How I Spend Christmas
Well as some of you may be aware, I’m from the UK but I came to Australia with my partner just over two years ago when I was 23, and haven’t left yet. I have to say my Christmases are very different now.
In England my two older sisters lived at home with my mum, my stepdad Martin, and my little brother Jack. I was always home for the holidays. The last few years that I was in England I lived in Leeds, as did Conor, and my family live in Cheshire. Conor’s parents live in Belgium so for my last two Christmases in the UK, Conor and I have made the 12 hour drive from Leeds to Brussels about a week before Christmas, and I flew home to my family a day or two before the big day to celebrate with my family, leaving Conor with his. I loved Brussels at Christmas time, it was so festive. I also loved that feeling of flying home for Christmas.
When Christmas day arrived, Jack was always the first one awake and he’d wake up the rest of the house, whilst Martin would being us all a cup of tea in bed. After the tea we’d all get into my mum and stepdad’s bed to open stocking fillers. Yes, age 23 I was still sitting at the end of my parents bed opening stocking fillers ‘from Santa’ and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After breakfast and showers we’d make our way to the living room to open presents from each other and from friends and relatives. I have to say, with six of us in the house I always loved the look of the living room just filled with gifts in Christmas wrapping. Family members would visit throughout the day, as mum and Martin prepared the Christmas dinner.
My Grandad would join us in the afternoon and stay for dinner. Our big Christmas dinner always began with a starter – usually bruschetta as it was all that we could agree on. For the main event we’d have turkey, roast potatoes, veggies, Yorkshire puddings and pigs in blankets, all covered in delicious gravy – pretty much your standard British Christmas dinner. Dessert would be Christmas pudding and chocolate gateaux, followed by coffee and after dinner mints to digest the massive meal we’d just eaten. After dinner we would do the washing up and play board games as a family until my Grandad left and we went to bed.
I loved this Christmas because it was familiar and traditional – since being in Australia it’s been a bit different every year. The first year I cooked a traditional English Christmas lunch for myself, Conor and two friends.
Afterwards we played cards against humanity before heading to the beach to meet up with more friends. It was such a hot day and the beach was full of people playing music, drinking and celebrating. It was odd – I distinctly remember paddling in the warm sea as the sun set behind us, and it felt like Christmas even though it was so vastly different to any Christmas I’ve had before.
Last Christmas Conor was working in a bar in Melbourne, which was closed but the owner’s family were all visiting and all staff were welcome to join them at the bar for Christmas lunch. One of the chefs cooked for all of us and the food was fantastic. Unfortunately Conor, the chef and I were the only ones there not related to the owner. After lunch the owner’s family all left, leaving just myself, Conor and Blake (the chef). I facetimed my family and Conor facetimed his. We asked around if any of our friends were going to the beach or anything as it was still quite early, but nothing much seemed to be going on. As Conor, Blake and I sat at the bar I couldn’t help getting a little emotional, as I suppose is normal when you spend Christmas away from home.
This year we have moved from Melbourne to Port Douglas so it will be different again. We’ll begin the day by opening our presents at home then we’ll head over to our friend Lachy’s house for lunch with his girlfriend and his two kids. Lachy’s a chef so I know the food will be amazing. He’s cooking a seafood buffet of lobster tails, prawns and mackerel, with a side of margaritas. After lunch Conor and I will head back to our apartment in town, facetime our families and then see who’s around for some drinks.
To be honest, as much as I am looking forward to Christmas, it does make me sad not to spend it at home. It’s difficult to capture that Christmas feeling when you’re away. Even in the run up to Christmas it just doesn’t feel the same here. In England you can feel it in the air that Christmas is coming. There’s Christmas music all around, carol services, decorations on every street, and traditions like the German markets. In Australia you hear much less festive music and people just aren’t as fussed about it. I do hope to get home for Christmas one year soon but it may be a while away.
If you want to find out more about my Christmas traditions, you can check out this guest post on Gemma’s (aka Yorkshire Mum’s) blog.
How do you guys spend Christmas? Have you spent it away from home? Have you observed different levels of Christmas spirit in different countries? Let me know in the comments, let’s chat.
Finally, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas xxx