Hello Blog Buddies!
Can you believe another Christmas is upon us?
As we all plan Christmas feasts and brave the Christmas crowds at shopping centres, I find myself pausing to think about our family Christmas traditions and how we celebrate the season in the southern Hemisphere...
Having spent several Christmas Days in the cold and snow in both England and the United States, I know that many of my Northern Hemisphere friends can simply not comprehend how Christmas would feel like Christmas in Australia. Let me share some of my family traditions, and assure you that, it does indeed, feel festive here...
My parents emigrated from England to live in Australia in the early sixties, so as a child, I remember British customs and traditions were a staple in our home. Things such as oranges in the toe of your stocking, a tin of 'Quality Street' chocolates that seemed to last forever,
The Kings College Cambridge Choir was the only 'real' Christmas music (according to my mother,) and whether it was one hundred degrees in the shade, by jove,
we would have a hot roast turkey dinner,
(even if it meant we were all sweaty puddles by the end of it!)
I grew up with images of snow and 'the cold' on Christmas cards and television shows. This was promoted as being the only way to 'have' Christmas but I am sure my Southern Hemisphere friends will agree that a 'warm' Christmas can be loads of fun too.
In my home, we had our stockings from Santa that were placed at the end of our beds and in addition to the oranges, would always contain chocolate gold coins and a chocolate Santa.
Santa would also bring us presents such as books, stationery and games. We could open these presents as soon as we woke up, but the presents under the tree could not be opened until we had all eaten breakfast and the dishes had been done.
(Which, as a child, seemed like an eternity!)
When it comes to festive food, there are some things I simply can not do without if I want to really feel like it is Christmas. Every year, in December, my mother and I would make several 'batches' of shortbread to wrap and give as gifts to family and friends. My mother would also always make the Christmas cake and the pudding for Christmas Day.
Marrying into another family means adopting their traditions as well. My husband's family always have prawns on Christmas day, so this is now something we do. A close family friend always bakes her traditional German 'Stollen' which she always generously gifts us, and this too, makes my Christmas complete.
(Source: Australian Women's Day Magazine - The Queen's First Christmas Message 1957)
After the traditional hot lunch with all the usual trimmings, we would play silly games and always watch the 'Queen's Christmas Message'. If we watched one movie over the festive season,
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' would be the one I would make sure I watched... I always make sure I show it to my students every year as well. When my daughter was young, we would watch it every year on Christmas Day.
An Australian Christmas is very different to the one our Northern Hemisphere friends enjoy. I love seeing the beautiful cosy photographs of wintery decor on my instagram feed, but having grown up in a beautiful country where I can go for a swim in a pool on Christmas Day, I can honestly say it still feels like Christmas here too.
What are your family traditions at Christmas time? Which ones can you simply not do without?