Before I begin on our adventures, let me take a moment to say that Christmas is quite different here than in the states. Obviously, there’s no Thanksgiving holiday so Christmas is full force in stores from Halloween on. You’d think then that it wouldn’t be difficult to find something like wire Christmas ribbon – you know, for making gifts beautiful or wrapping around your tree to make it look full and festive even though your toddler has pulled off all of the ornaments from the bottom third of the tree.
Not a thing here.
You can find the odd one-off wire ribbon but it certainly isn’t wide enough to go on your tree. Any kind of ribbon more than a quarter inch wide is difficult to find!
Additionally, no white gift boxes. No gift boxes that aren’t already printed on with some kind of Christmas motif. Gift wrap every where you turn! Every checkout, aisles full of it in every shop! No boxes in which to wrap! When I ask about them, I get looked at like I have a third eye while the sales person scratches their head and says version of, “Ohhh wow! (As if they’re surprised by the idea of a white box that would hold things.) Yeah you might have to try the internet for that!”
I did try the internet. The closest I could get were kraft colored boxes and to be quite British about it – they were very dear! (Meaning pretty pricey!)
**EDIT** – According to my hairdresser (who is no longer my hairdresser), if you had Christmas PJs to wrap up, you would just wrap them by themselves. The package would just be lumpy. Archaic!!! She thought it totally bizarre that I would put something in a box just to wrap it.
Something these Brits and Scots are doing well though – Christmas Markets.
They. Are. Everywhere.
Nearly every organization and or castle that you could possibly think of has a Christmas Market where they invite local vendors to showcase their wares. There are typically stalls with food and drinks as well. These range from little school PTO type Christmas Markets or Fayres to huge ordeals like the one we visited in Edinburgh.
Brett despises crowds of any kind so I thought we’d try to avoid them by going during the week. Caught some flack from his teacher for that one! Oops!
When we got into town we went straight to the Air BNB we’d booked. The location was FABULOUS. We couldn’t have dreamed up a more fab location. It was easy walking distance for all of us – Mia excluded – she was in the stroller. It was also surrounded by cozy and posh looking bars, cafes, and restaurants that made me wish for the millionth time that our family lived in Scotland with us so we could make quick casual trips to Edinburgh. Sigh. The place itself was really cool, too. Exposed stone, open concept living/dining and even this little catwalk that went across the back alley.
We stayed close to the flat the first night. The kids loved riding the carnival type rides while Brett and I loved drinking the Johnnie Walker Hot Apple Toddy. I cannot imagine there being anything better to drink on a cold, Scottish night!
ROUGH night once we were back home with the kids. Mia was coughing nonstop and asking repeatedly for Dada. Brooks was too excited to sleep and thus stayed up WAY past his bedtime. He crawled in bed with me and tried to cuddle with me leaving me only a sliver of space on the bed. Between that and Mia’s noisy coughing from the next room – there was not much sleep to be had. Brett didn’t get much more since Mia’s coughing was directly in his face. Finally around 4:30 AM everyone was sleeping peacefully. Except yours truly.
A few hours later Brett and I treated ourselves to breakfast at Urban Angel – which it truly felt like it was when Brett turned up at our flat and saw that they’d given us nearly a vat of bacon.
After an ill fated trip to the bank to try to remedy my debit card situation, we headed to the rink where Brooks and I took to the ice! He was hysterical trying to skate! He didn’t get pushing off or going side to side. He just kept trying to run in place. We finally settled on me pushing him!
Afterwards we headed to Santaland! After Mia’s lack of sleep the night before we knew we were on borrowed time. Unfortunately, our phone plans don’t agree with the elevation changes in Edinburgh. Translation: We couldn’t get Paw Patrol streamed for the walk to the actual markets. It was a touch and go situation. We didn’t get to spend much time at the actual markets due to the piercing wails and disapproving looks from the other patrons but we were able to snag a couple of goodies!
Brooks and Mia LOVED Santaland. They could have easily stayed there all afternoon. We could have too really – there were plenty of hot toddies to be had – but Mia’s lack of sleep was really wearing on all of us. The whole nap thing is such a blessing and such a curse sometimes.
Even though the kids acted very much like over excited and exhausted children, we felt so lucky that they were acting like that with such beautiful scenery. Can’t wait to experience other Christmas Markets around Europe in the future.
Here are a couple of other pics from our time in Edinburgh.