Friday, December 18, 2015

An Australian Christmas

I have a very dear friend, on the other side of the world, who is having trouble getting her head around the idea of Christmas during the summer.  (Yes Stephanie I'm talking about you!!)  But I do understand what you mean.  Exactly.  And I even LIVE through summers and Christmases coinciding, and have done so for forty years.  Ok, so let's not throw THAT number around, but yes, I get it.  It's a weird concept because Christmas is all about tradition and the tradition of Christmas states that it snows and you sit by the fire and you wear a really ugly Christmas jumper (sweater) and drink eggnog (whatever the hell that is) and Santa wears a big red suit with furry bits on it to keep him warm.  YES!  All of these images and then some are what is portrayed as Christmas down here.  Really.  We have all the movies showing with it snowing at Christmas, we buy Christmas cards with blizzards all over the front and dust our gingerbread houses with a liberal amount of fake snow.  Down here in our sun drenched part of the globe we just accept the fact that Christmas is about winter, snow and Frosty the Snowman.  However, as far as I know, and can remember, it has never snowed at Christmas, I've never seen anyone sporting an ugly Christmas jumper and Santa definitely does NOT need the furry bits.  And seriously, I've never seen or heard of anyone drinking eggnog here, although I've just found out that we probably should because it's served cold apparently.  I always thought it was a hot thing.  Go figure.

Instead we have sun, and lots of it, and sometimes heat if summer decides to show up on time.  Some people have their Christmas lunch outdoors, although weirdly a lot of us have the traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings, the roast vegetables, the ham and Christmas pudding afterwards, all eaten inside, with more people stuffed around the table than can possibly fit, and when I was growing up not a lot of people had air conditioning so it was always a muggy old affair.
There are those that embrace the whole 'Australian-ness' of Christmas and will "throw another shrimp on the barbie" (we actually call them prawns here), and many go crazy about seafood.  My family is very much a traditional turkey and ham family, and  my mother always makes the Christmas pudding, a recipe that was handed down from her Nana Rowland....which I actually have made myself, last Christmas and two Christmases before that...when I have spent the day with my husband's family.  I am proud to say that the pudding 'baton' was handed on quite successfully and both times I've made it just as well as my mum!

Instead of snow I can see this out in my back garden.
My vegetables have gone ballistic.  Nothing like a bit of sheep poo from the farm.
Very excited about the prospect of tomatoes! 

Instead of snowmen and frost I can see this out of my front door.
The tiles on the neighbour's roofs shimmering in the heat, the grass on the distant hills starting to brown off, the big big blue sky and the gumtrees getting that haze about them that suggests the eucalyptus oil is on the move and is just about ready for a bushfire, should a lightening strike, (or some idiot with a match) decide to strike.
 
Thinking about that....the Country Fire Authority (CFA)...are the volunteers that make up the fire fighters in our rural communities here in my state.  Other states in Australia have similar organisations.  This is what they normally do....
This was actually just after the Black Saturday Fires in February of 2009.  This was the farm that I managed and it was totally burnt out.  When I turned up two days later I had to call '000', which is our emergency number, and get the fire fighters out to deal with a grass fire that had sprung up, which then caused my last remaining hay bale to go up in a ball of flames.
Afterwards I looked simply stunning, all covered in ash and smelling like a chimney.  Even my white knickers had turned grey, which was weird because I hadn't even taken my pants off!!

However at Christmas time, usually on the night before Christmas Eve, you can find the CFA driving around the streets of country towns, with Santa precariously hanging off the side, with volunteers throwing bags of lollies out to all the children.  You always know they are coming because the siren will 'whoop' and the children will spill out of their houses like the beans out of a beanbag with a hole in it, and it just wouldn't seem like Christmas without them.

