Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us in California

Feeling a bit confused on writing the annual Christmas/New Year’s letter being based in the Northern Hemisphere – it seems more like the time to be doing an annual summary is in the summer somehow. Having said that, we will be watching cricket this afternoon so some things never change.

Let’s look at the pros of the Californian Christmas: I do enjoy having Christmas in winter – that’s really lovely, the Christmas lights flick on very prettily around 5 pm when it’s starting to get dark and some of them are completely over the top here. You don’t feel at all guilty curling up with your Christmas books on Boxing Day rather than getting dragged to the beach by the kids when you are feeling a bit overdone on the food and drink front. There are quite a few public holidays here around Christmas and New Year’s so you do get to have a bit of a break especially if you have taken the days off between Christmas and New Year’s as I have. Then you are back at work from January  4 as it is this year and the year starts with a big surge. I have a company conference in New York at the end of the month so I know January is going to fly by. And then there is gorgeous February – the month of our wedding anniversary and my birthday – so that’s all nice dinners and cake. What’s not to like?

The cons of the chilly Northern Hemisphere Christmas – you don’t have a nice big block of time off when it’s rude not to take at least three weeks off, (in the US, that three to six week family holiday concept is inconceivable); all those present ideas like snorkels, beach towels and tennis racquets don’t seem quite right; the Christmas trees don’t smell strongly enough; January is a month you just kind of get through rather than enjoy; it’s often a time you come down with a cold as the chill sets in; going out for New Year’s is pretty unappealing ( no bonfire on the beach calls); and lastly family and friends are less inclined to visit because of the weather – except for the most devoted – well done Mum!

While I continue to umm and aah about these upsides and downsides, I shall just embrace where I am and get on with things. The beauty of California is, it’s really not very cold, there are plenty of beautiful, blue sky days as there was yesterday which merited a visit to lovely Marin Headlands again and a quick dash to the yummy Heath Ceramics in Sausalito. If there is another nice day soon, Stinson Beach has to be done and there is less traffic on the road, in theory.

So to you Southern Hemisphereans, enjoy your lovely summer and endless days and spare a thought for us sitting around with blankets on our laps, planning our next hot chocolate. New Year’s resolutions? Just keen to see more of the US this year – will hopefully be getting to Oregon in the summer or before with the Vancouver Souths, New York of course in January and surely Yosemite or Lake Tahoe in the spring or fall.   I am still working on a plan to take the kids to Washington DC too – lots to do there for them and it will give them a sense of the history of the US. I find the Lincoln Memorial a very special place. David has a few trips to Ireland and Europe so he can cover that patch for us. As always, we will always be up for spontaneous trips and hoping to see some international and national visitors this year too.

Adios for now, Happy New Year everyone. Make the most of wherever you are, Gill, David and boys