While talking to my ex boyfriend earlier this week, who lives in Australia, we got on to discussing Christmas and how he will be spending this Christmas day working… “Because it’s just another day AJ”, he retorted to my gasps of horror and pity!
Having spent last Christmas in Australia, I am well aware of the stark differences between how we Northern Hemisphere vitamin D deprived Poms celebrate Christmas, and how the buff tanned Southern Hemisphere Possums celebrate theirs. He pointed out that last Christmas was theeee most festive Christmas he had ever had…due to my insistence on a week long run up to Christmas entitled ‘Christmas Crafts Week’, where we made our own cards, wrapping paper, decorations, minced pies, truffles and hampers. We covered the walls with hand made crepe paper holly and bunting, watched re runs of Christmas with the Kranks, religiously snaffled our daily advent calendar treat, and put our stockings at the foot of our bed on Christmas eve…. (Gosh he is a agreeable man!) … All were very standard happenings for me, but for this dear Aussie blighter, something quite out of the ordinary!
This got me thinking just why and how has it come to be that we celebrate in such different ways, and how can Christmas and all its quirky traditions mean quite so much to me…
I found myself getting rather protective and defensive of Christmas last year. My upset that buying a Christmas tree was a chore and not at all a festive necessity, and when they were bought, they were measly little shrubs which cost more than a weeks rent. I felt defensive that the joy and glee I felt never quite seemed to be reciprocated. Tinsel upon a backdrop of bright blue skies and 40 degree heat was an unnerving combination to me! But nevertheless an Aussie Christmas it was and that in itself, was something really rather special, barbied shrimp n’all!
Christmas to us frosty nosed Northern Hemispherearians (have I just made up a new word?!) is, I know, something that gets us through these bleak winter months. Imagine if we didn’t have Christmas, what would our focus be? What would be our reasoning for wearing anything other than thermals and bed socks 24/7, or for leaving the house to seek out the mistletoe? Thank the ruddy lord, (quite literally!!) for Christmas. It would certainly be the bleak mid winter without it.
Christmas to the Southern Hemisphere Hunks however, falls smack bang in the middle of their summer. WHY ON EARTH would they drag it out for longer than need be? Why oh why would they waste vital sunbathing, surfing, shark spotting time, to deck the halls and make minced pies, while looking fondly at pictures of snow capped cottages and a rotund Father Christmas rugged up in ill fitting coca cola red, fur trimmed swaddling?!
So the contrast between tradition and evocative feelings towards the festive season makes absolute sense to me. But even so, there was something about last Christmas that just didn’t feel right… I was far too warm!
I love Australia, I always will… BUT, would I swap their summer yuletide for freezing my chebbs off while literally deliberating whether dipping my toes into the naked flame of my parents open fire would, really be as painful as the current sufferings of what feels like the onset of frostbite?…. The answer is, and will forever be, No!
It must be said that this year, after staving off the festive vibe for as long as possible (primarily due to my denial that this would mean I have spent more of 2012 in the UK, than in Australia), I have now thankfully embraced Christmas with as much fervent vigour, if not more, as all of those years before.
Between sips of amaretto spiked mulled wine, my spare time at the moment is spent donning my snow boots and foraging for Christmas craft materials with which to make fresh Christmas wreaths, each wreath crafted with as much joy and pleasure as the last. Whether I’m simply making up for lost time and quashing my Post Traumatic Aussie Christmas Stress, or whether I’m just appreciating a time of year which, I already knew held so much gravitas in the enjoyment stakes for me… who knows…who cares! I am charmed by Christmas, I always have been and I always will be, and this year Bo Boutique and I are embracing it for all of its ice cold merry goodness. So watch out!
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