Christmas Across Cultures
And in just a blink of an eye, 10 weeks of term just flew by. As the weather gets colder and the seasons festivities get warmer, the anticipation of being reunited with family and friends over the holidays draw near. I can say I am very thankful that I have the opportunity of flying back home during the term break just to be able to relax and unwind back, especially during this very family oriented time of the year. It will be a much needed break from the cold UK weather, as the Philippines averages 28 degrees year round (Christmas by the beach anyone?), and I will finally have some time to get over this never ending cold that has been attacking my immune system since the start of term, which I swear is a new strain of freshers flu. While I do feel like the festive vibe tends to be stronger in the UK, as based on my full year of residing here and attending all the cheerful christmas markets and themed events, I do feel that nothing compares to celebration Christmas back at home. Even though I’ll never experience anything close to a white christmas in the tropics, or fully appreciating the warmth of a fireplace and a cozy cup of hot chocolate, there is definitely a more culture oriented sense of Christmas I associate with celebrating it back at home. These include native tagalog Christmas songs, attending masses to celebrate advent, ‘Simbang Gabi”- a nine day devotional catholic mass attendance ranging as early as 3am to 5am in the morning leading up to Christmas eve. Small traditional nuances like these are what I associate with my childhood christmases and they all hold a special place in my heart. The times before my departure when I am in London, my favourite go to christmas spots are always gazing at the christmas decorations in the main tourists areas like regent and oxford street, the fully lit Harrods department store displays and for the first time I was able to walk around the attractions of Winter Wonderland which has been an annual ongoing display for the past decade. All of these have surely put me in the Christmas spirit. Asides from indulging (in moderation of course) in all the amazing food whilst back at home, I plan to use my time wisely to catch up on any missed lecture notes and getting along to writing two essays worth 50% of two of my core modules. Despite the fact that it may not be the most motivating of times to have to turn in coursework, I do feel like assignments that are due in over term break tend to be my best quality work, which can be attributed to the fact that I feel less pressured for time since I have less things to worry about being back in the comfort of my own home with fewer societies and general university responsibilities to attend to at the same time. This ensures that I have enough time to focus on my own well-being and thus gives me enough head space to be able to write up good quality work. Work and play come in tandem with one another in my opinion, so in addition to all of this I also plan to catch up with old secondary school friends as many will also be flying back home from different parts of the globe for Christmas. I am especially looking forward to partying it up during New Years as I plan to make 2017 the best year yet and there is no other way I would rather celebrate entering a New Year surrounded by the company of good friends.