Now I’m as patriotic as the next New Zealander, I mean it’s paradise for god’s sake BUT I have to hand it to this part of the world - they really do know how to do Christmas.

Getting in the spirit, I've decided to share some of my favourite things about celebrating the silly season so far from home. Here goes!

1. Christmas jumpers
It’s like wearing a band T-shirt at the gig of that same band - usually totally unacceptable but in the right circumstances (i.e. a Metallica concert) completely appropriate. When you wear it, it’s like you’re declaring to the world that you are a true, blue Christmas fan… and damn proud of it. Some are borderline tasteful. Most are not. Mine falls into the latter category, largely owing to the fact that it has a battery pack.

Tragic Christmas Jumper alert

2. Winter markets
I don’t care if you think Winter Wonderland is crass, ludicrously expensive and over crowded (of which it is all those things), I still bloody love it. There is nothing like this back home, mainly because it would look insanely out of place but in the cold and dark, the sparkly Instagramtastic shine of it all makes me buzz inside.

Winter wonderlanding and loving it

3. Mulled wine
Actually that buzz probably comes from all the booze. I’m pretty sure it’s not possible to be at a Winter market without having a cup of mulled wine glued to your hand at all times. And yes I DO want a shot of brandy in mine thanks. Actually, the other weekend, the blonde kiwi and I experienced the winter markets of Copenhagen and discovered that mulled cider (sounds wrong) with a shot of gin in it (sounds worse) is actually amazing. Try it before you judge!

4. Sparkly party dresses
Is there a girl on earth who doesn’t like sequins? If there is I want to meet her and shake her and put her in a sparkly frock just to see if she doesn’t smile. I’m usually quite crap at being a girly girl (my nails always look shit and I can't do online shopping) but over here it is far more acceptable to wear the equivalent of a disco ball to a work do. Recipe for christmas party success? Take one sparkly dress, add copious glasses of wine and a photo booth.

5. Christmas lights around town
I’m pretty sure this is why everyone gets so depressed in January. In November they take away our sun at 3 in the afternoon but it’s ok because they put up beautiful lights around town. Then they take away our beautiful lights and we’re left in the darkness with nothing to do but feel guilty about the fact we’re not taking part in dry January. I vote they stay up until the sun comes back - who’s with me?!

Oxford Street Christmas Lights

Carnaby Street at Christmas

6. Cozy nights in
There is one other upside to the perpetual darkness. It gives you a damn good excuse to stay indoors and be lazy. Last Sunday we went to our friend’s place and spent the evening playing board games and stuffing ourselves with hearty comfort food. It was bliss. This is when your oversized Christmas jumper really comes into its own as a strategy for hiding the food baby.

7. Christmas sandwiches
For those of you who haven’t been to the UK you won’t be familiar with the overwhelming quantity of sandwiches here. I mean shit, there’s probably about 2 Prets per person in London alone and I am not complaining. What’s especially great is that from late November, the Christmas sandwiches come out in force and it’s like a battle of who can fit the most stuff from a roast dinner between two slices of bread. Here is a great rundown of the best (and worst) contenders from last year.

8. The travel possibilities
When you're a Kiwi living in this part of the world it’s often referred to as an orphans' Christmas. On the one hand it’s incredibly sad to be away from family but on the other hand Skype. Also the travel possibilities people! No arguing over whose family to go to for lunch this year as we’re off to Budapest with a bunch of other expats for a Christmas dinner where no one has to do the washing up. Win.

Of course I know that my friends and family back in New Zealand are probably reading this with a smug grin on their face as they relax back on their spacious decks, bathed in sunshine with zero smog in the air but I'm pretty happy here with my hot booze and questionable clothing choices...yay for Christmas wherever you are in the world!!!


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