Family Christmas Traditions in Australia
Christmas in Australia for me is influenced by my English childhood and various traditions that were common to the country and my family. Today we have a guest article by an Australian writer, someone who was born and bred here, and has lived here all her life. Thank you for writing this for us, Judith.
Here in Australia, Christmas arrives in the first month of summer. There’s no falling snow, log fires or running outside to make a snowman or two. We can usually plan on a warm summer’s day filled with good company, a roast turkey or cold buffet of ham, chicken and salad with all the trimmings.
Before the great day, with our weather lending itself to outside concerts, we gather to sing, sometimes off-key, a variety of Christmas Carols. This is when Christmas begins for me.
In my family, on Christmas Day, we telephone each other in the morning and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, (a tradition started by our wonderful parents). I like to call some close friends too and wish them a happy day.
Christmas Day has changed a lot in our family since our parents passed away and our eldest brother, who now lives in Hong Kong, celebrates with his family overseas. We used to be a much larger group, with much more noise and a host of young children. Now all the children have grown up and my brothers and I are the eldest in the family.
By mid morning, we load up the car with gifts and food and drive to my brother’s house. In the last few years, before anything else, we ‘Skype’ my eldest brother and his family in Hong Kong, wish them a Merry Christmas and bemoan the fact that they are so far away.
The chaos of opening presents under the Christmas Tree is next with some of us sitting on the floor, dogs walking over everything trying to work out what the heck we are doing, wrapping paper flying all round and one of us making a Christmas toast. (Gotta love that tradition).
My sister-in-law and brother provide a wonderful lunch. The Christmas table strains under the wealth of food, Christmas crackers, decorations and special china. We all over-indulge. (Let’s face it, Christmas comes but once a year, and we mean to celebrate it!).
In years gone by, after lunch, some would enjoy a game of cricket, some decide to walk off the Christmas lunch, while others were inclined to partake in the ‘nanna nap’ afternoon snooze. The latter is my favourite choice.
In the evening, we visit the rest of the family for a less formal Christmas meal. Before the food, more presents for everyone and more happy faces and Christmas cheer.
By this time, dinner is over, we are all taking an oath that we will never eat again!
Boxing Day is quiet with some of my family travelling to the ocean for a well deserved break.
For me, with the only sound coming from children outside riding their new bikes, Boxing Day is a day of rest. A day when I can have a ‘quiet one’ . All too soon however, I realize it’s all going to happen again in 12 months time!
Merry Christmas Everyone!