|The staggeringly obnoxious tree at Universal Studios|
It is finally feeling like Christmas in Los Angeles. There are so many reasons for this, but the main one is that it is actually pretty cold. Like, normal person cold, not 'cold for here'. The weatherman (who is called Dallas Raines. I wish I were kidding.) is treating this like a sign of the apocalypse, but I've watched enough crappy TV to know that it always 'surprise snows' in LA at Christmas.
This is the first Christmas in 3 years I've not had exams/wedding/work/mind-blowing stress in the lead up to the holidays. I do have a cat that is CHOKED with the cold, and an extremely reluctant taker of her prescribed antibiotics, so I would hardly say life is dull, but I am enjoying the more laid-back approach. Especially compared to last year, which involved an examiner telling me 'your patient is dead, you need to fix it...', an experience I don't care to repeat.
I'm learning, particularly living in the area I do, to say 'Happy Holidays' to people instead of Merry Christmas. I can hear some of you (*coughCHRIScough*) saying something about 'PC gone mad' but the reality is that there is a really significant Jewish population in West LA, and I want to be respectful to others' cultures. I've learnt more about Channukah in the last few weeks than in my life up til now. It's so interesting living somewhere so multi-cultural. I always thought of Edinburgh as multi-cultural, but it makes me laugh now. I am frequently the only white face in a shop, with people from every corner of the world gathering in LA. This week alone in our church they have had the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (compete with Tamales and hot chocolate) and a Phillipino feast on Friday, which comes with a spit-roast pig in the car park. It's fascinating, and makes me excited about the possibility of bringing up our kids here. The world seems both big and small in LA, with exposure to so many different, interesting things.
Since I love making things, I decided to undertake Christmas Stockings for husband and I this year. They were the hardest thing I've ever made (including my arsenal of skirts and quilts) but I persevered and learnt lots of new sewing techniques (this is quite boring if you don't sew, but I am feeling pretty smug.) They are FAR from perfect, but I think they will last for a very long time. I also made one of husband's Christmas presents. He is pretty snack-centric, so I made these. I don't like nuts, so I only tried the flavouring, but they were so good. Super spicy but pleasantly sweet too. I gave them to him straight away, since I wasn't sure how long they'd last. They seem to have gone down well and were so easy to make. I'd definitely recommend them!
Hope you are getting into the Christmas spirit!