I’ve really struggled getting into the Christmas spirit here in Oz, because the idea of having Christmas in summer is so foreign to me. It’s not just the warm weather, it’s the lengthening days and the summer holiday plans that make me feel less than festive. Aside from the religious reasons for celebrating Christmas, in the northern hemisphere Christmas is also a way to brighten the darkest days of winter, which is really why we celebrate it near the winter solstice (it stems from winter solstice celebrations in many different cultures). Here, after December 21, the days will be getting darker, not lighter, and our days are the longest of the year, making the lights and festivities feel a little less necessary.
|Oh Christmas tree, how fake and plastic are thy branches.|
We haven’t been able to do some of our traditional Christmas activities here – namely, watching Christmas movies and shows, because I had them all on videotape and got rid of them with our VCR, but haven’t replaced them with DVDs yet. (We also don’t have t.v., but that’s another story). However, we did bring out the Christmas decorations, which did help a little. Our tree is one that Mom gave me my first year of college. I set it up in the common area of our dorm and all of a sudden Christmas had arrived. Almost 15 years later, the tree is a bit worse for the wear, but it still makes me feel like Christmas is a lot closer.
So we’re learning about Christmas, the Aussie way. My church threw a Christmas party, which was a lot of fun. We opened “bon bons” or “crackers”, which are these cardboard poppers that you pull apart with a friend. They open with a pop, and whoever gets the big part gets the toy inside, and has to wear the goofy hat and read the horrible joke enclosed (sample: What do ghosts eat for dinner? Spookghetti). For dinner we had lamb, kangaroo shish kebabs, roasted potatoes, salads, curry and a Christmas pudding for dessert. The pudding took 9 hours to make and was nothing like American pudding. It was more like bread pudding – lots of dried fruits put together with bread and eggs into a cake-like concoction. We poured custard, a runny version of the stuff inside Boston Cream doughnuts over it. It was tasty but not worth 9 hours of cooking, in my opinion. I think that’s why Americans stick to pie. Anyway, the party was lots of fun and I ended up stuffed, just like an American Christmas.
We probably won’t do much for Christmas Day this year, as I have to work. So this may be my only Christmas post. If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a happy one. For all of my readers, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season, and for those of you in the northern hemisphere, that you enjoy the returning of the light.