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trying to smile posted 11/30/2013 22:49 PM

A few years ago I started a thread about what Christmas looks like in this great Southern Land and, as it's December 1st today and we'll be putting up the Christmas tree tonight, I thought I'd give it another go.

As you would all know it's summer here in December so Christmas looks very different to what many of you experience.
We are a very young country, just a toddler, so many of our traditions come from Europe and the many countries our diverse population hale from.

Some things are the same. I love December evenings when the only lights in the house are the Christmas lights twinkling on the tree in the corner. Difference is that it doesn't get dark until after 8pm, it's likely that the windows are all thrown open to try to catch a cool breeze and we're probably wearing shorts and T shirts or singlets.

The usual carols are played on the radio and in the shopping centres but, while they serenade us with tales of snowmen, chestnuts roasting and sleighs dashing through snow, they are accompanied by the hum of the aircon or the whirring of cicadas.

Snow swept loveliness and sparkling frost give way to brown crunchy grass and the horizon shimmering in heat haze.

Jack Frost nipped noses make way for sunburnt shoulders and noses.

Many of us still enjoy traditional Christmas fare, after all, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving so when would we have turkey? At our home we have a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings but in the evening we enjoy magnificent seafood plus cold cuts leftover from the midday meal shared with friends. Christmas dinner however could just as easily be a barbie (bbq) on the beach or in the back yard with the obligatory game of cricket. Christmas attire, depending on the actual temperature on the day, would likely be shorts, thongs and hats. For the uninitiated thongs are footwear not floss for your butt. (Don't even get me started on what a fanny is. )

Christmas Eve is for watching carols by candlelight on the tv (I'm a Melbourne girl) and Boxing Day is the test match at the G (MCG).

Our kids are like all others. Littlies wake us at stupid o'clock to see what Santa brought while my two (19 & 23) have to be woken at 10am so their father can finally open his gifts. By this time the turkey is roasting in the webber (kettle bbq) the vegies have all been prepped, the pork is ready for the oven and the ham is magnificence on a plate.

Here in Oz we are a strange mix of old and new, tradition and innovation. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'd love to hear about your traditions my SI family (for those who might remember me and those I haven't "met").


[This message edited by trying to smile at 10:51 PM, November 30th (Saturday)]

Deeply Scared posted 12/1/2013 07:47 AM

It's so good to see you again

jrc1963 posted 12/1/2013 09:44 AM

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing your traditions... I love learning what other people do.

As I'm Jewish in a Jewish house, we don't have any Christmas traditions.... But we do celebrate Hanukkah.

We have Latkes w/ sour cream and applesauce and Jelly Donuts on the first night. We exchange a few meaningful gifts... not every night... not always on the first night. This year we spread them out a bit.

We light the candles at sundown each night and wish each other a Happy Hanukkah.

Very simple, Very quiet.

And then I sit back and watch everyone who celebrates Christmas go crazy with menu planning, decorating and gift buying...

[This message edited by jrc1963 at 9:44 AM, December 1st (Sunday)]

unfound posted 12/1/2013 10:05 AM

Hello my friend!

From our own OZ, on the other side of the world...

We'll start decorating soon as well. Depending on the weather, since in the midwest you never know if you'll wake up to snow or ice or frigid temps, we'll string lights on the house. Our own tradition is to make paper snowflakes that will be hung through out the house. Anyone who comes over from now until Christmas will make one, and hang it. We keep all of them and hang them every year.

Christmas Eve brings on the last minute hustle of wrapping, sneaking down presents under the tree (even though our kids are older, we still keep the tradition). On Christmas morning we'll open presents, eat a big breakfast, and begin preparing for dinner.

The evening meal is at MIL's, where we spend time with family, and eat again .

Your shorts are our heavy coats. Your shrimps are our little smokies. Your beach is our shoveled driveways. Your cricket is our (American) football.

I'd love to spend a Christmas "down there" . Bonus: Santa visits you first!

Love you girly

SBB posted 12/1/2013 10:17 AM

My 3 year old has been singing 'Christmas in Straya' in a broad Aussie accent for weeks now (thank you, daycare):

caregiver9000 posted 12/1/2013 10:47 AM

Since DS12 has "trip to Australia" on his bucket list, maybe I can swing it one Christmas!! wouldn't that be fun....

good to see you again tts!

devasted30 posted 12/1/2013 11:34 AM

Christmas in Canada. Why, we are so close to the North Pole, Santa drops by during the year just to check up on us. He loves milk and cookies all year round. We start getting snow in November but some years not until January. As soon as Halloween is over, we start decorating for the Christmas holidays. Our Thanksgiving is usually the 2nd Monday in October so by December 25th, we are ready for turkey again. Being Canadian, we have a lot of British Traditions too. And don't forget, we are a bilingual nation so we have many French traditions as well. On Christmas Eve, we eat Tourtiere Pie (meat pie made with ground meats and mashed potatoes)and attend church at either the 7pm service or the 11pm service. Just depends on whether you want to be around the children. Christmas morning brings a new tradition around here - Bacon Buns. I once worked for a family that had a Latvian MIL and she taught me how to make them and they've been a staple Christmas morning ever since. Dinner is turkey, stuffing (made with Summer Savory), mashed potatoes, turnip, creamed onions, brussel sprouts, sweet potato casserole (a salute to the best neighbours in the world - the good old USA) and we always leave room for dessert. At our house, Plum Pudding and Trifle. Presents are opened in the morning at our house, but sometimes if someone is really anxious, we allow one on Christmas Eve. Family gets together (weather permitting) and we all go to bed stuffed to the gills and swear never to eat that much again but................
Boxing Day (Dec 26) is the day we fight the crowds in the malls to get all the wrapping paper, cards and decorations for next year as well as cash in on some incredible buys for electronics etc.
But, the best time is the time we spend with our families. All is calm, all is bright for that one day when peace and joy runs throughout.
Don't we wish everyday could be like Christmas!!!

trying to smile posted 12/2/2013 02:23 AM

Hi DS.

