Cheersgiving

I enjoyed the Halloween playlist so much that I decided to make a Yuletide one too. It consists mainly of retro Christmas classics (Nat King Cole, the Carpenters, etc.) but with a fun sprinkling of rock-classical instrumentals, modern covers, a couple parodies, and songs from holiday movies. These are the songs I grew up listening to (most of them anyway) throughout December. It’s just about that time of year, so here is my holiday playlist.

Before we can celebrate Yule, we have Thanksgiving to enjoy. To be clear – NOT the fantasy about pilgrims and Native Americans being bestest friends. Those stories are pretty lies and half-truths that were used to boost morale at a rough time in American history. That’s not the part I enjoy. What I do enjoy is having a festive gathering that emphasizes family togetherness. Today, I shared that with my fiancé and future father-in-law. We had a stuffed turkey breast (Keep the meat juicy by covering it with a lattice of smoked bacon); roasted carrots, parsnips, shallots, and garlic; sage and onion breadcrumb stuffing; sausage stuffing (The latter two are popular in the UK for Christmas and thus were easy to acquire); mashed potatoes; gravy; peas; baked beans (I doctored up their bland beans with barbecue sauce, brown sugar, rum, Worcestershire sauce, and other spices); green bean casserole topped with crispy onions; rolls topped with garlic butter; and apple pie topped with whipped cream. White wine with the meal and espresso after dessert. I would have made a pumpkin pie and a chocolate bourbon pecan pie, but I could not find all the ingredients here. Between Amazon and Ebay, I might be able to get everything I need before Christmas. We watched highlights of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and collectively shrugged at American football. Besides indulging in tasty food, we chatted and laughed and generally enjoyed each other’s company. Then we all slumped off, stuffed.

There are so many differences between London and New Orleans that I don’t know where to start when describing them. How about the sun? As someone who cannot be in the sun, I am thrilled with the grey English weather. It often seems I’m the only one happy about it, but I think overcast days are beautiful. They give the impression of being in the spaces between time. The most noticeable thing to me this summer and again now that December is approaching is the length of the day. It never occurred to me how close to the equator I have lived all my life. The difference between the length of summer days and winter days is certainly noticeable… BUT… the difference in the UK is staggering. At the height of summer, New Orleans gets about 14 hours of sunlight. In winter it gets 10 hours. Four hours is quite a difference, I thought. London gets 16.5 hours of sunlight at the height of summer and just short of 8 hours in winter. An EIGHT AND A HALF HOUR difference! Oh, my days (as they say)! Also, the sun might have been down, but the sky still had a decent amount of light until 11pm in summer, and it lit up in the morning around 3am. Today, the sun was gone by 4pm. I’ve understood these latitudinal differences academically for a very long time, but experiencing them is still mind-blowing. I won’t even get into weather and temperatures yet. Those will have to wait for another post.

Thanksgiving Feast

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