The days (and weeks!) leading up to Christmas were hot and sunny here. It really didn’t feel a bit like Christmas to those of us reared in the northern hemisphere, but we tried our best to get into the spirit. We hung our advent calendar, decorated a Christmas tree and played holiday music on our little portable speaker. Still, the kids laughed every time ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ or ‘Jingle Bells’ played and we had to agree that it did feel a little strange to hear Christmas songs in the heat of summer.
One morning I saw a fun snowflake craft idea on Pinterest and eagerly got out the craft supplies. The kids jested and told me we couldn’t possibly hang up snowflakes in the summer! Normally these days leading up to Christmas would be spent baking Christmas cookies and drinking hot cocoa. I’d make a batch of ‘Kristina Kringle’ and the familiar tastes and smells of Christmas would fill our house with the festive spirit. With swimming and surfing on our minds instead, it became clear that we would have to find new traditions for Christmas in Australia.
With just a few days to go, however, I decided that traditions are traditions! I turned on the oven in our already hot and humid house and baked our favourite sugar cookies. We cut snowmen, Christmas trees and stars in our undies and then frosted them on the outside table, fending off ants that were as keen as we were to eat them!
We spent Christmas Eve with friends, first at an afternoon get-together at Claire and Rich’s house, followed by dinner with the ‘Winnies’ (Dave and Aimee Winchester and their four kids). Dinner was served potluck style and eaten informally on the veranda, plates on laps. What else would you expect from a summertime dinner party? After dinner, Aimee’s dad got out his guitar and played Christmas tunes while all the children sang along. We learned that Australians have a more apropos adaptation of Jingle Bells and finished the big night with sparklers. One thing’s for certain — the excitement of Christmas feels the same whether it’s hot and muggy or cold and snowing. By the end of the evening it was hard for the kids to constrain it but we somehow coaxed each one into the car (by explaining that Santa can only come when they are home asleep).
We woke on Christmas morning to rainy weather, which had the unexpected effect of making it feel ‘Christmassier’ to us! We opened gifts from our stockings while I baked Butterhorns (a family tradition), and we enjoyed a slow and lazy day in pyjamas. At one point in the afternoon I even dozed off on the sofa while the kids played with their gifts. Michael and I both did yoga in the evening before cooking Christmas dinner. We made our traditional Christmas meal – The River Café’s Shrimp spaghetti in a bag (and even felt a bit Australian eating shrimp on Christmas) before we curled up on the sofa together to watch Home Alone.
Above are a few Christmas photos taken with my iPhone (my camera is STILL at the shop being repaired — I’m hoping to get it back this week!). xx