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What exactly does Christmas mean to you? Apart from the family get together and the (religious or not) celebrations?

When you live in the northern hemisphere, things are definitely different then here in the south. When I saw the first signs of christmas a few weeks ago my first reaction was, ‘OMG!!! They put Christmas decorations and it’s still summer!’, bit I immediately realised my mistake. Here Christmas is in mid summer. At times (well actually, very often) the difference of season still confuses me.

In Europe, the Christmas period (which in Belgium, officially starts on dec 7, the day after Sinterklaas) is the darkest period of the year. It gets dark even before 5 pm and the sun rises around 8am. Nights are long, days are short, dark and gloomy, so putting on lots of Christmas lights and candles was a great way to chase the darkness away. The decoration made the house extra cosy which made it easier to spend whole weekends inside, escaping from the weather and the darkness.

Here it is so different! The tree looks weird and out of place in the sun lit living room. No need to put on the christmas lights as you barely see them. You hardly spend time inside anyway, unless you have air conditioning…

Right now I am still wondering wether I will put the tree out and Christmas is already next week. Next week?!! But I didn’t buy any present yet! (panic oh panic) But I know I still have time though. I suppose that, just like last year, the shops will be open until late on the 24th, giving extra last-minute-reductions. Causing all the cash machines to be empty though.
Where did this well organised Belgian woman go, who had all her presents ready under the tree about 3 weeks ahead. I wonder!

So to me, being here in Argentina, Christmas is just about the celebration. The family dinner (this year we are having some extra family to join us in celebration), carefully prepared by all of us, as every member of the family has it’s speciality. And of course the presents. Tiny little, and preferably fun presents. Just for the fun of opening them.

And if I want the “real” Christmas atmosphere, I will have to fly up north. But I am not yet that desperate… Christmas in mid-summer is fine to me!