Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

I was at the school’s Christmas celebration tonight. I have to go out every day because the Christmas season is in full swing. It never stops, and I prefer not to think about what I will see on the scale after so many lovely glasses of wine and mince pies. Let’s take it one day at a time, right? Tonight was quite enjoyable, and also very international.
The mum sitting right in front of me was Chinese. I had a British couple on my left, and Filipino parents on my right. Behind me was an Australian mum and her French au pair.

How many nationalities were represented? I don’t know the exact number, but probably a lot. In France, everybody was French at my daughter’s school. It went without saying, really. Well, not over here. London is a truly international city and it feels, well, nice. It also feels very different.
Nationality doesn’t seem to matter over here -what does is having a strong accent, apparently. Sigh.

The other funny thing is that some Christmas songs are the same than in French. I mean: the  tune, not the words, obviously. I wanted to sing in French and had to try hard to sing in English. It is tough to sing in an international environment!

in short, Christmas in London is a very international experience. What about you, how are Christmas celebrations where you live?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • My advice to your daughters is be bad! – Save Santa the trip!

    • Well, David, I don’t think that my daughters need your advice. They already keep me far too busy!

  • Ana Goncalves

    That’s wonderful that you had this experience in London where you were supported by others from other nationalities.

    • It is indeed wonderful. London is such an international city that nobody feels out of place.

  • To me, they always seem foreign- but festive. Merry Xmas to you and yours!

    • Thank you, Roy! the magic of Xmas has gone now for me. That’s because I have to be Santa Claus and buy all the presents!

  • Rohit Trilokekar

    I just LOVE the Christmas feel Muriel.. i feel kind of guilty when I say that I love it more than Diwali.. but I love guilty pleasures 😉 …. well, I love the nip in the air and the decorations in Mumbai as well, and I always feel something magical is going to happen during Christmas 🙂

    • You are still a dreamer, Rohit. I like Xmas, but I don’t like all the consumerism over here. Maybe I am becoming bitter, after all!

  • SarahHague

    Well I’m coming back to the UK for Christmas because it’s my turn with the boys. We have the best Christmas in the UK, the boys love it and I do too!

    • I know. For some reason, it is simply, well, better. I can’t really put my finger on why exactly…

  • Ann Mullen

    Muriel, one time I tried to sing a hymn in church in another language and I couldn’t do it. It made me feel like giggling.

    • Well, Ann, you know how I felt then! I had a great time.

  • Did you try to sing Jingle Bells in French ? Because I tried that before and it’s impossible ! In Ireland, and especially where I live Christmas is international as well, and I’ve learned how to say Merry Christmas in a lot of different languages

    • Of course I tried ‘Jingle Bells’ in French. It is
      Vive le vent, vive le vent
      vive the vent d’hiver
      qui s’en va, sifflant soufflant
      dans les grands sapins verts!
      Anne, you have managed to get me singing! thank you!



    • Chilled indeed. I love living in such an international city!

  • Carolina HeartStrings

    Sounds like fun. What a place to spend some time during the holidays!

    • What I loved is the fact that Christmas is so international in London. I might be French, but I don’t stand out.

  • Carol

    Two years ago we were with extended family in Barcelona. I might have been able to fake the words of the Carols in Spanish, but not in Catalan. I just hummed along. The melodies were the same. I am considered an anomaly in Toronto, because I was actually born here 🙂

    • So Toronto is a bit like London then? Very international, with people from all over the world. Well, it sounds like fun!