As you have probably figured out by now, I like to keep track of anniversaries and whatnot. This winter will mark the third Christmas I have celebrated in Australia, and by gosh, I think I’m getting used to having summery Christmases.
When I celebrated my first Christmas in Australia, I had a wonderful time with my husband, then boyfriend. He hadn’t celebrated the holiday for a few years, so it was special in many ways for both of us.
Even so, my brain never quite caught up to the fact it was Christmas because I didn’t have my hot chocolate, my flannel pyjamas or, more importantly, my snow. For me, my first Christmas was like what Christmas in July would have been like back in the States.
When July did come around the next winter, I finally figured out what the feeling of ‘Christmas in July’ was all about. The weather left me feeling like I should be celebrating Christmas then, not seven months before or waiting another five months.
For my second Christmas in Australia, I felt something similar, but less so. I attended my first Australian Christmas barbie complete with friends, laughter and Christmas pudding with brandy butter. Our friends even participated in a friendly house-decorating competition (complete with lights and music) for the enjoyment of the suburb that reminded me above all else of Christmas in the States.
The following July – this past July – I waited for the ‘Christmas in July’ feeling. I waited for the winter weather to get me wishing, just a smidge, for Christmas lights and hot chocolate.
But it never came.
Instead, this year, I feel like I’m finally settled in to Australian Christmas way.
Though I am writing this a few weeks before you read it, the Christmas madness has already begun. Santa is already taking pictures with the little kids in the shops, the decorations and gift baskets are out and the advertisements for Christmas sales are going full blast. The shops are already busier and the companies are seeing the spike in their profits.
Yet, I didn’t think about the Black Friday (the shopping kind that happens in the US every year on the day after Thanksgiving) insanity. Heck, I didn’t really think about Thanksgiving, except for a moment of wishing I had some pumpkin pie on hand.
Slowly, I am starting to lose the association of red and green as being THE Christmas colours, as they are so often used in nearly every decoration I ever owned or saw in the States.
While I wondered about going to see some snow this past winter, I no longer find myself wishing for it as the holiday and the New Year approach.
I haven’t heard a single Christmas song played anywhere yet (for which I am very, very thankful) and can still enjoy my shopping without being forced to listen to cheerful, chirping voices that wouldn’t want to be anywhere near me on a bad day.
Cool drinks and meals that don’t involve a lot of hot oven time are on the agenda because of the possible heat instead of meals with long roasting time that will heat up the house as a byproduct of all that cooking and baking.
But even as I’m getting used to all this, the fact that I can go to the beach and swim on Christmas still makes me smile. And giggle in a slightly evil way if I’m feeling wicked while my friends in the States are complaining about the cold. (Some things should just plain stay new to you no matter what so you can reap the enjoyment again and again.)
Yes, Christmas here is different, but not as different as it was before. With each passing year, things are more enjoyable. More comfortable.
Sometimes I miss the ‘newness’ of it all, but finally feeling like everything surrounding me is the normal way of doing things is so much better. Finally feeling like I’ve found my place and truly settled in…
Well, I’ll even give up my slightly evil giggle for that.
Wishing you wonderful holidays and an amazing new year.