It’s approaching the festive season and I’m in denial already. Because I’m one of those annoying Poms who, despite the beautiful weather, beaches, party atmosphere and Australian attitude to taking a decent break from work (like all of January–really?!) whinges (of course) that it just isn’t Christmassy enough here! Apologies in advance, but here I go…
To me, Christmas is sitting by a roaring open fire at my dad’s house in the country in England, roasting chestnuts, cracking walnuts, drinking mulled wine, watching twinkling lights on the Christmas tree in a cosily darkened (it’s grey from about lunchtime in December in the UK) room. It’s catching up with old friends who are also home at their parents’ for Christmas, it’s arguing with my little (29 year-old) sister like teenagers when we get on each other’s nerves after a few days cooped up inside hiding from the cold. It’s roast turkey and “dad’s world famous roast potatoes” and eating Quality Street chocolates until I feel sick. It’s midnight mass at the village church, singing carols after a few drinks at the local, thatched roof pub down the road. It’s family and spending time with my best friend who might as well be my second sister.
A couple of years ago I went to carols by candlelight at Balmoral Beach in Sydney. This would be a great idea to really get into the festive spirit despite it being stupidly hot, I thought. After a couple of carols I found myself, out of nowhere, crying. Tears rolling down my cheeks, missing my dad and my sister, wanting to be going home for Christmas. Embarrassing!
Last year, after much planning, I surprised my family at Christmas. I rocked up on Dad’s doorstep the night before Christmas Eve. You should have seen the look on his face. Of course there were tears, and a lot of swearing in disbelief from my sister. It was brilliant, the sort of thing you can only pull off once. I had all my Christmas traditions, saw all my friends, soaked it all up. and of course it wasn’t perfect and there were the usual family arguments and it was really really cold (although everyone insisted on telling me how “mild” it was for that time of year!).
Christmas is the only time of the year I really get homesick. I love Australia. I really do. I was delighted to be granted permanent residency this year, I’m engaged to one of your finest young men and I have every intention of one day taking citizenship and living here forever, but at Christmas, I really miss home. I think one day, when I have my own family, we’ll make our own, new Christmas traditions. Until then, it will always be a little bit sad for me.
How’s Christmas for you?
Off-topic Tuesday is a new weekly post about something absolutely nothing to do with interiors. I hope you like it!
Laura - Elsee Blog says
When we are not swimming in my parents pool we are wearing the cotton pajamas that Santa got us all day. If it’s too sunny, dad puts a cabana over the pool for some shade so we can stay in longer. Gorge ourselves on festively coloured great Australian produce, red cherries and green grapes. Put a couple of salads together to have with a roast and prawns! Enjoy a late lunch around a tacky decorated makeshift table seating 20 or so. If we get peckish there’s always our chocolate cadbury stocking to snack on. Dinner is normally forgotten and we keep pouring well chilled white wine or champagne to quench or thirst and beat the heat!
Love it Laura, thanks for sharing! Cherries and mangoes are definitely an Aussie Christmas thing I LOVE!
It’s being cold, eating too much and moaning about the cold. Don’t be sad, have a lovely time with Damo this year and I will send you regular, bitching weather updates. Love you xxxx
Thanks Rach! xx
Growing up one foot in Uk and one foot in Australia, agree there’s nothing better than a cold Xmas. Prawns on the barbie are fine but you cant beat mulled wine, Stilton & port, hot Xmas dinner with all the trimmings & competing for the worst Bon Bon joke.. Love & miss the xmas lights & shoulder to shoulder chaos on Oxford St & Regent St, One year Hamleys were making snow fall from the top of their building. I walked out of the store thinking it was snowing & feeling excitement of Xmas like I was a child again.
On the other hand … one hot summer July day, with holidays approaching, weekend crammed with back to back BBQs & everyone in a cheery mood, I felt a need to play my favourite Xmas songs!
As a Canuckian living here in Australia for the past almost-five years, granted permanent residency last year, I gotta say I do not miss the cold and the snow one iota, even at Christmas. I totally embrace the summary Christmas. Bring on the heat and the beach I say. On the materialistic, retail-oriented, commercial side of things, though Aussies may feel Christmas has only gotten crazier over the years, to me Christmas is quieter here, and I like it that way.
Stephanie Anderson says
Oooh I have tears rolling down my cheeks. Also being from the uk and living here now for 7 years, your memories of Christmas ring so true!!!! Last night in hot and humid Brisbane we put up our tree, drank mulled wine, watched Love Actually and cranked up the air con…. Pretending we were cold 😉 Christmas here will never ever live up to being home with my family cosied up in our living room watching for snow flakes, eating mum’s best mince pies and tuning in for the best of the BBC. But how good is life down under for the rest of the year!! Thanks for sharing x
Oh bless! And yes, it is BRILLIANT the other 360ish days of the year!