Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Christmas Traditions

Last year we braved a 45 degree temperature change and 32 hours of travel time to make it home for Christmas. Despite the cold and the long flight, it was so good to be home with our family and friends for the holidays. This year we staying in Brisbane. I must admit - it feels kind of weird.

I guess part of the problem is that it's been hard to get my head around having a "traditional Christmas" in a place where people go to the beach Christmas day and where a "White Christmas" is some fake snow that's part of an amusement park gimmick.

But whatever the situation, I love Christmas, and so I decided that I'd do my best to get into the spirit and bring some of our traditions down under.
First, I put up the lights on our house. Usually we'd be freezing not sweating while doing this task so that was definitely a positive. Our lights aren't really very impressive but they're already better than most of the houses on our block (except our Canadian neighbours - I still think Don "borrowed" my candy cane lights so that I wouldn't outshine him - lol). Most people just don't decorate their houses here but we found a few neighbourhoods that do go wild. To get my family into the Christmas spirit I grabbed the list from the newspaper and insisted on doing a light tour. The lights were actually pretty impressive - Griswald worthy even. The only thing missing was a stop at Timmy's for a peppermint hot chocolate and a donut afterwards!

Next came the Christmas baking. I make cookies every year (and every year try to stop Paul and the kids from eating them before Christmas!) This year was no different. With the help of the internet I found my usual Canada Corn Starch shortbread recipe. It's the one I've used since I first started cooking and seems very Canadiana Christmas to me. I also made my usual gingerbread cookies. As I was decorating them I felt the urge to give them a bit of a twist. My gingerbread men turned into gingerbeach people complete with bikinis and "budgie smugglers!" That's when I decided that I could keep some traditions, build on some, and add some new ones.

So as a result, we kept our usual tradition of turkey and stuffing for Christmas dinner but added prawns and a pavlova. We had Christmas crackers, wore those unflattering crowns, scratched "scratch'n wins", and ate until we were stuffed. But we also had a morning swim (o.k. some people were pushed in), floated a Christmas tree in the pool (thanks to Don the engineer), and left Santa a sausage instead of just cookies (he asked for one in his letter to Jack).
And although we didn't have our family here to celebrate with (and we really missed them), we did spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day laughing, eating, and making traditions with some new friends.
Now, if I could just get that Shaw crackling holiday fireplace on the T.V. !


  1. Sounds great Jen, lovely new traditions that you will have to share with me as we seek to meld Canada and Australia next year. In Canada now but heading to MEL mid-January to begin our new Australian chapter. Looking forward to connecting with you! x

  2. I absolutely adore the gingerbread beach people! I might just have to borrow that idea.
    Happy New Year!