The photos from today's post are unrelated to the text -- I took them yesterday during a trip to the city. I included them to give a general festive feel, and I always like to illustrate my posts. I hope you like my reminiscence of Christmas in Australia.
Christmas is nearly here! The school holidays are a few weeks in; the weather's turning hot. We set up the sprinkler in the backyard, running through it squealing until we get tired and convince Mum to give us an icypole. There's plenty more time for play -- it doesn't get dark until 9pm and we're allowed to stay up late on Christmas Eve. It's hard to sleep in the sticky heat, and even harder to stick to the rule of not waking Mum and Dad up until 6am.
After opening our presents and having breakfast, we dress in t-shirts, shorts and thongs, and pile into the car. The road trip of visitations to various relatives is almost torturous in our old, un-air-conditioned car, and a towel is required to stop our bare legs from sticking to the seats. Our trip ends, mid-afternoon, at Oma and Opa's house. Despite living in Australia for 25 years, they had never quite acclimatised to the Summer heat, and their house is one of the few in the street with air-conditioning installed. At Christmas though, it labours and splutters in the 35-degree heat, not quite able to counteract the oven which has been on since early morning.
We stuff in as much gravy-smothered roast beef, pork and chicken as we're able, not to mention roast potatoes and pumpkin. The table laid out with a straight-out-of-the-oven feast heats up both us and the room even more, until we're sweating. The paper crowns we found in our bonbons stick to our damp foreheads, and our clammy thighs stick to the plastic folding chairs. By the end of the last course, we're itching to leave the table.
Sometimes at dusk, we go for a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood to help digest our dinner, shuffling along in our thongs, wishing Merry Christmas to neighbours watering their gardens. Other years, it's just too hot, and we lie slumped on the couch, staring at the Christmas tree and losing the battle to stay awake.
We might play listlessly with our new toys for a little bit, leaving sweaty fingerprints on them, before slipping gratefully under crisp white sheets in the spare room and drifting off to sleep.