Christmas for me has revolved around food since the time I became too old for a Christmas stocking.
Before then, you could have your turkey because I was perfectly content with my Hawaiian Barbie.
On the day, Christmas is measured in meals. It begins with fresh, fragrant mangoes and buttery croissants for breakfast; the day meanders from mid-morning to lunchtime in a blur of prawns and cold baked ham.
All our extended family brings a dish, and we sit in the sunshine and eat and drink long into the afternoon. My stepdad will tend the barbecue with uncles and cousins standing around (requisite stubby holders in hand), my mum and her sisters will laugh uproariously as they do whenever they’re together, and everyone takes it in turns to chase around the newer small additions to the family.
And come evening, even though we hardly need it, there will be snacking and perhaps a second round of pud. It’s comforting to know how our day will pass each year.
But Christmas in New York City was a very different animal.
It was cold. It was so cold that there were warnings not to stay outside in the elements for more than ten minutes lest your face get frostbitten.
And it snowed, but not like in those Christmas movies. This snow would be a fresh white blanket in the morning but within an hour it would be hard, dirty and slippery.