This wasn’t my first Christmas abroad – I spent one on the beach in Sydney on my gap year – but I was worried it wouldn’t feel as festive as a traditional British Christmas. Luckily our friends L & K, who moved to Indiana this summer, flew down to spend it with us. It was great to have a little piece of home with us and we celebrated by eating far too much food, playing boardgames and walking up hills.
On Christmas Eve L and I made mulled wine and (more importantly) mince pies from scratch – if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I’ve been bemoaning the fact that mince pies don’t seem to be a thing out here – we also bought a ton of cheese and crackers, naturally.
On Christmas morning we Skyped our families and cooked an epic roast (which required a trip to a British food shop in search of gravy granules), forgoing dessert for a walk up Tank Hill, a local beauty spot, instead. An evening of Love Actually, Die Hard and Cards Against Humanity followed, propped up by a cheeseboard and more snacks than we could possibly eat in one night.
Boxing Day was certainly a lot further from how I’m used to celebrating, which is usually with more Christmas films, a long walk and eating my body weight in leftovers. Instead of that, the four of us decided to pack up our mince pies and hire bikes to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s something Mr Ship-Shape and I have done before and it’s a great way to experience San Francisco on two wheels, though we picked a pretty popular day, as the Bridge was so busy. Eight miles and several ice creams later, we were ready to hit the hay.
Although it wasn’t as traditional as past years, our first festive season in San Francisco was really rather wonderful. I’m so pleased we were able to share it with friends and forge some new traditions of our own in the process. Here are a few snaps from our first Christmas in California…