Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another Christmas in Australia....

So it appears I had quite the Grand Final hangover since I haven't posted anything since Geelong secured their berth in this year's big match. They went on to win the whole thing by the case you were living in a cave for the last few months, or outside of Australia where very few know what Aussie Rules Footy is all about. Sorry about my lack of posts, I'll try and be better in 2010!

Christmas has now officially come and gone at our house and we've survived. Every year, the festive season in Australia seems to get more and more festive. Our calendars begin to fill with holiday gatherings from mid-November until well in to January. It's incredible the amount of things we need to celebrate and the number of people we need to do this celebrating with. That's a lot of champagne folks, and we still haven't reached the finish line. Cheers!

Boxing Day (as the 26th of December is known here in Australia) provided a much needed day of rest from the madness that came before and is due to follow. So yesterday while I was sitting around doing absolutely nothing for the first time since I can't remember when, I started to think about Christmas here and Christmas in the USA (because on Boxing Day in Australia, it is still Christmas in the USA). I realised the following things:

1. Where is the Christmas music in Australia? Seriously. There are Carols by Candlelight across parks, churches and community centers throughout December so I know they like caroling, but there is no Christmas music on the radio. Where is the Christmas music on the radio? Aren't there stations in the USA that play Christmas music solidly for about a week in the lead up to the big event? Am I making this up? Is this revisionist history? This is what I remember. Can someone please set me straight? Also can someone from my Aussie audience (that is if there is still an audience out there somewhere) please explain why there is no Christmas music on the radio because it's just not Christmas until I hear a bit of Wham...Last Christmas I gave you my heart...

2. Andes mints--they were in our Christmas stockings every year when I was a kid. Nothing said Christmas like those little foil wrapped slices of heaven. There are no Andes mints here. I have to say that normally this is not a problem for me, but yesterday, I really missed the Andes mints.

3. As I watched weather reports from all around the world roll in and I saw people stuck at airports and planes sliding off runways and blizzards all over the Northern Hemisphere, I was glad to be having Christmas in the summer. It's taken me nearly 10 years to become used to this custom, but it just makes things so much easier logistically speaking. Travel is easier, catering for large numbers of people is easier because you can entertain outdoors. Summer food is easier--no need to worry about getting all the food into the oven and hot at the same time--we're having salads!! No cooking required. In this respect, I was really pleased to be spending Christmas in Australia this year.

4. Speaking of cooking, we hosted Christmas at our place this year. The Handsome Australian has a rather large family and we did our best to accommodate them in our humble home. Our kind neighbours loaned us a spit to roast meat on in the back garden. This was genius. That meant no cooking in the oven and it also meant the boys were in charge of lunch! The one down side to this was the smoke from said spit wafted into our house for about 12 hours. It's now several days later and our house still smells like a barbecue pit. Ugh, but did I mention we had 30 people over and I, personally, cooked nothing!! So I guess you have to take the good with the bad eh?

5. Christmas gifts aren't as big of a deal amongst my Australian family. It seems each year, we are giving and receiving fewer and fewer gifts--which I have to say, isn't really a bad thing. It seems like the gifts we do give and receive are to and from acquaintances (like the children's teachers and the boy that cuts our lawn) more than friends and family. The best gift I received this year for Christmas, besides the health of my family, was a chocolate croissant from Noisette. Run, don't walk to Port Melbourne and get yourself one, unless you happen to be in France in which case you can probably find something similar at your local patisserie.

6. My children don't love the Boxing Day Test Match (that's Cricket at the MCG y'all) on the TV as much as the Handsome Australian does. There were plenty of tears yesterday as the Handsome one monopolised the television for his love of the game. He hasn't brain washed them on the Cricket yet like he has with the Aussie Rules. Perhaps that should be one of his resolutions for 2010?

Hope you and yours have enjoyed a lovely holiday season right around the world!