One of the things I have loved most since moving to America are the holidays. They are celebrated in style here. People go to town with wreaths and flags and decorations, and while some might think it twee and a little over the top, I happen to love how people approach the holidays with such enthusiasm and creativity here. The little traditions and rituals took us time to learn but now they're our own and our children are growing up with them.
The crisp Fall air always makes me think of apple picking in the upstate orchards ... fire-colors of the leaves as we drive ... jeans and boots but still warm and blue-skied ... gravel-crunching at the farm stalls with the smell of freshly baked doughnuts and hot coffee brewing. Hay-rides into the orchard and bags of picked apples. Bringing home pumpkins and decorating them for Halloween.
The snow heralds the winter festivities - for us it's going out to choose our tree and the smell of pine filling the house. Warm wooden floors and curtains closed by 4.00 against the dark cold night. How delicious hot chocolate is after making snow angels. Christmas Eve candles and the excitement mounting. Wreaths and lights everywhere.
Of all the holidays here I think I love the 4th July the most. The flag flying - red and white and blue are everywhere. The joy of summer really having arrived, the 4th is all about patriotism and beaches and picnics and being in the sun. Best of all are the night-time fireworks. We had them when we lived in England too, for Guy Fawkes, but that time of year is freezing cold and not that conducive to standing outside appreciating bursting stars late at night. Here it's warm and gorgeous and so totally fitting to be outside at night, after a long day in the sun, watching the sky light up.
This year we celebrated where we always have, with friends in Mamaroneck, watching the fireworks over the harbor ... but then a special treat of a weekend getaway to Virginia with family and the beautiful night sky fireworks at the Bryce Fest ... live music and a Pimms in hand, everyone camped out on the grass with kids running around playing soccer ... dark sky and a stunning view of the firework show.
These are the memories I am taking with me to build our new life in Texas.
What is your favorite holiday where you live, I wonder.