I popped into the mall yesterday and was quite shocked to find a FULL Christmas display up in one of the department stores already – It’s not even October yet!! I don’t know why I’m so surprised really, the Christmas hype seems to get earlier and earlier each year! Anyway it must have worked as it got me thinking about Christmas.
Last year was our first Christmas in Australia and I must admit I found the whole experience a little hard to get my head around. For a start the sun was shining! Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas in the sunshine. I wasn’t really sure what the Aussie traditions were, so I decided that I would stick to what I knew and have a full English Christmas (as best I could). My mum and dad were coming to visit us for the first time so I was beyond excited. I wanted to have everything just right for when they got here.
Firstly the tree!! Where on earth do you buy proper Christmas tree in Australia?? They’re sold in every garden centre and just about every street corner in England – over here, NOTHING (well that I could find anyway)!! We did have a fake tree but the Australian customs and immigrations refused to let us bring it into the country (even though I assured them several times that it really was plastic, they were still having none of it. That went for ALL our decoration too). My new Aussie neighbour told me that I could buy a fake tree in the departments stores or you just chop any old tree from the garden. Well, I wasn’t doing that! – A Christmas tree needs to be a Christmas tree!! (Besides, who knows what creatures might find their way out of the tree and into my bed!!!) So off to the shops I went and bought a fake tree (after almost fainting at the price!!).
I slowly collected a few decorations over the next few weeks from various shops and finally, exactly 12 days before Christmas (can’t break traditions), the kids and I unpacked the tree and stared to decorate it. We had to tune into an English radio station on the Internet to get us into the Christmas spirit as none of the Aussie stations played any Christmas carols at all. Once the tree was decorated we all stood together to switch the lights on and there was a massive BANG followed by a cloud of black smoke!!!! They literally blew up!!! Mr D rushed over to check them before the tree caught fire and he discovered that our UK tree lights (the only Christmas thing we managed to get into the country) were not compatible with Aussie power! I just had to laugh!! The next morning we set off to go and get new lights. You wouldn’t think it would be a difficult task to buy fairy lights at Christmas time but we looked everywhere!! I mean everywhere!! Sold out, sold out, sold out!! Eventually we managed to find the last set of lights in a Christmas warehouse store (which is open all year round ironically – next time I’ll have to remember to buy lights at Easter time). The only problem was that the only set they had left was 50 meters long!! Of course we had to buy them and I’m pretty sure we had the twinkliest tree on the Northern Beaches!
This morning I was taking little Miss L for a walk along the beach pathways and I stopped to take some photos’ of the beautiful spring flowers that are popping up everywhere. As I was doing so, and old man stopped and said to me “Aren’t they spectacular! I do love this time of year, with all the kids out, the sun shining and the red and yellow flags are back on the beaches. It really makes me feel all Christmassy”. I politely smiled and nodded in agreement and he continued on his way (surfboard under his arm).
Ok, so I seriously need to embrace the Aussie Christmas if I’m going to really get festive this year. My idea of Christmas is being wrapped up tight in my warmest coat, gloves and scarf, seeing my breath when talking to someone outside, snow, Christmas songs on the radio, the smell of cinnamon, berries and orange spices, roaring fires, twinkly lights, and warm red wine!! Not quite sun, sea and surf boards!
I absolutely LOVE Christmas time, so if anyone has any suggestion on how to embrace Christmas Aussie style – please do tell.