The month of December has been filled with Christmas spirit! Wandering the annual Christmas market along Princes Street and in Princes Street Gardens, having an ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ party with my Georgetown friends, and celebrating Christmas with my basketball team are some of things I have done that are making my last month in Scotland a festive and fun one!
The annual Christmas market in Edinburgh, which opened on November 29th, is an energetic market with winter-themed carnival rides and an ice rink, and many vendors selling trinkets, Christmas crafts, German sausages, chocolates, and other treats. The Christmas market is in New Town along Princes Street and on the connecting bridge between New Town and Old Town. The market is open seven days a week, but on weekends, the market is absolutely packed; when I have walked through the market on weekend days, it is overflowing with people shopping, browsing, snacking, and getting into the Christmas spirit! I’m definitely going to go back to this Christmas market to look for some souvenirs and Christmas treats to bring back to the U.S.
Two weeks ago, I celebrated the Christmas season with many of my Georgetown friends studying here in Edinburgh. The majority of us were adorned with ‘ugly Christmas sweaters’ as we gathered together to have some holiday fun. My Georgetown girlfriends and I bought bright Christmas sweaters, or ‘jumpers’ as Brits call them, at Primark, which is a fabulously cheap store that is similar to Forever 21 in America. I was happy to have the occasion of our Christmas Georgetown get-together to buy an ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ because I’ve wanted one and I’ve wanted to go to a festive ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ party!!
Many of my fellow Hoyas in Edinburgh wore Christmas sweaters, but a few got even more festive…dressing in a Santa costume and dressing in authentic German lederhosen purchased at Oktoberfest, to name a couple. I had not hung out with such a large group of the Georgetown students in Edinburgh since Halloween, and it was very fun to see everyone and to hear about everyone’s recent European travels.
Although I did not know it before we all got together that night, the Georgetown’s men soccer team was playing Maryland that night in the NCAA semifinal game–a huge achievement and exciting event for all Hoyas! Decked in our Christmas attire, we huddled around a laptop computer to watch the live-streamed game, the segment of overtime, and final shootout. We exploded with cheers when Georgetown became victorious with the 4-3 score on penalty kicks! The soccer game made our Georgetown Christmas party even more fun because as we watched in suspense and chanted “Hoya Saxa”, we were showing our Hoya pride across the Atlantic in Edinburgh.
A third Christmas event that I have had so far in December was my basketball team’s Christmas dinner and night out. My team, the second women’s team at the University of Edinburgh, and the first women’s team went out to dinner at Nando’s for our Christmas dinner. My friend Avery and I had fun dressing up in “lbd’s” (little black dresses, for all you fashionistas out there), and some of my teammates even dressed up in Christmas costumes, or ‘fancy dress’ as Brits say. At our dinner, my team’s social secretary, Kate, presented frames with our team picture inside to me and to my friend Christine (who has also been studying abroad this semester). The two of us are the two Americans on the team who were studying in Edinburgh for the fall semester. The gift was a great surprise for me, and the frame is an awesome memento of my experience on the basketball team this semester! I asked my teammates to sign the mat of the frame, and I’m looking forward to having the frame in my room back in the States. After the Christmas dinner, my team, the women’s first team, and the two men’s basketball teams went out to Rush bar and to Potterow, which is the student union of the University of Edinburgh that hosts the clubnight called “The Big Cheese” every Saturday night. Together the four EUBC teams took the dancefloor, sang to cheesy club music, and belted out some Christmas tunes!