Okay, so basically my favourite day of the year is Halloween, I love it! The wild nights, the crazy costumes, the free candy, I can't get enough of Halloween. From Halloween to Christmas it's good times a-go-go! The hols in fall and winter are pretty good.
In the UK there is Guy Fawkes night, which is kind of mental. Children burn scarecrows on bonfires and people blow stuff up to commemorate Guy Fawkes' failed attempt and blowing up Parliament in 1605. What an odd thing to celebrate, right? But it's pretty and it's a good excuse to drink hot chocolate on Primrose Hill watching the fireworks over London town.
Thanksgiving, being an American in London, I tend to miss out on. It seems like the universe doesn't want me to have Thanksgiving, because every year I have a gig that I am either playing or I must attend for social obligation (you know how it is, being a girl about town and all). This year I was at the Father John Misty gig, delivering a special loaf of banana bread.
And so it's been YEARS since I've had a Tofurkey... and did you know the UK doesn't do pumpkin as a sweet thing? They do pumpkin curry and pumpkin soup, but pie = no way José, unless it's a pie with goat's cheese and potato and pumpkin.
So I get the yearning for sweet pumpkin pie. It means scouring the American section of the food hall in Selfridges to buy a can of pumpkin (have you ever tried to make pumpkin pie with a real pumpkin? It ain't so good).
And that little jaunt to the food hall on Oxford Street can fulfil me when I feel homesick...that and Selfridge's ample supply of Jif peanut butter, which is a whopping £4 a jar = that's like $6.50. I justify this expense because I would happily spend that much on a glass of wine in a bar, so why not spend that much on many pieces of wonderful breakfast toast?
I digress... so Christmas is coming. I like Christmas, but thinking back, Christmas really stopped being a big deal after my parents split and when I was a teenager, I usually spent Christmas like a waif/stray at friends' parents' houses. Thinking back that's kind of odd. But I guess my mom wasn't much of a cook, and the lovely Robinson family, who Mom tended to spend Christmas with, well... they put bacon fat in EVERYTHING. As a vegetarian it meant only eating pumpkin pie on Christmas day. Which is kind of nice, but every now and then a girl wants some stuffing or green beans, right?
Once my mom took me to a Polynesian restaurant out by the airport, because it was one of the only places that was open in Kansas City on Christmas day. I have really fond memories of this exotic Christmas dinner. The tiki lounge feel of the place suited my inner spirit, which is kitsch through and through. The pineapple in everything baffled my Kansas palette but it was something of an experience. Don Ho's 'Tiny Bubbles' infiltrated the atmosphere, and then we went to see a movie. It was something like Home Alone 2. It might not be the traditional Christmas that people think about, but I'll always remember it well.
And this brings me to now. This year, I am spending Christmas in the Oxfordshire countryside and it's a sparkling, traditional, family Christmas that I am lucky enough to be a part of. The nights are very long in England this time of year (it's dark by 3:45 these days) and it's very and damp (because we are an island the wind is wet and stings). So cosying up with a hot toddy and a game of Jenga is just what's needed to evoke true Christmas spirit.
Now all I gotta do is survive Christmas party season! Wish me luck, and godspeed to you too dear reader.