Another year is coming to a close but that can only mean that it is time for Christmas and all the celebrations that come with it. I absolutely love Christmas time - seeing friends and family, enjoying each other's company, exchanging gifts, and eating much more than you would normally eat at any other time of the year! (I know I do anyway!) Although I love living abroad, as Christmas approaches, I have suddenly begun to feel very far away from my family as they put up the Christmas tree, wrap presents and bake traditional Christmas food without me.
One thing I really miss are mince pies. I don't know if you've ever tried one, but they are little pastry tarts full of a delicious filling called 'mince meat'. Despite sounding savoury (and in the past it was!), this filling is sweet and made of chopped dried fruits, spices and usually a drop of alcohol such as rum or brandy. When eaten warm straight from the oven, they are heavenly. When I was little, I used to bake them with my mum every Christmas and it has now become a tradition that we do each year together. Being away in France where I am unable to find mince pies or the ingredients to make them, I am feeling slightly envious of all the baking that my family are doing! The traditional Christmas meal we have in England is also a real treat - it normally consists of turkey, roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy (a brown sauce which is very tasty!) and my personal favourite, 'pigs-in-blankets' which are sausages wrapped in bacon! I love the atmosphere of the whole family around the table, sharing this delicious (and enormous!) meal, whilst wearing silly paper hats and pulling crackers. The thought puts a smile on my face already!
Another aspect of Christmas that I love, is the music. My little sister and I are always the first to try and put on the Christmas songs, and love singing along to 'Jingle Bells' and 'Frosty the Snowman'. If you haven't heard these songs before, see if you can find them online and have a listen! I am now really looking forward to heading back to England at the end of next week - please save some mince pies for me, Mum! I hope you all enjoy the end of year festivities in whichever way you will be celebrating them - I would love to hear how it differs from the English way!