If you’re relocating to London in time for the holidays, there’s no end of merriment available here to keep your spirits bright. As for me, I’m jingling all the way home from London to Chicago today for the holidays! This is my fourth time doing so since moving to London in 2008.

As you search for your London apartment with your London Relocation agent and work to get settled in, these upcoming days will no doubt be busy for all of us, so I thought I’d keep things in the holiday spirit by “singing” a Christmas carol to you—because it’s back for a second year, baby! London Relocation‘s very own “The Twelve Days of Christmas“! Let me preface by explaining that, yes, I know the original song represents the days between Christmas and the Epiphany on 6 January. For our purposes here, though, it’ll serve more as an expat countdown, from now until Christmas Day.

To review the original verse: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.”

And now for mine *ahem*:

On the first day of Christmas, London gave to me…

a CARTRIDGE to hunt in country…”

* * *

As in gun cartridge. (Festive isn’t it?) It isn’t a custom relegated to royalty or the past—the traditional images that British hunting evoke of foxes and hounds are certainly still going strong today. It’s true, however, that fox hunting has become controversial in the UK, and killing foxes with dogs is illegal as of a few years ago. Hunters are still allowed, though, to exercise their hounds and use them for tracking scents and flushing foxes out of hiding places. Fox hunting in particular is part of the Boxing Day tradition, which is coming up the day after Christmas. Apparently in Britain, “hunting” typically refers to this type of hunting with hounds for fox, hare, or stag, whereas those using guns are called “shooters” or “guns,” not hunters. Hunting for game or fowl here serves many purposes, be it pest control, providing food, or good ol’ camaraderie. You might picture old gentlemen of the Gosford Park variety heading out into the rolling hills beyond their grand estates, but it’s something quite a few younger folks and those of modest means partake in as an excuse for getting up with the dawn and taking in some fresh air, bonding, and definitely day-drinking. 🙂 It’s no stereotype to do so in your tweeds, Wellies, and Barbour jacket, and if it’s a formal shoot, a collar and tie are essential. To shoot in Britain, it’s advised that you join the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. And if you’re not feeling partial to hunting animals, per se, but are keen to wield a shotgun, try clay-pigeon shooting! (I discussed my experience doing so last year in my post, “Plot, Sikhs, & Two Smoking Barrels“). It’s all in the spirit of British tradition and getting outside your London apartment rental for some rural adventure.