‘Tis the season…

Frost covered trees in a snow-covered field.

Last December, the weather conditions were very different.

‘Tis the season to be jolly…’ except it isn’t. At least, not to the born and bred European in me. It’s actually high summer, with temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to the high 30s in Celsius, and that’s a problem. You see, for the first time in many Decembers, I just don’t feel Christmassy.

I kept waiting for the yuletide spirit to creep up on me; to wake up one day craving mulled wine, mince pies and an urgent desire to hear that Mariah Carey song, but I never did.

In consequence, I was late in buying and sending Christmas cards. My Christmas gift shopping has been more last minute than long-planned, and the thought of a big, steaming roast turkey leaves me looking longingly at the fresh salad drawer in the fridge.

I have a dear friend here who made the move down under from the UK more than 15 years ago. She assures me that I will acclimatise to summertime Christmases such that, within a few years, I’ll be wishing for a 40-degree Christmas Day along with every other Aussie.

A dog in a snow-covered field.

Mr Pup says this is the weather he’s used to at Christmas.

But, nearly 50 years of conditioning doesn’t wear off in a few weeks so, for now, when I hear people singing ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…’, I have to stop myself from chiming in with an unwritten harmony of ‘No, it’s not.’

It shouldn’t be too hard to suppress my current Scrooge-ness, though. My friend has invited us to join her and her family for Christmas in Melbourne so they can introduce us to a true Aussie Christmas.

And so, despite the absence of snow, robin redbreasts, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Frosty the snowman and all that other stuff, we’ll still be enjoying fun, food and laughter with friends. Maybe they’ll even crank up the air-conditioning so we can enjoy a bit of frosty-breathed shivering?

A dog unwrapping a Christmas present with his teeth.

Still, as long as there are presents to unwrap, everything should be fine.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’ll be a big moment for our family – our first Christmas in Australia; the first of many. And that’s worth raising a glass to.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing this Christmas, thank you for following this blog. I wish you peace and happiness over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

8 thoughts on “‘Tis the season…

  1. Claire says:

    Merry Christmas!

    I remember my first christmas in europe and there were no prawns, no pool, no cricket and the lunch was hot!!!

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  2. I can completely understand with all the Northern Hemisphere traditions and songs it just doesn’t add up to what you will experience here… though in my mind an Aussie Christmas still has a few charms of it’s own – seafood platters… children outside laughing and able to play with their new toys… sipping white wine and bubbles in the sun… Hopefully one day, a few years from now, it will feel a little more Christmassy for you and the family Mark. It will definitely take time. So lovely that you were able to share Christmas with your friends in Melbourne yesterday – hope it was a fun day!

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    • Thanks Margot, it’s been lovely actually — we spent the day at the Boxing Day test and soaked up the sun while the Aussies batted their way to 530. We’re assimilating fast, I reckon. Hope you had a good one too.

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    • Thanks Margot, we had a fabulous time considering we are so far from home and still don’t have many belongings. In fact, it was probably the year we most appreciated the things we have — each other, our friends and a new life ahead of us.

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  3. Hope you had a lovely day and, particularly that you kids enjoyed it. How nice that you had friends to spend it with. Being a tiny nuclear family is fine most of the time but it can make Christmas even more alien if you are used to sharing it with more people. I know from my experience of US Christmases – we either had family visiting from Australia or we made sure to spend it with at least one other (usually equally expat) family. I consequently have happy memories of them. I must say that I liked the Southern Californian ones better than the Northern Virginia/New Jersey ones – they were closer to Australia! It might have been winter there, technically, but it wasn’t very cold … 🙂

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    • I think that, for getting feel for a country, there are few better things than a new year’s eve party. It’s how I fell in love with Denmark, way back in the 1980s. I think it’ll take me a few years to shake the need for coldness in December /January — the other day, I met someone who mocved here in the 1950s and she says she still misses it to this day — that helped me to manage my expectations a little.

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      • Yes, I think Xmas-NY is probably the hardest to forget – it’s probably in our DNA. That said I know an Englishwoman who came here in the 1950s and she loves the warmth so much that I don’t she misses anything much about England. Her two brothers have retired to the south of France and Spain.

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