As we neared the day, the excitement became increasingly palpable. My workplace had planned an elaborate Christmas lunch a couple of days before they closed for a week's holidays. I was so happy to be able to taste the traditional Christmas lunch as otherwise, I would have never got a chance to do so. The lunch started at about 12 p.m. (though we headed to the pub much before that) and went on for 2-3 hours with many courses of meals and rounds of drinks, followed by an elaborate celebration with more drinks till 8 in the night (at least that was the time when I left for home while many stayed back insisting me to join them for Karaoke or some more fun activities).
The actual day of the festival turned out to be a big surprise for us. All the shops, public transport, malls were closed and the reason was simple - everybody should get to celebrate the festival with their family. It was as if the city came to a standstill to celebrate. It was very unusual for us. We had always seen Policeman, shopkeepers, public transport employees and many other professionals working even on the most important festivals of their religions back in India. For that matter, during early years of my career, even I had spent some festivals in office. For the first time, it made us appreciate all those people back home who work even on holidays instead of being with their loved ones. On one Christmas I was supposed to be alone as hubby dear was going to be in India and I had to be in London for work. By the time the day arrived more than half of my office knew that I was going to be alone and they couldn't stop feeling sorry and wondering what was I going to do all alone. Some of them offered me tips while a couple of them also went to the extent of inviting me over for lunch with their extended families. I had barely joined in October and it felt so nice to be worried about by all of them (many of whom I knew only by name). But finally, I was invited over by a bunch of Indian friends, who just like me didn't have much to do on the day and had planned a house party with lots of food and board games.
P.S. Don't forget to try Ice Skating if you happen to be in London during winter, many iconic places have an ice rink created just for the limited time and I can assure you, its loads of fun.
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