Expat Life

On This Merry Christmas Day

On This Merry Christmas Day

I realized the other day when my dad asked me to send him a photo of the three of us to use on his Christmas cards, that we have almost no pictures with all of us together. Not being a big fan of the “selfie”, our only option is to have someone else take a family photo for us. When you use a DSLR, it isn’t as simple as handing off your point-and-shoot to a stranger who, unless they have hooks for hands, will be able to take a decent photo. Instead, you have to scan the crowd with a discerning eye, looking for someone who is also using a camera like yours, but also someone you think you’d be able to outrun if they decide to pull a fast one and make off with your equipment. (This is harder than you think. There aren’t a lot of little old ladies using DSLRs.)

After combing through all the photos we have from our travels, I had to send my dad a photo of us from before we moved. Seven months of photos and not a single one with all of us in it – we will have to remedy that in 2014. The photo above was taken after my dad created this year’s card, so barring any drastic haircuts over the next year, it’ll probably be the one I send him for next year’s family Christmas card. The nice stranger who took this for us at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park did a pretty good job!

Speaking of 2014, we’re almost there! Six more days and we’ll start a whole new year. We are back in Tennessee celebrating with friends and family in Memphis. It will be our last Christmas while we are living abroad to return to the U.S. this time of year, so we are making the most of it. I’ll tell you all about it when we get back home. (Whoa…I just referred to London as home. I think that was the first time I’ve done that when talking about Tennessee in the same paragraph. That was weird.)

Truthfully though, my feelings about London are changing. I liked London from the start, but living somewhere knowing your years there are limited tends to make you feel more like a visitor than a resident. It wasn’t until the holidays that that feeling of transiency began to disappear. Both Lex and I noticed when we put our Christmas decorations up that our flat, full of furniture and decor that doesn’t belong to us, suddenly felt like home. Our now-homey flat, combined with adaptations of our regular family Christmas traditions (and the creation of some new ones), has really given us a sense of permanency again. It feels good.

Not to mention how good it felt to watch one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, Love Actually, while actually in London. This movie almost always brings me to tears, but watching it this year, after seeing with our own eyes so many places featured in the movie that we never thought we’d see, it was surreal. It left me feeling so very grateful for this life I’ve been blessed with. Not just for the opportunities we’ve been given this year, but thankful for everything, each and every day.

If you’re reading this today, and even if you’re not, I sincerely wish you the happiest of Christmases. May you be blessed beyond your wildest imagination with love, good fortune, and adventure in the new year!

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world,
I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.
General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed,
but I don’t see that.
It seems to me that love is everywhere.
Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there –
fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know,
none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge –
they were all messages of love.
If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

– Love Actually –

Share this post:

  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    January 10, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    OH my. This made me laugh. The struggles of the group shot!!! You need a tripod!!!!!

  • Jo
    January 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Emmymom
    January 1, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Totally get the picture of a family thing, I have tons of my kids but yea when you are the photographer end up with very few family shots. My mom keeps giving me grief that she wants one. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  • Connie Weiss
    December 29, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your time back in the US.

  • Liz
    December 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    So happy you’re home and enjoying time with family!
    And I laughed out loud when you were describing issues with handing off your camera. It’s almost impossible. I’ve started just setting it to Auto and crossing my fingers. And yeah, trying to ensure no one will haul off with it ;)

  • Mrs. Match
    December 29, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    That stranger did an awesome job! Great photo! I know what you mean. I had my MIL take our picture a few times while we were visiting for Christmas, and they just didn’t turn out that good. I can’t wait to hear about your Christmas! Hope you guys had a wonderful visit with family and friends.

  • Rebecca
    December 27, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    Belated Merry Christmas! So glad you got to spend Christmas with your family! That is a perfect Christmas card photo, you all look adorable! Had a marathon movie day on Christmas, got to see all my favorites, Something”s Gotta Give, The Family Stone, ( if you haven’t seen this one, it’s a must) and Love Actually , so fun!! Kailyn had a ball ripping paper, she’s not a baby anymore,17 mos! Today she got her big girl bed, (crib turned into toddler bed) and she loves it! We were worried she wouldn’t stay in but she does.!

    Have a good trip back to London! Happy New Year

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    December 27, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Hope you had a wonderful christmas spending time with your family :)

  • Quyen Nguyen
    December 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas! Stay warm! :)

  • Miwa
    December 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Merry Christmas, Sarah! I watched Love Actually last night, too. It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies as well. I guess there are a lot of people out there who have the same opinion :)

    I hope you enjoy your time back in the States! Happy holidays!

  • Katrin
    December 25, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Hope you are having wonderful holidays! Can’t wait to read about i! I have watched Love Actually on Sunday, I love that movie so much! Merry Christmas! <3