Merry Christmas bookworms!! Welcome back to Bookending Winter, where today’s prompt is Christmas Down Under!!
If you want to check out some of the past 24 days of prompts (including yesterday’s post), please click on this link: Link to blog-hopping masterlist. And if you want to sign up (it’s still not too late), you can check this link: Link to Bookending Winter sign-ups.
Bookending Winter: Christmas Down Under
You’re all invited to spend a week in December with me in Australia*! What would you do if you were to celebrate the holiday season (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, whatever takes your fancy) in Australia? Where would you go? What Aussie traditions would you want to take part in? How would you spend your time having a summery end of year?
*If you’re already in the southern hemisphere, feel free to take a trip north and tell us about your plans for a white Christmas!!
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend Christmas in Europe before, and I absolutely adore it. So, I’m going to do a little of both – tell you about how we celebrate Christmas, and then what we would do if we were in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to google, 85% of Australians live 50km from the beach. We almost always spend some time there each summer. My family live slightly further inland (about 130-180km depending on if you go north or south), so we don’t tend to spend Christmas day there. But it’s a definite summer holiday staple!! We did have a pool in the backyard growing up though, so we always went swimming in the weeks leading up to and on Christmas day!!
It’s also not uncommon to get the slip’n’slide out for some fun in the sun, and running around under the sprinkler and splashing your cousins is the best way to wait for lunch!!
Seafood lunch and pavlova
Because it’s usually so hot, we have the traditional English style baked dinner (ham, turkey, beef, veggies), but we also have heaps of seafood. Lots of big tiger prawns, oysters, crab and fish are pretty common, and we also sometimes BBQ them!!
While we sometimes have a traditional plum pudding for dessert, more often than not we have pavlova. If you don’t know what that is, it’s like a meringue cake with cream, berries and summer fruit. If you’re interested, this is a great recipe to try: classic pavlova recipe.
No matter where you are on Christmas Day, it’s usually way too hot for the full Santa outfit, so it’s not uncommon for our Santa to wear board shorts. I would say that Santa on a surfboard is almost traditional, especially on Christmas cards. Santa still has a beard and a hat, but a short-sleeved shirt and maybe some sandals helps keep him cool too.
Decorations and presents
Ever without the snow, we’re still pretty traditional with our decorations. We still have Christmas trees (although lots are plastic), and we decorate with all the usual ornaments and tinsel. We did used to spray “fake snow” on the windows and make snowflakes with paper templates. I do feel sorry for mum and dad who had to clean it off the windows!!
Even though we have always lived in a house with a fireplace we never hung stockings from it. Ours were always in our bedrooms, on the ends of the bed. Santa presents are always fair game as soon as you wake up!! But the big present exchange is usually after lunch (or before if you have little ones who don’t want to wait)!!
One thing I absolutely adored about our European Christmas’ was the abundance of Christmas markets. From 1 December every single town we went to had market stalls set up. We tried not to buy too much because we weren’t going home until mid-January, but if I could have, I would have bought it all!!
Gingerbread, panetone, hot chocolate and mulled wine
Don’t get me wrong, we do gingerbread and hot chocolate in Australia, but not like it is in Europe. We’ve also only recently started to get panetone here, and they sell it in the supermarkets, but it goes so quickly!! But mulled wine is not a thing here at Christmas. We’re more about the white wine and beer because of the heat. But one of my favourite things while wandering around the markets was getting a mug of hot mulled wine, and some kind of delicious pastry!!
Building snowmen and making snow angels
OK, so I may have been living my best life when we spent winter in Europe. I definitely fulfilled a lot of childhood dreams!! We built snowmen (once by the side of the road) and they were my first ever ones. I also made snow angels!! I think it has snowed where I live maybe twice in my life, and it was never enough to settle. Having the opportunity to do those was one of the greatest experiences of my life!!
I know it’s kitsch and kind of ridiculous, but when you normally wear your swimmers (swimsuit?) or a light dress on Christmas Day, you never get to wear a traditional Christmas jumper. We each got the proper thick woolen Christmas jumpers when we were there. Husband got a Legend of Zelda one, and I got a Hogwarts one. We wear them in our winter here (June-August), and get a lot of compliments. But it’s not the same as wearing them on Christmas Day!!
I hope you decide to share some of your holiday traditions!! And what you would do if you had a seasonal change!! Please feel free to tag me if you do so I can learn about your holidays.