12.12.2016 – Day 347
So, This is Christmas
I saw this photo on Facebook and it instantly transported me back to Christmases of my youth. We used this stuff on the windows, on the screen doors. We sprayed it on top of the manger’s roof (cause there was snow in Bethlehem don’t you know?) We sprayed it on our ornaments, on the tree itself and even on the dog!
The Christmases of my childhood hold so many great memories. Advent calendars, carol singing, St. Benedict’s Christmas mass, homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream, a full house, Christmas stories, house-hopping and sharing Christmas cheer in every one, huge platters of party food, Turtles chocolates and After Eight Mints, and the countdown for Santa and watching and listening for his progress around the world. I was always a little jealous of Australians as it was one of the first places Santa visited.
Well, now I live here.
The toughest part about Christmas for me living in Australia is adjusting to Christmas = summer. That just doesn’t add up for me.
Every year Christmas sneaks up on me. In my head, it feels like it’s the middle of July or August and I should be dreading Labour Day rather than celebrating Christmas and New Years.
There’s no snow. There are very few pine trees to be smelled. There are no long crisp nights that even smell cold. There are no blankets of fresh fallen snow to make the neighbourhood sparkle. None of the white stuff to crunch under your feet. While there are Christmas lights, they don’t look the same when they’re colours aren’t reflecting off a dark, snowy, icy landscape.
Christmas dinner here is often eaten outside. You’ll find us sporting sunscreen, Aeroguard, sundresses, sunglasses, and we’re often shoeless. We don’t put on our Christmas sweaters and new fluffy slippers and gather around the fireplace displaying the stockings, nor do we usually feast on piping hot turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, Brussel sprouts, and fresh made pies and Christmas pudding.
Hot mulled cider? Nope! Making snowmen? Nuh uh. Skating on the rink in the backyard? Not that either.
These memories of mine are replaced, with cold beer and wine, seafood on the barbie, eating outside, and a swim at the nearest beach, and hopefully a little extra socialising and maybe even a game of cricket (I hear that other Aussies do this quite a lot).
It’s still merry. And, it’s still Christmas.
But, I won’t kid you, it’s different. Very different. I miss my traditions. It’s hard for it to really feel like Christmas.
I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to experience as many Christmases in summer as I have in winter. Right now the stats are 8:46 and I have enjoyed seeing Christmas in a different light. I think I may be overdue for a Canadian Christmas, maybe if I start planning and saving for it now, we can do that in 2017.
If you’ve experienced Christmases both north and south of the equator, which do you prefer? Why? What do they have in common? What is your favourite thing about each? In which countries have you celebrated Christmas?