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As the Shanghai winter seeps through to the bone, thoughts of "I could be this cold at home" start to creep in. Of course, frozen toes are not the only detractor. Living in a country where the 25th is a work-day (even if it's on a weekend) and Christmas = Louis Vuitton don't help when December rolls around.

The real reason not to be here though is that the family isn't. I got a postcard from my home town a few weeks ago as a poignant reminder of where my home is. All the landmarks are there (two of the four are the same building!) and behind them the open fire, TV specials, a busy kitchen and wishing the checkout lady in Sainsbury's a Merry Christmas. 2 years away from all that is more than enough.

So, if this country won't celebrate their festivals with us - we'll not be a part of theirs. Roll on CNY when we can return home without paying through the nose for flights and rushing back for that dreaded 3rd of January. We'll go somewhere nearby where Christmas will be in full swing and join tomeats for a few days snowboarding in Nagano.

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