An English Christmas

An English Christmas

When I was in Italy, I found out that my Australia trip was postponed until 2013, leaving a huge hole in my winter travel plans that now needed to be filled. That included Christmas and New Year. When you’re a full time traveler, it isn’t always easy to make trips connect to each other but neither can you just “go home” when things fall through.

Since I love England and have friends both in and around London, it was an easy decision to stay on the European side of the pond and experience an English Christmas. Flying into London, I couldn’t help but feel excited. Even from the air I knew the month ahead would be a good one.Then, my spirits fell for just a minute when I realized that so many of my friends had their families to spend the actual day of Christmas with. I couldn’t intrude on that. So, I made the choice then to volunteer somewhere for the holidays and later on I would find out about Crisis shelter for single homeless people.

Before volunteering in the city, I wandered out to Northamptonshire where picturesque villages like Isham and Olney really helped me get in the spirit because of winter festivals and pub quiz nights. A first dusting of snow made me grateful I had friends to stay with and helped me look forward to my shifts volunteering.There’s just something about England in December that I love! I even attended a candlelight service in one of the old cathedrals on Christmas Eve.Then it was time to work! I didn’t take any photographs while volunteering at Crisis. Instead, I spent time sorting and handing out clothes, serving food, engaging in conversation with guests, and doing everything I could to help the people who came to our Day Center feel loved, welcomed and SEEN at Christmas. It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done around the holidays and I hope you will consider doing something similar yourself wherever you live. There are so many people in all of our communities who need help and sometimes it takes nothing more than time to make a difference.

By the time Boxing Day came and went I now also had plans for New Years: Hogmanay in Edinburgh. So I spent one last day wandering around London and taking in the city I’ve grown to love so much before I leave it for several weeks in Scotland. The area around Shoreditch High Street and Brick Lane is so great for art and graffiti. It’s festive in a very different way and always makes me happy. Even on a gray day.I can’t believe that all of December has come and gone and now it’s time to say goodbye to 2012. It wasn’t by any means a “normal” Christmas.Yet I can’t think of a better place to have ended the year than in the UK, and getting to spend the very last few moments of it in Scotland is really going to be….interesting! 🙂

What made your December unusual or special this year? Cheers and Happy Holidays to you wherever you are in the world!