Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Christmas in Europe
So as promised I'm here to talk a little bit about the Christmas season over here in Europe. I always feel that when I'm at school it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit fully because of the stress of finals and packing and such. Even with the gorgeous Vermont snowfall, the 25 days of Christmas on ABC family, and my obsession with candy canes, Christmas doesn't always feel complete to me until I'm home.
Now, 3 days from my departure, I'm trying to assess how Christmasy I'm feeling. It's still not the same as being home with my family, decorating my tree and drinking hot chocolate. However, the "not quite fully Christmas feeling" is a bit different over here in Europe. I'm resisting the urge to say they're more religious, because I think that's probably just Italy. Still, I feel like the vibe of Christmas in Europe is less material and more just a magical feeling in the air. When I walk down the streets (or run, because I'm freezing) it makes me smile to see the lights everywhere and the decorations on every shop and corner. The city is brightly lit with different Christmas lights on every street, and even though it's not obvious it's Christmastime (no snow here in Florence) I can still feel the magic of the season. Even though crowds cover the areas of the city where the markets are, I still don't get the sense of crazed commercialism I feel when I have to make a trip to the mall at home.
In the other countries I've visited, Christmas has been similar. Germany and Austria are both known for their huge Christmas markets. I must say I've never spent so much money and had so little to show for it, but all of my money was spent on food and drinks. I've had everything from a marshmallow pastry and hot chocolate to a huge baked potato covered with everything possible and warm apple punch in a collectible mug. Still, despite this food consumerism, I still felt the warm feelings of Christmas. Booths are littered with decorations, ornaments, and everything in between. People are gathered together sharing, talking, and having fun.
I'm not trying to put down Christmas in America. I think it's an amazing time to be spent with family and friends. I'm just trying to give everyone a feel for what Christmas is like over here in Europe, because it's a bit different. So I hope all are well, finals are finishing up nicely for those who are taking them, Christmas plans are running smoothly, and everything else is good. I can't believe I'll be home in three days. It doesn't seem real. But more (hopefully not too much) about that later in the week. I've got to get some sleep, as one class and one final stand between me and my frolicking in Florence for my last few days.