Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Twelve Differences of Christmas in Scotland

Lights adorn Market Street, "A Very She & Him Christmas" plays in our flat, and the town is deserted, as most students have gone home. It almost feels like Christmas. We recognize that we can celebrate Christ's birth anywhere, but we're a little sad to miss out on watching our nephews open gifts, eating our mom's cooking, and taking part in our usual traditions. As this is our first holiday season abroad, we have some updates:

1) Cheese plates and minced pies are all the rage. Enough said.

2) Boxing Day is celebrated on the 26th of December. Traditionally, this was a day to give gifts to the needy or to those in service positions. Now, it's become a major shopping holiday.

3) A few fairy lights displayed in the window is decorating. Chevy Chase is not from Scotland. I have seen a few lights in front windows, one small display of Santa's backside going down the chimney, and one lit tree. People do not decorate their homes!

4) Amazon and USPS make Christmas cheap and easy. They both offer free shipping and mailing! Brayden got his Thomas the Train set and our families got our Christmas card without breaking the bank.

5) There is no winter break for post-grad students. Garrick has his final paper due Thursday night, and over the break he needs to study his languages, catch up on reading, and apply to grad schools.

6) People still send us cards and gifts. Who would have thought we were worth the extra postage? It's been the highlight of our day coming home to cards on the floor of our entryway. Thank you to everyone who has mailed us something! For those who haven't, we're not friends. ;)

7) Garrick developed the talent of guessing Christmas gifts. Nothing deflates Andrea more than excitedly shopping and wrapping gifts and then having Garrick guess each one within 10 minutes.

8) Thank you, BoB. The Box of Broadcasts is an online resource available to students and has everything that has ever aired on BBC within the last decade. That means we can watch "The Santa Clause," "The Grinch," "Little Women," (Garrick watched it and liked it,) and any other Christmas movies our festive hearts desire.

9) Nativities can include meerkats, aliens, and lobsters. The Scots must be bored with the three wise men. It's perfectly normal to have strange people/animals present at Christ's birth.

10) Baking Christmas cookies eases homesickness. Andrea spent the day with three friends baking Christmas goodies: cream cheese filled snicker doodles, salted caramel brownies, chocolate covered cookie dough balls, and MORE. It was fabulous. And fattening.

11) We're spending Christmas in the Highlands! Yes, we're going further north than we already are, in the winter! We rented a cottage near Inverness with 2 other couples and are leaving on Christmas Eve and spending 4 nights. Pictures to come!

12) Merry Christmas from Scotland! We love and miss our friends and family from Washington. We hope you enjoy celebrating and being together with those you love.

Leave a comment and let us know what you're doing this Christmas!!

The Cathedral, St Andrews, Scotland


  1. We'll miss you. I forgot to put extra postage on my card:(

  2. I guessed most of my presents too! Mary Blake was not happy...

  3. Cyndy, we got your card so it must have worked out with the postage.

    Raymond, did you learn your lesson?? Next year, even if you think you know, lie.

  4. your baking sounds good!! have fun on your vacay:)
    we will miss you tomorrow..its going to be weird not fighting over who gets to sit next to Andrea and Cameron