’s the first time we haven’t invited family or friends. It would be nice to have it just the four of us. But I am not sure I can even be bothered for that. It’s been a busy year, especially with the rigmarole associated with buying a new house, moving and doing renovations.
Thanksgiving is such a nice time to celebrate what we are thankful for, without the added pressures of gift giving. That is one of the reasons I love it. But I think this year I will be thankful while eating pumpkin pie and save the big meal for Christmas. If there is a Scrooge-equivalent for Thanksgiving, then I’m it. Bah hum-turkey.
I sometimes dip into ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here’ on ITV. I don’t tend to really get into UK reality shows featuring D-list celebrities because I usually don’t know who the celebrities are. I will watch, however, if there is a well-known American. But I do enjoy watching the trials on ‘I’m a Celebrity’. I find it interesting to see who is looking for a challenge and who is just hoping to revive their career.
Last night, some of the cast were bitching about Alfonso Ribeiro, the ‘loud American’. Some of the other members of the cast seem loud (and obnoxious), but the American is the one labelled as loud in a bad way.
Why is it so easy to label Americans as loud? Is this our most renowned stereotype? But is it true? It is one of the labels I worry about receiving from non-Americans. Why should I care? Would a British person care if they were perpetually described as ‘cold’ or ‘awkward”? Or are Brits celebrated for their stereotypes? British people are known for their sarcasm, politeness and self-deprecation. Those aren’t negative qualities.
Is there an inherent conflict between the British and Americans? Are we frenemies? Do Americans (living in the USA) make fun of British? Now that I think of it, many people in the USA think that British people have teeth like Austin Powers. But most Americans don’t have passports so won’t have been to the UK to judge for themselves. Maybe I’m annoyed that some minor British celebrities were casting aspersions on my entire nationality. They should be well-traveled. They should know better.
Or are the British still mad at Americans for gaining our independence? All I know is that some British people are loud and obnoxious. And some Americans are quiet and genteel.
‘In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love’…TEA!
I imagine Jane Austen turning over in her grave right about now.
It’s true, it’s true. I love tea. I haven’t always loved it like I do now. When I first moved to London in 2002, I would drink a cup of coffee a day and would have the occasional cup of tea. After a couple of months I swapped my morning coffee for tea, and then added another cup and then another cup. After I had my daughter in 2008, I started drinking 4-5 cups of tea. And now, I’m at 5-6 cups per day. I assume this is normal, right?
I start with a normal black tea, and continue but also intersperse Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Lapsang Souchong and/or Green Tea. I end the day with decaf tea. I love tea so much I thought I’d write a poem about it.
Tea, tea, how I love thee
Black, green, white and mint tea
In the morning, I need at least three
To keep me from going doo-lal-ly
Forget coffee or hot choccy,
What I adore is tea,
and I’ve been addicted since 2003