Ho-Ho-Ho’s At The Lamas House



The Lamas family has, for the first time, experienced Christmas in a foreign land, and without family or friends to celebrate the occasion. Every year during Christmas we would make the rounds to our parents’ houses. Because of our families situations, we had four to five places to go in under 48-hours with everyone vying for our time. This was often a stressful season for our family, but to say we’ve missed our families (even in light of the holiday stresses) this Christmas is an understatement. Thankfully, Leah and I have found a new joy in one another and our kids. We have loved the prospect of forging our own traditions as we mix things up from the past.

IMG_0703Unlike back home, our family uses the city bus system to get around. In most cases, I love using this system, which has alleviated much unnecessary stress from my life. Though, at times, there are drawbacks, and Christmas was no exception. Typically, I’d borrow a truck or strap a Christmas tree onto my Prius, but Edinburgh didn’t afford such luxury. Not only were we without a vehicle, but we were also not familiar enough with our neighborhood to track down a Christmas tree lot. Luckily, as we were out for our daily stroll, we stumbled across a small storefront, a little more than a mile awayIMG_0957 from our flat, which had Christmas trees for sale. Their selection was slim and the trees were small, but they were perfect for our 2-bedroom flat. We decided to get a 5-foot tree (opting out of the Charlie Brown size) that would fit in our foyer. However, as I said before, we had no car—and the bus doesn’t run from the store to our flat—and the only option was for me to carry the tree home. The trek back wasn’t fun, but after twenty-five minutes of stop and go we made it back. That night we dressed the tree with lights and ornaments, snuggled up, and drank some hot chocolate. The kids had a blast as we forged ahead, determined to make new memories.

IMG_0960Family members wereIMG_0961 itching to figure out the best route to send gifts to Markie and Penelope. Unfortunately, the post office is VERY expensive and most US retailers won’t ship to the UK without astronomical charges for shipping. Ultimately, it worked out where family members were able to put money into our American bank account so we could purchase gifts on their behalf. Though, it’s not the same, the kids still loved their gifts!

IMG_0874Also, Leah and I decided to get the kids fewer gifts than normal and invest the money from family into making more memories. Fortunately for us, living in the UK allows for affordable access to nearly all of Europe. So, for under $500, we were able to book a 5-day trip to Italy (4 people including flight and hotel costs!!). Leah and I thought building memories around the world would be a wonderful and lasting gift for our little family. We are looking forward to that trip at the end of February, and will be sure to share our experiences. IMG_0941Additionally, we gifted the kids with a year membership to the Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park (after two trips the membership pays for itself). So, on Christmas Eve we decided to visit the Zoo, and the kids fell in love. The zoo offered a full gamut of animals, and it was clean to boot. We are excited about the memories to be created, and we are thankful for family who gifted us and made it possible. We hope all our friends and family had a wonderful holiday as we certainly did.


Here’s a few more photos:











Leah and I are not a sentimental people. We don’t care much for extravagant birthdays or anniversaries, and we are especially disinterested in the hoopla of the holidays. I never installed Christmas lights on our house and we’ve never had a real Christmas tree. Only since Mark and Penelope were born have we begun to dabble in the Christmas spirit, but only menially. So, to our surprise, the city of Edinburgh began to erect a Christmas village in the center of town shortly after Halloween.


Here, unlike America, Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t have to compete for airtime. It is Christmas 24/7 from November –December. The city goes all out; boasting a Ferris wheel that stretches to the sky, hundreds of vendors, two ice rinks, multiple kid’s carnivals, regular fireworks, and scores of live bands, dramas, and plays…and so much more! The smell of sizzling bratwursts, crepes, and Belgium hot chocolate are enough to bring a grown man to tears, how much more a child?! Since November, Christmas town has become a regular stop for our family, as the explorations seem endless—and our kids are enamored with the spectacle each time. We’ve come to love that our city is plastered with lights and marks of the Christmas spirit, a spirit that has helped mitigate some of our “bah-humbug” ethos (Dickens would be proud!). Though we miss friends and family, and wish we could share this experience, we have fallen in love with the liveliness of Edinburgh, and their enthusiastic attitude towards the Christmas season! Please, enjoy some of the photos and video attached below.