The ODPN office is home to many different backgrounds and cultures. From Germany to Brazil to the United Kingdom, we are lucky to have so many different traditions hanging around these halls. Natalie, our newest member of the team, comes to us from London and is experiencing her first Canadian Christmas. We are handing it off to her this month as she compares her first Vancouver Christmas with the ones past.
I’m excited about my first Christmas in Vancouver! We don’t have the snow on the mountains that I was expecting due to the warm weather, but having lived in London for the last 8 years being close to the mountains is just perfect. Christmas growing up for me was all about family traditions. Decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the Christmas pudding before we ate it and playing cards and gambling with money from Nan’s coin jar. This year I’m looking forward to making some new ones in Vancouver!
This year will be slightly different to my usual Christmas in London. I love Christmas in London. The time of year when a few days before the big day the mass exodus happens and everyone leaves the city to visit family & friends. The city becomes “quiet” (if that’s possible) just leaving the locals and Christmas tourists. Department stores like Selfridges, Harvey Nicholls and Harrods all have their Christmas windows and the Christmas lights are strung up across all the main streets.
Vancouver’s laid back lifestyle was one of the reasons I was drawn here, and this has certainly been reflected on the Christmas build up. I used to work in Soho in central London and getting home at night was a nightmare as the tube was shut down because of overcrowding as people rushed to get their last minute gifts.
My walk home from work in Vancouver takes me past all the main shopping venues. It seems to me that these stores are no busier this time of year. A thirty minute walk home in Vancouver definitely beats a one hour trip on a London tube where you are stood under the armpit of an office worker who’s had a little too much beer at the company Christmas party!
So what new Christmas traditions are there to experience in Vancouver? I’ve been to the German Christmas market, have looked at the stalls and had the must have glass of Glühwein. My mum and sister arrive from the UK on Christmas Day so I’m saving the Lights at Stanley Park and a visit to Vandusen garden for them. I’ve been told it is a must! Snow on the mountains is my real Christmas wish….mmm…perhaps a visit to Whistler then…