Finally finished packing for home for the holidays. Starting tomorrow, you’re in for a Christmas treat for the next, uh, let’s just say twelve days (*hint*hint*), so get your vocal chords warmed up :).

London Christmas Shopping

Within my luggage are some purchases that I’m bringing home as Christmas gifts. It’s not always easy figuring out what to buy for everyone after the novelty of souvenir-stuff wears off. I’d started out, though, buying all the men in the family soccer jerseys—a mix of Chelsea Football Club or England’s World Cup team. Rugby and soccer balls and hooded sweatshirts have made for great nephew gifts, and my bookish niece enjoys whatever local reading I bring home—Withering Tights is one young adult lit that sounded too cute to pass up, which I’m following up with the classic Peter Pan (inspired right in Kensington Gardens); my baby niece has likewise received the Peter Rabbit set in homage of Beatrix Potter. I have also brought home the Horrible Histories series for the boys to enjoy—nothing like immersing youth in British history the fun and gross way! Auntie usually tries to avoid the toys, but I’ve brought the littluns home some very cute ones from the different palace gift shops, the Paddington Bear kiosk at Paddington Station, and, most recently, the 250-year-old and 7-floor Hamleys toy store. Thanks to this last one, British cartoon characters Chugginton and Peppa Pig will be setting foot on U.S. soil this week. And the womenfolk? My mother, sister, and mother/sisters-in-law have all benefited at some time or another from Notting Hill boutiques, from scarves adding that simple bit of flair to hand-sewn bags.

So hopefully where Christmas is concerned, all that is left is to travel home safely, get everything wrapped, and otherwise kick back and enjoy everyone. The next item on the agenda is then, of course, New Year’s.

New Year’s Eve London 2010

We had an amazing New Year’s last year in Barcelona, which I wrote about at the beginning of 2010 as an example of how you’ll easily be able to celebrate the holiday abroad as a expat with access to so many amazing cities. Because we did it up big last year, we don’t feel guilty reigning it in this time around; in fact, we’re rather looking forward to a low-key night chilling out in our flat.  We do have afternoon cocktail plans, though, with fellow American expat friends, so I suppose we can just see where the day takes us…but I’m liking the non-committal thing so far. In any case, if you’re moving to London and ultimately having to sort out the logistics of your holiday celebrations between here and home, one tip I can offer is that returning before New Year’s is usually cheaper for airfare.

And if you’ve recently completed your move and know you’ll be in town for the remainder of the month, here are some useful online city guides detailing what New Year’s Eve events are transpiring:

ViewLondon.co.uk
TimeOut London
About.com – London Travel
Skiddle.com – the UK what’s on guide

And the site will be offering info on this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, if you weren’t able to get enough on Bonfire Night :). Whatever your holiday plans are, may they be safe and may they be merry—all the best from us!


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