Tag Archives: christmas

Merry Christmas, dear Reader!

24 Dec

I would like to wish all of the readers of my blog, whether I know you personally or not, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and read about the thoughts and experiences that I have had. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I hope you continue to visit in 2017 as I aim to continue with the frequency of the last 3 months of 2016.

Wishing you a peaceful time, wherever you are and whoever you are with and All the Best in 2017.

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First Christmases

22 Dec

This Christmas is a Christmas of firsts: my first ever, real Christmas tree and my first Christmas in Switzerland.

Growing up we always had an artificial tree and I have always dreamed of a real Christmas tree. There is a small farm not too far up the road so we went there and picked out a tree. The only problem is that when you look around at the trees and they are standing proudly outside, they look a lot smaller than they do when you get them home and have to find a place for it to go. We did choose the smallest one we could find but it is quite wide at the bottom so it takes up quite a bit of space in the living room.

After the purchase of the Christmas tree, we went to eat fondue. The farm has a Fonduestube (stube: a small hut or place where food and drinks is normally served) and we got a free glass of Glühwein as a thank you for buying the tree. The little problem was carrying the thing home, down quite a big hill, in the dark, after quite a few drinks. All’s well that ends well though.

My other first is spending Christmas in Switzerland for the first time. Normally, I make the trip home for the festive period. At my previous employers, there was a complete shut down between Christmas and New Year so I could book my flights home in June (or early) knowing that I had the time off. But that isn’t the case at my new employer.

In addition, there is a funny system in Switzerland that I still haven’t got my head around and which I complain about on a regular basis. Here if a bank holiday falls on a weekend, you don’t get the time off. In England, a bank holiday on the weekend means that you are entitled to another day off in lieu, normally on the Monday. So this year is particularly bad because Christmas Day is a Sunday so we only get the Monday (Boxing Day) as a holiday. I can only say that the idea that Europeans get more holidays than in the UK is a christmas-tree-christmas-1796131_1920.pngmisconception.

Apart from one year when we had a family holiday to Tenerife at Christmas, I have spent every Christmas in England. The holiday in Tenerife was a little bit strange – swimming, BBQ and karaoke as Christmas Day activities. This year it will be Fondue Chinose and no Queen’s speech.

I was beginning to regret not coming home for Christmas a few weeks ago but with reports of Storm Barbara on the rampage, I am better staying put and not travelling during the worst of it. Better to be prepared for not going home than to be expecting to go home and then the flight is cancelled because of bad weather. Or worse, the flight isn’t cancelled and the flight experiences extreme turbulence.

Besides, with Facetime I can still see my family for Christmas even though it is not the same at being there in person. And, I will be flying home in January anyway, when I hope the weather will be more favourable to travellers!

 

 

Christmas Crackers

9 Dec

What is it about Christmas that makes people go positively, absolutely and utterly, stark-raving bonkers? It seems like a stereotypical thing to have a moan about around the first week of Christmas but it is true and, therefore, in my mind it is completely justified.

One of the things that I like about living in Switzerland is that there is no 24-hour trading. ball-65825__340A lot of expats that I know think that I am a bit crazy for being of this opinion. No 24-hour trading means no shops open after 21h, as a general rule, and no shops are open on Sundays. Except for Christmas.

In the four Sundays before Christmas the shops are open for a full days trading and the way people act you would think that it was the last shopping opportunity before 2020 arrives. It’s hysteria. In the main streets, people don’t look where they are going or dilly-dally when you are trying to get somewhere quickly. Children are either crying because they are cold and tired or they are wired up to the eyeballs after having far too much sugary treats. You get slapped around the face by someone’s shopping bag as they throw the thing over their shoulder with complete disregard for any other human beings existence, so don’t be surprised when the uttering of an embarrassed “sorry” is not forthcoming.

People buy far too much than they (or their loved ones) want or need. But it’s Christmas, isn’t it? Guilt or cunning marketing, or a disastrous combination of both, infiltrate the average shopper’s brain and hey-pesto! The retailers end up with record sales growth and we just feel overindulgded.

There is some discussion over where 24-hour trading will come to Switzerland in the near future. I sincerely hope it doesn’t. If there is any one not convinced, I suggest you take a walk down Banhofstrasse on a weekday evening or on the weekend and then see what you think!