As children, we received books from our grandmother whom lived in Australia. We didn’t know much about her, aside from the fact that she sounded funny. Australian christmas books crossed the pacific ocean to surprise us in Canada. There were images of kangaroos on the beach, Santa on a surfboard, wearing surf shorts; all the while exposing his round jolly belly. There were waves and wombats suntanning on the beach. My early 5 year old thoughts were of disbelief. What the heck was going on in Australia?
Surely they get snow down under? Surely!
Let’s now skip ahead 23 years.
This will be my third holiday season living in Australia (technically one of these was in New Zealand).
Christmas in Australia feels very foreign to me. It’s the time of year that I am reminded most of the fact that I am far, far away from the land flannel shirts, egg nog and polar bears.
I’ve gotten used to the fact that our lawn won’t be covered in a blanket of crisp clean snow. Though there are times when the burning hot sand might be mistaken for snow.
Without a doubt we aren’t getting snow this Christmas. The white fluffy stuff wouldn’t last a hot second. It will be 40+ degree’s.
What Western Australia does offer as a consolation are these stunning, flaming orange “Christmas Trees”.
We’ll miss out on turkey crammed to the neck with hot stuffing, and creamy garlic mashed potatoes, slathered in gravy. I’ve not yet managed to see eggnog (if you can find it in a store here let me know!), or thousands of houses covered in colourful lights.
The Australians celebrate by indulging in a cold meal of prawns and crayfish.
Seriously though it is really too hot to have the oven on for 8 hours while all the family sweats together. It makes sense.
Mike hails from New Zealand. He mentioned to me, that while we were living in Canada, he felt that Christmas wasn’t right.
We have polar opposite expectations of what Christmas traditions should be.
My sisters and I used to have snowball fights and build tunnels inside forts in the snow, while mom and dad cooked up a turkey for us. One lucky (or rather unlucky) girl would get to be the captive inside the fort, while the rest of us jumped on top of the dome. Mike looked at me in horror when I told him of our “fun times”.
Mike and his brothers and sister would boogie board at the beach.
Perhaps we can meet in the middle and build a sand igloo’s? Getting a “sand ball” in the face, does not have the same appeal. Out of all the silly little traditions we have over the holidays, I must admit… Snow, I miss you most.
Maybe one day when we’ve got children of our own, my sisters and parents will send us Christmas books from Canada. Books, where Santa’s wearing less sunscreen and more clothes. Where, snow flakes fall on rosy cheeks, and polar bears, reindeer, and egg nog prevail.