The Holidays. The phrase makes you think of twinkling Christmas lights lining snow-topped roofs, eggnog and spiced rum by the fireplace, and ice-skating at Rockefeller Center. Growing up we were told about Santa ‘dashing through the snow’ and received Christmas cards depicting winter nights and families snuggled inside a warm house. There was not a single Christmas/NYE movie that didn’t feature snow, fireplaces, and everyone needing to rug-up before stepping outside.
As a child growing up in Australia this didn’t seem right to me. Our Christmas is in summer meaning the air-con was on and our advent calendars tended to melt in the lead up to the big day.
Everyone knows what happens during the holidays in the Northern hemisphere – let me tell you how they’re done ‘down under’.
December – the lead up: School is winding down for the year, shopping center car parks are becoming manic (especially those prime undercover positions!), there’s end of year work parties and BBQ catch ups with those you wont see on December 25.
It’s starting to heat up, meaning the pool’s getting cleaned and the air-con has been serviced. It’s a bit hit-or-miss with the chocolates, generally they’re a bit soft and need some time in the fridge. As it gets closer to the big day, a lovely summer nights stroll around the neighborhood to see houses decorated with Christmas lights is a must do for anyone with kids…and big kids at heart. Before you know it, it’s time for Carols by Candlelight. You pack a picnic, don’t forget the insect repellent, and head down for a night of children running around with friends and singing classical carols, all topped off with a beautiful fireworks display.
Christmas Day: Everyone has their own traditions. Some go to Church on Christmas eve, some connect with family. My family have their own tradition. We start the day with a swim at the beach before it gets too hot and crowded down there. Then it’s home for a BBQ breakfast. Bacon, eggs, tomato, croissants, sausages – all the good things in life. Then, once that’s done we open presents. By the time that’s finished it’s usually 9am and we either get ready to go to whichever family member is hosting lunch. It’s too hot to make a giant turkey in the oven, so we have cold ham, chicken, and salads. The only thing that gets heated up is the Christmas pudding…which then gets drenched in custard and cooled down anyways. Afternoons are a chilled time. There are people napping, swimming in the pool if the house we’re at has one, or playing with new toys.
NYE: As a child/family you may go into the city to watch some fireworks, or maybe your local city council has put some on. There is generally a BBQ involved and a swim at the beach or pool. It’s more of a time to play with friends as it signals school holidays are in full swing and the adults aren’t going home until after 12 anyways.
As an adult you obviously have more options. Open air summer-only clubs are pumping, regular nightclubs and bars put on special events. If crowds and spending money isn’t your thing then a chilled out dinner at a friends, a backyard pool, and an eski full of drinks makes a great NYE too. Generally I do the latter.
Every person celebrates differently but I can guarantee one thing – if you live in Australia in December you will be spending time catching up with friends and family over a few cold bevvies, a meal cooked on the BBQ, and a refreshing dip in the ocean or a neighbors pool at least once.
And remember, if you really want to get in the Aussie spirit, chuck on the Australian Christmas Carols album and sing along to ‘6 White Boomers’ and songs about Santa being to hot in his red suit and having beach swims between present deliveries.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2018 readers!!