Having grown up with white Christmases in Canada, I wasn’t been feeling Christmas spirit here in Australia. But my first Christmas in Australia turned out pretty well!
This post was originally published in 2009. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Turns out I like warm Christmases!
After sitting down to a 21-person Aussie Christmas lunch (you should have seen the size of that table!) at Vern & Wendy & Clarissa’s home (who you may remember from our Warrumbungle adventures, we ventured onto the veranda to digest and enjoy the scenery.
When Australia hits the height of the dry summer season, everything turns a shade of brown. It is not a dirty or decrepit brown; rather just various shades of brown and sepia seem to tone everything – the grass, the shrubbery, and even the trees. And as the warm weather is finally approaching, the sepia-coloured shades are being donned. Although one Australian I know claims that Aussie summers have not grown on her (to her they seem dull and lifeless), I believe it has a beauty all its own.
After digesting our lunch, we embarked on a Christmas in Australia tradition: Christmas Cricket! Being the first game of cricket Kelly and I have ever played, you can imagine that we needed a little coaching. “Hold the bat more like a golf club, not a baseball bat, for heaven’s sake!” was a mantra heard more than once. But since this was an informal game, we simply enjoyed being at the small town centre oval and working off some Christmas calories.
The following day, we ventured to another friend’s home in Melbourne and enjoyed yet another day outside, basking in the scenery, the warm temperature (a beautiful dry 34 degrees), good company, and Christmas leftovers.
A white Christmas, by comparison, is quite different. The charm of a white snowy cold Christmas day is the ability to sit inside, warm and toasty by the fire, enjoying hot mulled apple cider and heart-warming foods and company. White Christmases are cozy.
But once Christmas day has passed, you are back in the world of being miserable in the dark dirty cold snow. Driving is dangerous and going outside is an ordeal requiring multiple layers of clothing and the general act of bracing for the brisk wind that, in some places in Canada, will freeze exposed skin within minutes.
Here in Australia, Christmas is part of a six-week summer holiday for school kids. The weather is beautiful and hot, and you get into the season spirit by sitting outside in the backyard, going for walks, and enjoying the congregation of family and friends (that for some people happens only a few times a year) in the beautiful outdoors.
Last year, Christmas in Hawaii was considerably different, and we were hard-pressed to embrace the Christmas spirit at all, for our remote location and removal from anything and everything that could remind us that Santa might drop by.
But this year, despite our geographical distance from family and friends having a white Christmas in Canada, we embraced a new kind of Christmas: a brown one.
A brown Christmas in Australia is the kind of Christmas I could get used to.