It’s December 1st, so that means it’s Christmas every day! There is one particular radio station in Boston that plays round-the-clock Christmas music beginning the day after Thanksgiving, so as a Brit I feel a little behind the times. There’s really no post-holiday breathing room, here; the stores were already carrying Christmas-themed flannel bedsheets during the second week of October (sadly, this carries forward when, halfway though December, you start seeing Valentine’s-themed crap).
One thing I was unable to find that readily was an advent calendar. In England, you can’t move without swinging a dead Selection Box; everyone and their mum has an advent calendar of some kind. It’s the perfect excuse to allot a daily morsel of chocolate (portion control, good for diets) and get into the
holiday Christmas spirit.
I went everywhere searching for something that I had taken for granted all these years. All I could find in Walgreens was some dodgy-looking thing that looked as if someone had left it there from another store. None of the amazing chocolate shops or gift shops in town carried anything like this, and even the mall was a dead end (what a surprise). All I could find was this Whitman’s brand “chocolate countdown calendar” that had pictures of Snoopy all over it. I’ve yet to try it because I am currently hiding under the blanket from the freezing cold (was perfectly fine all day before I set foot back in this house).
Another thing I’ve been unable to find here over the years has been christmas crackers. I had a long conversation at work with a colleague who was astounded that I couldn’t seem to find any, because apparently, they had them in every supermarket. He said they were near the biscuits and cakes. Then there was a pause and I figured out he meant snack crackers. The only place I’ve ever, ever found them locally has been in Williams-Sonoma, who they are selling some pretentious toff Victorian-inspired bollocks for $20. For a pack of 6. SIX!
I grew up celebrating Christmas – not because I was born in England, but because my parents themselves had grown up with their families celebrating all kinds of holidays, just because they knew a lot of people of different faiths. And they grew up in India! So to me, it’s interesting how different the holidays can be when moving from one English-speaking country to another.
Even though I’m heading back for Christmas, I’m still interested in what I can get here that I can also get in the UK. But I’m not interested in buying UK imports of things (there’s a reason Woolworths used to sell 99p crackers), I’m interested in the American take on those things. But the Christmas season is just beginning here – I’ve noticed that every business and public part of Boston had their decorations up starting today, and I’m seeing more and more houses on my street decked out with Crimbo lights. I know there’ll be loads more put up by this weekend.
Most people at my work have already bought their tree, set it up, and done all their Christmas shopping. I have yet to do any of those, even for the short portion of the holidays that I’m here. If I can get a tree like this, though, I might have to finally rent my own flat just to have a place to display something as awesome as that.