#HISTOIRESEXPATRIÉES N*2: Lights and December celebrations

Lauralee – Andrew Comb

As I told you in the first article of #HISTOIRESEXPATRIÉES, L’occhio di Lucie launched a monthly rendez-vous for expat. Each month there will be a theme and we’ll get the chance to talk about our life here around this theme. For December, Emilie from Expat en Floride is the sponsor and the title is “Lights and December celebrations”.

l don’t know if you are aware of it but here, in United Kingdom, Christmas is a little bit crazy… At the beginning of November, the mood slowly arrives and on December 1st it’s “la fête du slip” (it’s a free-for-all) and everybody become gaga. Cardiff is, of course, no exception and launches the festivities in early November, most of those photos were taken during Step Into Christmas on November 09th. I hope I’ll pass the feeling.

First of all, there are some activities near the city hall for the kids with merry-go-rounds but also for grownups with the giant wheel, the skating ring and places to entertain your taste buds. We went there quickly, just to see the giant wheel and the skating ring because I wanted to be sure I’ll get the chance to see Santa…

Then we went for a little walk in town, to feel the atmosphere and watch the city lights. I admit that they are not what one’d call amazing but they are simple and I quite like it. They are the same than last year if I remember correctly except for the tree because of “the Christmas tree scandal” from last year. Yes, a Christmas tree scandal because we were supposed to have a huge magnificent tree and we got a fake tree, heavily made-up, quite annoying actually… Push people in the street they will say sorry but do not fool them with a fake tree! (I am not criticizing, I like it).

Christmas means Father Christmas, there is a place where you can meet him and take pictures with him: Santa’s Grotto.

I’m going to talk about the tree (again) for a seconde here. So, this year we got a real big tree! I took a picture during the day so you can judge the ornaments and if you prefer day version or night version.

We don’t have just lights and a big tree, we also have… Deers! Pretty shiny deer. You might find them “meh” but honestly, I think they are beautiful and they bring poetry to the castle.

No Christmas without Christmas market! I like the one we have, I love walking by it, some might find it small but you can eat with a raclette shed, churros, German specialities; you can offer a gift to someone or yourself with a potter, a wreath shed, painters, cheese sellers, beer sellers…

By the way, you’ll find Christmas markets in towns of course but also usually one or more by areas so if you’re around Cardiff (or any other town) walk and you may find a more intimate Christmas markets and lovely too. I haven’t done all Christmas markets in Cardiff but I recommend Pontcanna’s at Kings Road Yard and hurry hurry because today is the last for the Christmas market! I don’t recommend it because I sold there (I won’t be there today) but because I know some people there and I know they are talented and nice so they deserve to be known :) Click on this link to see the event.

And music! British people are obsessed with Christmas music (of course not everybody but you know…), they slowly invade our lives in November, gradually and in December it’s “le pompom sur la Garonne” (a way of saying: above everything else). And there is more than music, there are Christmas jumpers! Apparently it is coming to France too, but with the name “pull moches” (ugly jumpers), which is completely false because they might be kitschy but not ugly. Mine and the one I bought for my family are very cute, even the Welsh teacher where I work said so. I am not the only one and I am 100% unbiased. Yes I am. There is even more than Christmas jumpers, there are Christmas suits, Christmas hats, Christmas shirts, Christmas dresses… I would probably never wear one (never say never says the poet) but I really admire people who do! Don’t care about what people think, don’t care if it is too much, that is a good spirit! It is really fun, embrace Christmas.

So, we live in Cardiff, Wales not England and it will be forever on my Christmas trees. There is an ornament I bought last year at Etsy made local, my new ones bought on Megan Tucker‘s Etsy (love & peace) and the one I bought at Pontcanna Christmas Market two weeks ago. If a lot of people say Merry Christmas, a lot of them say Nadolig Llawen (in Welsh) and I just love it :)

And, how could a Christmas be merry without a Santa? Without this little chubby beardy man? To conclude this article I will leave you with a photo I took during Step Into Christmas, a very nice Santa talking to kids. I hope you liked the atmosphere, the feeling and please, tell me what you do for Christmas, how you do it. I already read some posts by other expats and I love our differences.

Des bisous and Nadolig Llawen, of course :)




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