01 December 2009


And then, suddenly, it was December. After a mildly crazy November, with three trips to the U.S. and two friends visiting on weekends, I woke up this morning to the first day of the last month. When I opened the blinds, bleary-eyed still, and looked out over my balcony, there they were: Snowflakes dancing in the sky, gently swaying in the morning breeze on the way to the ground. After an apparently record-braking November without snow, the timing was absolutely perfect to dress the cityscape in a festive little white coat.

The instant Christmas-ification did not stop there. Various Christmas lights and decorations, some of distinctively North American colorfulness, went on around my neighborhood at dusk, and a supersized Tangerine-hued Christmas tree now adorns the lobby of our office (along with thick carpets to absorb the slush carried in from the street, but that's another story). The playlists on local radio and in stores have undergone a dramatic change, and I am still debating whether to love or to hate the fact that the inevitable Last Christmas seems to be just as popular here as it is in Europe.

When I dragged my visitor through downtown shops on the weekend, hunting for these authentic / unusual / charming / inexpensive! gifts to bring to Switzerland, I still did so in a strictly functional "lets-get-it-done" mood, vowing to do even more shopping on the web next time. But today, everything has changed: I have officially entered the 24 days of Christmas, touched my first Canadian snow, put the infamous Xmas is Olimade compilation on the home stereo, and set up my Christmas decoration (very zen, of course). The theme will continue with the corporate Christmas Holiday party on Friday, and on December 6, I am invited to dinner at Swiss friends here. Naturally, every Swiss child will recognize that date. Ho! Ho! Ho!

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