Happy Hanukkah jrc. We have a Jewish doctor at the clinic where I work so I'm a little aware of the Jewish holidays. Have to admit, there seem to be a lot of them.

G'day unfound. Just let me know when and I'll set extra seats at the Christmas table. and yes Santa gets here first.

SBB love it.

caregiver, Christmas is a great time to visit Down Under as long as you guys like it hot.

devastated, your Christmas sounds like a wonderful magic mix of traditions too. I love Boxing Day. I usually get a new book for Christmas and I happily stretch out on the couch inside or the banana lounge outside and read and recover. Bliss.

jo2love posted 12/2/2013 09:35 AM

Every year I give myself a Disney calendar as a present. I upload pics of my family from the prior 12mos to the Disney Photobook site.
We go to my parents' home on Christmas eve and other family on Christmas day.

thebighurt posted 12/2/2013 09:48 AM

I am a most fortunate person to have actually spent a'Christmas in Straya'!! It was a wonderful experience.

I remember the first time heading into the 'shops' (mall) from a bright, sunny and hot day to the vision of decorated trees, wreaths, garlands and all the other 'normal' decorations of the season. What a shock to the system of someone used to 'rugging up' and wading through the snow to go there! I actually felt a bit disoriented for a few seconds!!

It was a lot of fun to watch the 'littles' and see the differences they experience. They didn't seem so wrapped up in the commercialism as American kids. And they really enjoyed just going around to see the lighting displays in the area. BTW, this year's Guiness record holding home decorators are in Australia. Over a million lights! Poor Santa, though, still dressed in that suit in the heat, even if it may be made from lighter fabric!

Having Americans there, we did a combination of traditions. It was fun for both sides to see the things others do and eat. And it was different to go to the houses of friends, neighbors, and family *not* rugged up! It was a beautiful day, not too hot for our meal on the covered patio. A fun time for the large group of 'family' that came.

TrulyReconciled posted 12/2/2013 09:50 AM

Ah ... Christmas in Oz ...

Jrazz posted 12/2/2013 17:53 PM

What a beautiful post, trying to smile!

I loved picturing everything as I read through your well-worded account. ("Stupid o'clock"!! Ha!! )

trying to smile posted 12/3/2013 02:57 AM

Jo2, I love your calendar idea.

Glad you enjoyed your Aussie Christmas thebighurt. Trips to the shops to see Santa sitting in his airconditioned grotto are a must for the kids. Our big department store (Myer) in Melbourne is famous for it's Christmas windows, which are decorated to represent a story each Christmas, attract thousands. Driving around the neighbourhood is also a must on a warm summer evening to "see the lights".
One year we cruised around in my BIL's hot rod convertible and it was truly magic.

Can always count on you TR


ninebark posted 12/3/2013 07:12 AM

devasted30 - I was happy to see your little nod to us Acadians with Tortier. :)

Our Chritmas always seems to involve seafodd. But when you live in a costal city that was bound to happen. We have a big feed of lobster and Scallops (My BIL works on the electronics on the fishing boats in Digby so he gets lots of fresh caught goodies). Which means lots of left over lobster sandwiches and lobster scrambled

Our old tradition was to open our house to friends and neighbours, and play cards and cronkinal. We always had a ton of neighbours come over to visit, we would light a fire in the fireplace and drink
Since dad passed away and mom moved, we are all going to my sisters house this year where I get the honor of cooking the christmas feast.

Mom will no doubt wake everyone was 6 am with her favorite Andy Williams christmas record (yes record).

We haven't had any snow yet this year ( I am not too upset about that). But usually up in this area of the world we are pretty white over christmas and I used to love to go cross country skiing on boxing day (after I went shopping of

TrulyReconciled posted 12/3/2013 10:31 AM

Can always count on you TR

That's me - Mr. Predictable

lynnm1947 posted 12/3/2013 10:48 AM

And sometimes, Mr. Peccable.

TrulyReconciled posted 12/3/2013 11:44 AM

"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints ..."

<eta - The sinners are much more fun>

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 12:50 PM, December 3rd (Tuesday)]

trying to smile posted 12/3/2013 13:24 PM

Thank you our very own TRbillyjoel.

omg lobster scrambled eggs. YUM!!!

lynnm1947 posted 12/3/2013 15:14 PM

Only the good.......

And lobster scrambled eggs are amazing!

[This message edited by lynnm1947 at 3:15 PM, December 3rd (Tuesday)]

BrokenRoad posted 12/3/2013 16:58 PM


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