Christmas is only days away, conjuring up images of cozy family gatherings, wearing Christmas jumpers, log fires and the faint hope that there might just be snow on Christmas Day. How things have changed – 5 years ago we moved from the UK to Australia. This will be our 6th Christmas in Brisbane and I thought you might like to read my expat’s view of Christmas in the land “Down Under”.
I should preface this by saying I can in fact only remember one Christmas when we saw a few flakes of snow fall – but the hope was always there.
For years, on Christmas Eve, we would join the throng of people dressed in thick coats, wooly hats and gloves who packed into one of the beautiful old English churches to sing carols at the midnight service.
On Christmas morning we woke up in our cozy beds with the central heating warming the house.
As children (maybe not so much as adults!) we would excitedly jump out of bed quickly grabbing for a warm dressing gown on the way.
Presents were followed by a massive turkey roast dinner with all the trimmings (quite often followed by a little sleep in front of the TV for some of the older members of the family).
Mulled wine and mince pies also became part of our Christmas traditions, along with generally eating way too much!
Fast forward a few years …
As I write this, the aircon is on full blast and I’m sat here in my shorts as the temperatures outside hit 30 degrees – oh and did I mention it’s almost Christmas Day.
I’m sure most British Expats would agree that it somehow it feels wrong.
I say this with all due respect to Australians who very sensibly celebrate the festive season in style with prawns, seafood banquets, cold hams and the like. It’s just that with a heritage of so many years celebrating the festive season in a cool winter, I have to say this just doesn’t feel like Christmas. There’s no mulled wine (way too hot for that!), no frosty roads, no log fires … need I go on.
Since moving to Brisbane our Christmas Day seems to be radically different.
It now includes Champagne in the hot tub or pool & eating Christmas dinner in my bikini!
(No photos for that part of the day to share with you!!)
When we first arrived we did try to fit in with the local traditions of a BBQ & pavlova on Christmas Day, but for us Brits it just made it feel even less like Christmas.
So call me crazy, but as the temperatures soar you will find me on Christmas Day sweating away cooking a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings and generally wearing my bikini!
However you choose to celebrate I hope it’s a happy occasion.