If Christmas day happens to coincide with a really hot day then Christmas lunch might dissolve into a massive water fight on the front lawn.  You know, the perfect opportunity to completely drench any relatives you might not necessary like.  The kids have a ball and usually get sunburnt and with all that running about the lawn and throwing water someone will undoubtedly get hurt and the whole thing is likely to end in tears.  Either that or a brand new toy will get broken.  But it's a hell of a lot of fun in the meantime. 

Your best Christmas outfit will most likely be a floaty dress, something maxi even, that hides the food baby you will most certainly have later.  Stupid paper hats at lunch are a must, crackers with bad jokes are a given and your Dad falling asleep on the couch in the afternoon just goes without saying.

The lead up to Christmas, I can imagine, would be pretty much the same in the Northern Hemisphere as it is here.  The frenzy of trying to buy your Christmas presents in time, the stress of it all...and if you're anything like me....the TWO hours it takes to wrap it all up.  This is just part of the crazy Christmas load for this year.....
Yes, this is a photo of the top of my wardrobe, and I'm not being very sneaky because my walk-in-robe doesn't have a door so if the kids just go in and look up they will quite easily see a whole stack of presents....but hey, what can you do?

Anyway, I hope this has shed a little bit of light on what goes on WAY down south during the festive season.  Have a good one!


 


 





6 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post!
    I have always wondered about Christmas in a hot place and it seems like you guys have lots of fun - a waterfight sounds so cool and Santa giving out lollipops is just so cute!
    Its 14 degrees here so not hot by any means but not cold enough to snow either! It seems as though we are stuck in Autumn but I am excited for Christmas nonetheless.
    Thankyou for this awesome post - its so fun to read something personal and find out more about a blog author!
    Merry Christmas!
    Emma
    xxx
    http://www.peacelovevintage.com/

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    1. Thank you Emma! I'm glad it was educational and entertaining! There must be a hint of disappointment to not having snow at Christmas, I hope the weather gets cold enough for some on Christmas day.

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  2. Not going to lie the entire time I'm reading this, I picture Santa in a Speedo. Because in the hot Australian temps, that's probably all he could manage. Hm, fat old man in a Speedo.... there's a lovely mental image for your Monday morning, right? (; Yes it is odd to not have snow and chilly weather at Christmas time. Not that it's warm here, but we are experiences odd temps and weather into our late December this year. Actually, this has never happened in my 25 years of life. It's warm enough for tee shirts really, but we still sport our sweaters. Perhaps you guys should start the trend of Ugly Christmas tank tops? (; I personally think that would be hilarious. I certainly dont think you need all the bells and whistles of snow, cold, and fireplaces. Although I do love me a good roaring fire. (; Christmas is a state of mind, a piece of your heart. It's about family, friends, and realizing all the good company in your life. Thank you for sharing this perspective though. xo

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    1. Eww..Santa in a Speedo! Not a good look! Apparently for Christmas day we are in for 35 degree heat but it's supposed to rain! What crap weather!! We do actually have ugly Christmas t-shirts instead of the jumper, and some women do go all 'Christmas accessories'..so have the funny earrings (ie bells, tinsel etc) Yes, Christmas is definitely all about family. Have a great Christmas Kiki xo

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  3. LOL "Eggnog, whatever the hell that is".... It's like creamy melted ice cream. I can't believe you don't have that!!!!! Wish I could add that to your "Christmas box" which will be VERY late as I have no been able to get to the store I NEED to get to. UGH. Anyway....

    I would love a Christmas-day water balloon fight, but trust me you do NOT want to have one in 1C temperatures!! Last night was one of the coldest. It's so crazy to read about your tomatoes and Christmas BBQ's!!!! LOL. Thank you so much for writing this. It was a pleasure to read!!

    MUCH LOVE!!!! And Happy Holidays!!!! <3

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    1. Eggnog sounds very very delicious. I have looked up recipes, saw a great one by Jamie Oliver since writing this post. Might have to become a 'Christmas thing' in our household. I actually wrote this post with you in mind because you were saying you couldn't imagine what a hot Christmas would be like. Tried to give you some idea!! Have a Merry Christmas Steph. xxoo

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