By Nehemiah Yen

All over the world, Christmas is a time of joy and festivity. Exchanging presents, gathering together with friends and family, and eating cultural dishes are Christmas traditions observed all over the world. My family and I have recently moved to the UK, and one major change in my Christmas celebrations this year is the weather. Christmas takes place in the middle of winter, where the temperature in Leeds (the city I am living in right now) is around 4 degrees Celsius. That’s a huge difference from the 30 degrees Celsius that Singapore normally has.

This decrease in temperature has led to some lifestyle changes that relate to Christmas celebrations in the UK as well. Firstly, the days get a lot darker a lot quicker so our Christmas gatherings with friends would end a lot earlier than Christmas gatherings in Singapore, partly due to the fact that we haven’t been here a very long time, and staying out too late at night is a bad idea. Secondly, during celebrations, plates were heated up in the oven before the Christmas dinner to keep the food warmer for longer. One lifestyle change that doesn’t necessarily relate to Christmas or temperature is the availability of a dishwasher. Instead of having to wash everything by hand, now all one has to do is literally pop all the dishes into the dishwasher and it’d be done in slightly over an hour.

Food during Christmas is interesting as well. The main course for most British families is turkey, served with pigs in blankets, which are pork sausages wrapped in bacon. The Christmas dessert is especially intriguing. Bread pudding is coated with brandy and then set on fire, which sears the outside of the bread pudding and is extinguished when the brandy has been consumed (by the fire of course). Christmas celebrations in Britain are definitely different from Christmas celebrations in Singapore, and I’m looking forward to celebrating my first Christmas in the UK.