One of our Family Christmas Cards that had an international theme
The hottest day of the year so far - at one point, the forecast said 97 degrees but 123 with the heat index. I don't think that was a typo - it was that bad. We (Sophia, her friend A, MudLynn and I) retreated to the master bedroom where the air conditioner was churning out cold air and spent most of the day in there.
Not much inclination to do anything Christmassy today that required moving although I did manage to turn the pages of my book! I finished The Snowglobe, Angels at Christmas, and started a new Debbie Macomber, Christmas Wishes. It's actually two books in one - Christmas Letters (which I've already read) and Rainy Day Kisses. A lovely, light read on a very hot day.
I spaced out again on this week's (July 17 to July 23) theme, It's a Small World Christmas, a celebration of Christmas customs and traditions around the world although I did post this entry on the forums.
I loved this link on the Magical Holiday Home blog - http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/ - and I clicked right over to the UK to see what sounded familiar.
My Mum was from England and my Dad was stationed in northern Europe with the U.S. Army for many years so we spent a lot of Christmases in England, or Christmases at home with our English family members, or just Christmases with lots of English trappings.
There's something about Christmas in England. It's just as festive (and in the stores, just as commercial as the USA), but whether I'm in someone's house or looking at pictures in a magazine, it seems somewhat...muted/blurred? I'm not sure if that's the word I'm looking for, maybe softer would be a better description. Everything seems less glittery, less brash, an English Christmas has a real olde worlde feeling to it. It could be the roaring fire in the background, the muted designs on wrapping paper, the abundance of real holly, ivy and mistletoe, or maybe it's just my outlook.
Our last Christmas in England was in 2001 - my parents rented a holiday cottage (three bedroom house really to accommodate the seven of us) in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Kettlewell. There was a sprinkling of snow on the ground and it was just magical. On the first night we were there, there was a knock on the door and we found carolers, complete with a Dickensian lantern - so quaint. They had heard that there was an American family spending Christmas in the village and they wanted to welcome us. How lovely is that? Mum invited them in for sherry and mince pies and they invited us to Christmas Eve service at the village church.
Mum had laid in all of our favorite trappings of an English Christmas - in addition to the mince pies and sherry, there were roasted potatoes with the turkey for Christmas Day, Christmas crackers, plum pudding, Christmas cake, all of favorite English biscuits, meringues, and a Cadbury's Chocolate Selection Box for Sophia. We spent the entire time in front of the fire, drinking endless cups of tea and had the best Christmas ever. My parents are gone now, and my sister and brother-in-law have added two sons to the family group, so we are planning a Kettlewell Christmas 15th Anniversary celebration in 2016. I love to plan and I've pretty much taken over my Mum's role when it comes to family events so I've got my lists started already!
There were a few comments from readers who had celebrated Christmas outside the US and they agreed that the celebrations were indeed softer.
Tomorrow starts our final theme for Christmas in July - A Victorian Christmas Celebration. Can't wait to see what everyone has to say about that.
It's another hot one today - stay cool, everyone!