This will be our third summertime Christmas and I must say that I’m warming to it. I don’t know if it is having young kids to enjoy it with or whether the seasonal reversal removes the S.A.D. component of my typical holiday dread, but I find myself looking forward to Christmas this year. If you’ve known me for any period of time you will know just how surprising a sentiment this is for me.
Christmas in Australia is all ass backwards, it’s true. There’s the expectation of sitting down for a full roast dinner on a day that temperatures might reach 40°C. There’s all the same trappings of Christmas – plastic snowmen that nearly melt in the brutal Antipodean summer sun. But now that I’m beginning to get my head around it, I’m beginning to see the charm.
Christmas in Australia is days at the beach. It is barbecues on sweltering, sunny afternoons. It is long weekend days watching test cricket, listening for that distinctive sound of leather on wood that precedes the bails tumbling. Christmas down under is ice cream and mangoes and cherries and mince pies. Not all at once, of course. It is sunny days on Rundle Mall singing along to ‘Winter Wonderland’ or ‘White Christmas’ in shorts and sandals.It is hot, dry northerlies and ineffective air conditioning and sweating on the verandah with my feet in the kids’ paddling pool. It is splashing toddler boys hosing down the dog, each other and occasionally their mum.
Christmas in Australia is ass backwards. Absolutely. But it is also about redefining the holiday. It’s about new traditions for a new life. That is what I came here for and Christmas by Christmas it is what I’m getting.
This track by Tony Dekker’s Great Lake Swimmers has become one of my favourite ‘alternative’ Christmas carols. This one and a handful of other great songs are from Great Lake Swimmers‘ “Hands in Dirty Ground” EP, which is available from .