Christmas Part One
I live 100km north of Sydney Australia, so we don’t have a Winter Christmas. It’s summer here so we usually celebrate Christmas time with the air conditioner/fans running to keep cool!! But being summer we have erratic weather, today our top temperature is 18c and tomorrow they’re forecasting 30c.lol
My parents, Tom born in Cairns in the Far North Queensland and Dorothy born in Melbourne, Victoria met in Melbourne and decided to live in Sydney New South Wales after they married. In my mother’s family they were full of regular English traditions from a very cold climate (even though her ancestors came out of Ireland in the 1850s), we celebrated Christmas with Roast Chicken and vegetables cooked on the day, the Fruit cake and pudding were cooked well before the day. The vegetables were put in a slow oven while everyone trooped off to the Christmas mass. I remember as a teenager my friends and I would go to Midnight mass on Christmas Eve the idea being that we got to sleep-in …Hah… guess who got the job of peeling the potatoes and pumpkin for the meal while everyone went to mass.
As we didn’t have many close relatives we learnt to rely on each other and became a very close-knit family, it was only on very rare occasions that we spent time with either my father’s or my mother’s family.
After my father died we continued to celebrate Christmas in the family home until my mother decided to retire from organising Christmas so then we each had a turn in our own homes, as there are five of us kids, Tricia, Bruce, Cathy, Myself and Mary. It came about that every 5 years that person picked up the tab for the day, with the rest bringing extra salads, nibblies and we supplied our own drinks. (beer, wines and soft drink for the grandkids)
Last year as my daughter was married on the 15 Dec and as all the family were there we decided to use that opportunity to have our Christmas get-together and for the first time in 50+ years I did not see any of my siblings on the Big day it felt very strange. My sons and I had lunch at a local Thai restaurant.
When my children were little I would start amassing presents in October, well its 12 Dec and I still haven’t bought one, after work today I went along to Erina Fair shopping complex… 3 hours later I left with not one single solitary present but I did see some great things. lol
Tomorrow, Sat 13 Dec, I have a Work Christmas Picnic at 3pm (as it is summer daylight saving) it usually continues till dark (about 8pm) and then I have to come home shower and change and then off to a Over 30s Christmas party at a local club we are expecting about 80-100 to attend and then on Sunday I am off to Sydney with my two sons and we will be meeting up with my daughter and son-in-law to have a lovely lunch.
After my divorce after 15 years marriage, it was very hard to organise Christmas what with my own family and my ex-husbands family. So our Christmas for my children and myself started Christmas Eve with final wrapping of presents and off to 6pm mass and as they got older Midnight mass, we allowed ourselves to open one present each (I found when they were little it help them settle quicker to bed otherwise they laid awake wondering if Santa would really come. lol) The next morning I would hear them foraging through their Santa sacks then it was play time and checking in with their school friends (Hey, I got one of those, too …Cool) then the mad rush to get to the Grandparents to meet up with uncles, aunties, and cousins . more food, more fun and more presents… then a game of cricket on the empty lot out the front…then ..Hey Dad’s here …proudly showing Dad their goodies, mad rush to pack goodies into Mum’s car before joining Dad to do the rounds of Dad’s relatives and acquiring more goodies.
Now that my children are older and there is so much pressure to be everywhere at once, we plus Daniel (SIL) have arranged that we get together about a week before Christmas and just have lunch in a restaurant with a Harbour view (last year we went to Darling Harbour), The big family get-together at Christmas has gone as one sister (Coffs Harbour) is now the proud grandmother of six and is working that day and another sister’s husband (Maitland) is also working so there will be only my brother (single) whose turn it is, eldest sister and her family and myself and my kids dropping in for the day.
A lot of the houses in our area decorate their houses and gardens with lights, animated Santas and other wonderful sights. The nights being quite warm we take the dogs for a walk and check out all the lovely decorative homes, some people put a lot of thought into their displays and others like myself usually have one gum tree with some tinsel threaded through it (I am not very artistic…lol.) After a lot of years of suffering Hayfever!, No smell! No Taste! at this time of year a Relief Doctor finally diagnosed that I was allergic to the fumes of decomposing pine needles …wot …yep I’m allergic to Pine Trees(his wife had the same problem) so off to the shops to buy one of those artificial trees… you know … the ones I vowed I would never buy.
To Be Continued.