A little account of Christmas in our place

Too right, time seems to be going bye faster then ever. It feels as though it was only the other day that we were cleaning up the barbie, trimming up the bushes around the house and generally sprucing up everything to look good for the rellos on Christmas Day… last year!

Fair call, where has time gone. We get so busy with the cares of daily living that hours turn into days, days into weeks… suddenly we go from summer into fall in the blink of an eye, then it's winter…

In Australia we don't really have the kind of coolness that could be compared to any decent winter around the world, like those in North America or Europe, and large parts of Asia. Take 2009 as an example: winter felt like autumn, for a bit… then spring for most of it. Another thing is for sure, there will not be a white Christmas anywhere within a couple thousand miles of us.

Come September the place felt pretty much like summer and next thing you know, real summertime is here (by the way, it feels like spring) and with it, Christmas. It being Australia, chances are we are going to have a nice and warm day, so seafood will be the food of choice for most, even though many would still be sticking with traditions brought from lands afar, and having their turkey and all the greasy goodies associated with the season. Nothing wrong with that and who doesn't like a roast turkey and the obligatory plum pudding.

Naturally, there will be plenty of the amber fluid to quench people's thirst, and the stock would have been built about a month or so prior. Not cool to be short of beer when family and friends are coming, and it is even better to remember personal preferences. It works a treat.

A very nice tradition amongst us is to get random cards from the wishing trees placed in shopping malls and outside of supermarkets and get presents for people that would otherwise miss out on a little cheer at this great time. They ask for little things like a book, or some chocolate, a pair of pyjamas. It feels good to get all that together and ready to deliver. So it is that we have written a few cards to anonymous people, got the gifts they wished for, now it's time to deliver them to the charities who will take them to their final destination, come the right time.

Meanwhile, we've agreed amongst ourselves to host the relatives around here for lunch on Christmas Day. Even though our family is relatively small, in the lead up to the big day there will be a frenzy of activity:

  • Apart from said sprucing up of the garden, there might be the odd lick of paint around the picket fence or a door or two on the house;
  • Decorating the home for the season: it is our custom to put up the tree and trimmings around the 1st of December. They will be up till 6th of January. As well, we will be dragging out gifts given to us the previous year, like vases or picture frames, and placing them where they would not be missed on the day. Just to be nice, as tradition demands.
  • Ticking off the names of the people coming and making sure they all have a nice present to take home on the day (our tradition is to open everything on Boxing Day, Jan 26).
  • About 2 days before Christmas, it's on for young and old: queuing up at the Sydney Fish Markets, for fresh seafood: popular amongst us are prawns, crayfish, lobster, salmon and various other types of fishes, and oysters too. All will really cost their weight in gold, as befits the season. Good luck to the fishmongers out there. No worries.

Come the big day, we will get up early get ready for church. It is one day of the year when it would not be admissible in our family to miss the service. One of the most beautiful things in my memory is the wonderful singing in the church, and the warm enthusiasm with which it is delivered by all present. Once the service is completed and the customary greetings to every one of our friends from church is achieved, it is time to head back home to prepare for the arrival of the relatives. It is one of those things, it if it's available to you, you should not miss it for the world. I can assure you that these are the things one remembers for ever and will really never outgrow. You don't need to believe in Santa Claus to love this time of the year. To me, it reminds us that we care for each other and love being around, after all. If I look really hard in my memory bank, I can remember every single Christmas I've lived through to this point in time.

About midday we will fire up the barbie, getting it nice and ready to be cooked on later. Relatives would stream in soon after, and by about 1.30 we will be cooking. Seafood is very easy to cook, so lunch will be served by about 2 pm. There will also be plenty of salads, which is the best thing to have in our weather, especially accompanying seafood.

Later in the afternoon, the more adventurous amongst us will take a dip in the pool; the others will be catching up on news and what happened to each other during the year. And having a beer or two, or a nice glass of red, after all what is Christmas for, if not for celebrating. A great time will be had buy all and we will be once more be reconnected. For the only time family seem to get together these days is at Christmas or something like Chinese New Year, for the fun of it. Not forgetting Easter, of course, our other very big day, family wise. That would be the subject of another post at the appropriate time.

Merry Christmas to all.