Another of my favourite bloggers, Bianca from Goodnight Little Spoon, kindly agreed to write a guest post on how they spend Christmas down under! Thanks Bianca!
^ Christmas eve 1993, wanting to ferociously tear open those presents.
Lovely Laura asked me to share a little about what an Australian Christmas is like and although I'm not the most Christmassy person on earth I couldn't help myself.
It's probably not hard to imagine that some of the things that immediately spring to mind about Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere are definitely the food and the heat - this time of year is hellishly hot where I'm from and I've endured many a 40°C+ (104°F) degree Christmas day, so a Christmas day beach sojourn is highly advised. Any variety of weather is to be expected (including torrential rain) except a 'White Christmas'. Of course, the exception to this rule is one bizarre Christmas I experienced in 2006 wherein a Summer snow storm flew through nearby and a drizzly, freezing Christmas was had - Australian weather? A very mixed bag. Typically though, the only thing icy about an Australian Christmas is hopefully whatever I'm putting in my drink.
^ What would a Christmas post be without an embarrassing blast from the past photograph? Who makes a dress for a child that only buttons so far down?!
I don't think there's a typical formula for an Australian Christmas and everyone does it a bit differently. Christmas for me has always meant a summery lunch time feast shared with family, often outdoors and with some fun gift giving - it doesn't necessarily involve typical Christmas imagery, depictions of Santa or anything religious but it always involves excellent food and family. Childhood Christmases often involved a wander around the town/suburb to observe everyone's Christmas lights, Christmas pool parties, ugly Christmas decorations made out of dry macaroni, glue and paint on the last day of school for the year and my Nana trying to make me put out food and alcoholic beverages for Santa before I went to bed on Christmas Eve (I can only ever remember my mum referring to Santa as a fictional character so I didn't understand why Nana was trying to trick me). And one year I dressed up as 'Mrs Santa' to amuse my niece.
If you're in the Northern Hemisphere I'm sure it sounds odd associating Christmas Day with beer, barbecues, backyards, thongs (as in the shoes) and the likelihood of sunburn, but I have seldom experienced it any other way. I find the idea of a 'White Christmas' absolutely fascinating and I'd love to experience one - wanna swap one year? :)
My ideal Christmas feast;
Prawns, oysters, fish, salads, cold baked vegetables, my Nana's asparagus dip & cob bread, potato bake, crusty bread rolls, fresh seasonal fruit, wine, rum balls, pavlova, trifle and my Nana's Christmas pudding.
^ This was my Christmas pavlova from last year. My mum tends to celebrate Christmas in mid January (when everyone is freed up from other Christmas obligations) and typically each family member is allocated a dish - pavlova is mine though sometimes I am on trifle duty. Pavlova is my favourite desert ever - have you ever had some? I hope so!
My boyfriend and I aren't super Christmassy people, especially when it's just the two of us on the day, but if I wasn't 1000kms away from my family this year I'd really like to be spending the day with them. Since I left home I've never had a Christmas tree and I thought I'd try something out this year - there is little spare floor space in our little house but I found a subtle Christmas tree solution. I present to you, the button tree;
Made with a big bag of red buttons and a few strips of blu-tack. She's a little wonky (but aren't all Christmas trees?). Our cat Mesca happily(?) posed for a photo under it as I 'put up the tree' last night. I am looking forward to putting some gifts underneath it soon and I'm thinking that when Christmas has passed I might rearrange the buttons into something else. I like this appropriated Christmas tree because it's understated, I don't have to spend a lot of money or take up too much space but I can still feel slightly festive, ha.
I felt like a good way to sum up my feelings about Christmas (and Australian Christmases specifically) is this very lovely (and comedic) song by Tim Minchin (coincidentally taken from the show I attended in Sydney last year!) called 'White Wine In The Sun' - a secular Christmas anthem of sorts;
I hope regardless of what side of the equator you're on, the weather, the food or the gifts, that this Christmas is one that makes you feel good.
Ps. I used the word 'Christmas' in this post 37 times :P