Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....Summer?

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.


Anonymous said...

A lot of Florida transplants feel the same way. I used to hear comments like "a palm tree with lights just doesn't get it." Now I see palm trunks wrapped in lights next to a traditional shaped tree. The thing I have difficulty with is the blow up lawn/roof ornaments. Somehow, it just doesn't hit me. And those seem to be ubiquitous.

I have to admit that a 70 degree day, blue skies and sunshine is a big gift for me! I HATE bundling up and feeling like Randy ;)

After a time (varies with the individual) the adjustment seems to have just happened without noticing the change.

Don't the days begin to shorten in Oz with the advent of summer? Anyway, the difference each day is pretty unremarkable until one day you realize that it's getting dark much later. Here the getting dark seems to be more noticable than the getting light.

Certainly didn't anticipate that Christmas tree becoming an heirloom when I bought it for your dorm room but glad to hear that it's providing a bit of Christmas cheer.

Hope you find some time to enjoy the day, even if you are working.
Happy day to all the Fodes - including Fievel.


Anonymous said...

Well, if the frozen north is what you desire for Christmas, Virginia would be your cup of tea this time around. Will set record cold for the month I bet, since it has been cold every day right from the start. Good chance for a White Christmas this time too, that'll be two years in a row.

You are right, I always think the 25th is about right for the ancients to be able to tell the day is actually longer [in this hemisphere].

Uncle Carl

L said...

Uncle Carl, hope your Christmas wasn't too snowy.

Mom, they don't do nearly as much with the lights here. It was interesting to ride by the beach on Christmas Day and see all the families out there. Different traditions, I guess.