Friends and family in the Northern hemisphere always seem fascinated by the idea of a summer Christmas, so I thought I’d show you what ours is like. I’ll admit that in my heart Christmas should be in the middle of winter, preferably with snow, a fireplace, and glug (the mazariner goes without saying). However there are perks to an Australian Christmas.
In Australia, Christmas is an odd mish-mash of traditions. Most traditions are British, so the ‘traditional’ Australian Christmas still has wintery decorations and roasted turkey and/or ham lunches with Christmas crackers at the table settings. However it is becoming more common to have seafood or a BBQ accompanied by salads; it can be unpleasant having the oven on to cook a big roast meal in the middle of summer! Individual sized mince pies are very common – and a sure sign Christmas is on the way (although they seem to start appearing in shops earlier and earlier each year). Christmas pudding is still a common Christmas lunch dessert, but pavlova with fresh summer berries is also popular. People decorate houses with Christmas lights, however the long summer days mean younger children aren’t awake at hours when they can see them. But the decorations can be solar powered at least, saving having extentions cords all over to power them.
Our Christmas is a mixture of these Australian traditions and those from my childhood. Mazariner are the most important part of Christmas. 😉 For Christmas lunch I usually cook a turkey with roasted veggies and stuffing. This year there was a ham as well, but I didn’t do saurerkraut as we already had so much food (much of the ham will go into the freezer and be accompanied by saurerkraut later – and the bone used for split pea soup). Our garden is full of berries to forage – so many we are sharing with the birds and didn’t net them, and they are still plentiful. For dessert I’m usually required to make chocolate mousse, but this year I made a homemade ice cream cake shaped like a Christmas pudding. The ice cream cake was a real winner: the ice creams were all homemade. The centre was spiced cherry sorbet made with cherries I preserved last summer, with vanilla the next layer, and a chocolate ice cream outer layer.
This is Eskil’s 3rd Christmas (he’s 28 months old), and I feel a bit like it is our job to brainwash him to love Christmas. After weeks of taking him into the sitting room to show him the Christmas tree, he now asks to go in to see ‘KriKi twee’. Since it doesn’t get dark until after 9 pm and Eskil goes to sleep at 7, he doesn’t get to go visit Christmas lights yet as he would be too tired and cranky to enjoy it. He only realised there are blinking lights on the Christmas tree on Christmas day, but he’s quite excited by them now.
Scott and I usually exchange our gifts on Christmas eve while we drink champagne and eat mazariner and I wrap Christmas gifts. On Christmas morning after Eskil opened his gifts (an ‘ogre hut’ play tent and wooden trains), we went to Scott’s daughter’s house for breakfast with her, her husband, Scott’s mum and brother, Scott’s older son Julian (Alexander was unfortunately quite ill), and Julian’s girlfriend Molly. After breakfast and present opening, we gave Molly a lift to her parents’ house. We went home so turkey, ham, and veggies could be roasted. Mid afternoon Julian came, and we had a relaxing late lunch outside in our courtyard. After Julian and Eskil played while Scott, Lottie and I relaxed. We wandered around the garden picking berries, and we eventually had dessert. It was a lovely warm day, and we stayed outside until the mosquitos came out for their Chrsitmas feast.
The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, is also a holiday in Australia. We celebrated it by not doing much at all – relaxing around the house, Scott going to the playground with Eskil, and all of us taking Lottie for a walk to the oval nearby. Scott’s sister, Donna, came for dinner – lots of leftovers for all!