Australia, Destinations, Life Abroad, Oceania, Personal Ramblings

Christmas in Australia: Decking the Halls with…Eucalyptus?

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

The Christmas season is upon us and I’m feeling…not so Christmas-y. You see this will be the first Christmas I have ever spent away from my hometown and my family. So for the first time in a quarter of a century my Christmas traditions have to change and I’m not so keen about this proposition.

To be fair, my childhood Christmases were never white and probably resembled an Aussie Christmas more than I knew what with the sun and sand of a Southern Californian Christmas, but still, being away at this time of year is hard. Instead of looking forward to our annual Christmas party’s always ridiculous white elephant gift exchange and cuddling with our old puppy while watching It’s a Wonderful Life I’m trying to convince Kane that he wants to listen to Christmas carols in early December. I am thus far failing at this endeavor, but he has conceded to watching Love Actually so there is hope.

It’s just hard for an American girl to get into the Christmas spirit in the middle of summer with a bunch of Aussies who leave beer for Santa instead of milk and cookies. Also, totally not kidding on this last one, I read it on a blog and when Kane confirmed that it was a real Aussie tradition I just about died of laughter imagining how parent’s explained a drunken Santa to their kids. Kane’s response was “I bet dad appreciated the 2 am beer more than spoiled milk”. Good point, I hadn’t thought of how fast milk would spoil in the heat of an Aussie summer.

I bet Santa enjoys his stop overs in Australia. Image Source

So here I am in the land of beer drinking Santas and kangaroo themed Christmas light displays (also saw this one the other day at Bunnings). As it will be my first Christmas married I guess it is about time for Kane and I to make our own Christmas traditions, but I won’t lie, there still is a feeling of loss for the Christmas of my childhood, a Christmas with New Mexican chile holiday lights, tamales on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day walks on the beach. At least I’ll be able to keep this last one going strong. It’s probably different holidays and different traditions for other people, but I do think that most people have that one thing that has been constant in their life, no matter the change going on around it, and for me that thing was Christmas. No matter what country I was spending most of my time in, I was always home for Christmas. Now, due to many things, visas and money being front and center, I won’t be home for Christmas, at least I won’t be in my hometown for Christmas. I once wrote about what home is to me and how it’s with a person, not a place, but it’s times like these that challenge that and make me yearn for the streets of my youth, even if I’m happily nestled in a new physical home with the love of my life.

We’ve been in Australia, this time more permenantly, for almost three months now and there’s been a lot of feelings, good and bad, about finally settling a bit more than we’ve been in the past. It seems to be that my Christmas traditions will be just one of the many changes my life has gone through in the past year and, as with everything, we will make do. Given these big life changes, this blog may segue into different topics like dealing with immigration and making a home abroad, but don’t worry I’ll still try to write as much as I can, even if I will be working full time now. So here’s to Christmas traditions, old and new, and learning how to make tamales in Australia. Wish me luck, maybe I’ll post about my culinary failures and (hopefully) successes in the future.

What are your Christmas traditions and have they ever had to change? 

Merry Christmas from the land down under! Image source

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