Sunday, 11 January 2015

Christmas in Scotland

This post was meant for early December but alas December got in the way.
So like most Anderson things we're a leetle bit late.

While this is by no means all-inclusive, I thought I'd show y'all some of the unique (to us Americans) ways of Christmas in Scotland.

Things kicked off in November round these parts, 
although the city had the decorations on the light posts in October. 

So quit yer bellyaching about Christmas jumpin' the gun on Thanksgiving, 
they did it to Halloween here!

Also, please note Mark took this photo at 8:30 in the MORNING in December. 

This is the parade.

It was chocka block (UK-ism for "crammed") full of mascots and people in animal costumes.

This was the parade to begin the Buckie Christmas Cracker--
the Cracker is a umm...
Giant street carnival?
Thing where the kids have the opportunity to pet reindeer?

Oh yes, there's another giant walking animal, along with said reindeer in the background.

On our way to the square with the gazillion people.

A blue sky in winter in Scotland!!!

Carnival rides!

Carnival rides are universal;
over priced,
slightly (or not so slightly) grungy,
and I'm pretty sure the workers were the same ones I saw at the carnival in Colorado back at my last Music and Blossom Days Parade in 2000.

This is new:
an owl.

What does someone say, 
"Hey I've gotta owl or two, maybe I could pitch a tent and charge admission?"

But man, it works, because LOOK at that face.
Dawwww, those sweet round eyes....

And then the beak and those giant talons...these things would eat me for lunch.

Have y'all ever been wandering around in the dark in the Ozarks and heard one of these?

Yeah, well I have. 
I lived that one time the 1 a.m. I forgot to turn off the sprinkler and Mark was gone to church camp.
Pretty sure I broke some state track records that night in the all out "sprint for your life."

Bagpipe band on the square.
A Scottish essential, they still give me chills (the good kind) when I hear them.

Our friend, Liam is a pipe band drummer.

Well, well, well, looks who's photobombing.... 
Mr Giant Bear.

What kid loves these things? 
Mine aren't big fans of them. 
They rank right up there with clowns.

Which reminds me, 
remember the time my mom got a clown suit for me in Junior High 
and I would go to birthday parties as a clown?
I didn't get the memo kids hate clowns.
Y'all, I have been SPIT on, kicked, and hit 
all in the name of 

The chipper van.
Selling fish and chips to the masses.

And then look, some of our high school youth group! 

Hi guys, you're on the blog! 
Just be glad I'm not posting the selfies you took on my iPad!

You betcha I was in line at the van. 




I mean look at this cone of deep fried goodness.

A healthy dose of vinegar and a dash of salt.
My word.

Christmas in the UK isn't Christmas without a nativity play.
The costumes are universal here, but I will say I'm partial to that adorable donkey.

The Christmas light displays in some stores are pretty remarkable.

So are the prices, though.
EEE gads!

Converted over this is $131.12
WHO is spending this on Christmas lights?
No wonder no one decorates the outside of their house for Christmas--extortion!

But man, we really miss our annual family tradition of a Dairy Queen Blizzard, and driving around town to look at Christmas lights.

But I don't miss the clean out of the car seats the next day.

We did do this:
bought kid hot chocolates for our big kids at Starbucks.

Talk about extortion, 
Hey, let's halfway fill a cup with a lukewarm beverage 
and charge a few cents less than their crazy parents (that'd be us) pay for coffee with whipped cream on it.
Genius, fancy coffee shop, genius.

Again, the displays at some stores are very elaborate. 
But I will say their ornament selection doesn't have anything on Hobby Lobby's.

Ok, now this is a thing here--a grotto.
A wha?
I know, so let me explain best I know how.

This is a grotto.
Santa sits in it.
You pay money.
 Your child gets in to see Santa.
 Santa hands child a gift.

So we actually don't do the grottos here in the Anderson household.
Partially because I'm a cheapskate 
and partially because my 3 year old wouldn't sleep at night if we forced her into a little hut with a man in a costume.

The town square in a nearby town.

Apologies about the quality of photo the phone takes.

Mark's beard is much more magnificent in person.

This is a Christmas pudding.
I think it's like a fruit cake, but I'm not sure because we don't imbibe.

It has become a major pop symbol here.

It's on everything.

Even I made my Oreo truffles to look like them.

Best Christmas pudding I ever did eat, right there.

High school youth group Christmas party.
We made and decorated Christmas cookies.

Aww, the kids here are playing a fun game of rock, paper, scissors.
Hey kids, you can't all be "scissors"! lol

Christmas parties are HUGE in Scotland.
Although we did ours as a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party here, 
complete with my hastily thrown together game called "make an Olaf."

However, at typical parties the children dress up, and santa shows up ringing his bell.
This is at the girls' dance class Christmas party. 

Christmas jumpers are a big thing here.

(we Americans would call them sweaters--
which actually when you think of it from the UK perspective, does sound a little "gym-sock-esque") 

And I'm not quite sure yet, but I think it's a legit thing 
and not like the American "ugly Christmas sweater" phase. 
And the UK doesn't ever say "ugly" when referring to a Christmas jumper.

The Christmas goody aisle at the grocery store. 
UK grocery stores have WAY more candies than the USA ones, but at Christmastime the grocery stores become a totally different world...

Very fancy stuff starts coming out.

Like quails, partridges, and pheasants.

And this.

And this.

And these.

And this (you can't see it well, but it's "Himalayan Rock Salt".
If you always wanted to but never could taste Mt. Everest...

What in the...
Who in the...
Why in the...


This to pour over Christmas puddings.

Fancy schmancy.

Lovely delicacies all in my local supermarket.

Which may lead you to ask, 
"Wow, where did they put all the normal groceries the Americans in town usually eat?"

Yeah, exactly. 
That's what I wanted to know too.

Christmas cake--it's a fruit cake.
Even kids here eat 'em!

These are called "Selection Boxes"
and they're given as gifts here around Christmas time.
And if you have 4 kids you'll have approximately 36 of these hanging out around your house.

Ah, yes the mincemeat pies.
These are a Christmas specialty here.

Now THIS was pretty yummy.
I got a piece from the nice lady handing out samples.

Another cake--it's pretty, but it's fruit cake.

Oh yeah, and the booze aisle (yes, there's an entire aisle of nothing but) was runneth over-ing.
Pun totally intended.

I took this photo of a poster board in the store advertising ornaments.
This is how the trees are typically decorated around here.

No wonder the Anderson Christmas tree is a tad overwhelming.

These are Christmas crackers.
You pull the ends to pop them open and they contain a small prize, a paper crown, and a joke.
You place them at each person's plate.
It makes for a pretty table.

We had our Christmas dinner with the LOVELY people at Riverside outreach. 
It was a joy to spend Christmas afternoon with people who may have not had a place to go for Christmas and from all different walks of life.

See the crowns from the Christmas crackers on the heads around the room?

And our Christmas Eve at the Anderson household.

Merry Christmas from the Andersons in Scotland!

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