Christmas Down Under

Christmas Down Under

Christmas lunch 2011: Shrimp on the barbie.

No, I’m not joking. We’re really have grilled prawns as part of this year’s meal, and I’m really telling everyone I know that sometimes life really does fit a stereotype 🙂

Joking aside, Christmas in Australia is almost as far from my Iowa roots as I can imagine experiencing in an English-speaking nation. This will be my second holiday season here, and I’m still having trouble remembering that it’s December, rather than the middle of June. When people ask, “is it hard to adjust to life in another country?” my first response is to bring up how different celebrating the holidays are. In case it’s every in question, please allow me to confirm that I really love living here. Australia loses points for it’s lack of my mother and sister, and the general ignorance to Judeo-Christian tradition, but makes up for it in every other way. So, as I’ve said many times in the last year: everyone should have a Christmas Down under.

Because I like making lists, and tend to blog between tasks at work and it’s easier to work through this one point at a time, please enjoy the following reasons why you should start saving rightnow to make your way to Oz. I promise, you can stay with me 😉

1. The seasons are flipped. Before you let that detract you as you dream of the white Christmas that you love so much, think of this: no ice on the roads; no parking lot accidents due to snow drifts; more than eight hours daylight; surfing on Christmas Eve. Not enough? As someone who grew up in the middle of a snowbank, with black ice decorating most smooth surfaces for 12 weeks each year, I’ll admit that it seems so wrong to have Christmas in summer. But, it’s actually pretty amazing, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

As you’d imagine, there are some required adaptations. We’ll be barbecuing prawns, and chicken instead of enjoying roast beef, ham, and mashed potatoes. Rather than gathering around the proverbial fireplace with hot apple cider and cocoa, we’ll arrange our lawn chairs around the patio table and guzzle lemonade like it’s our job. Running through sprinklers and diving in the pool replaces sledding and snowball fights, and no one you meet has seen snow in real life.

2. Santa doesn’t really visit much around here. Gifts just come from mum, dad, and other family members. Maybe it’s because there’s no snow for his sleigh to glide through, but there’s a noticeable lack of Mr. Claus around here. I’m not saying that’s good or bad- just different enough to notice, and embrace. I love the fact that nothing here is identical to the US.

3. This will sound very weird, especially if you know me well, but celebrating Christ’s birth in a place where very few people are Christian, and faith isn’t really expected, is an amazing opportunity. This year, I’ve come back to reminding myself, my husband, and some of our friends, the reason why we’re celebrating. Seeing what Christmas without Christ is an encouragement to be bolder in faith, and not shy from sharing the joy of Truth with the people around me. Moments of worship and fellowship are so much sweeter when they’re no longer expected.

4. The food is different. Stop laughing, and please don’t roll your eyes 😉 No Christmas is complete without Pavlova- that delicious dessert which I was completely unaware of until I met my husband. Salads, avocado dip, and grilled food are standard holiday fare here, and it’s still enough of a novelty for me to get excited about it. 

5. Have I mentioned that it’s now summer, and there’s no battle with icy roads? That I’ll be resting on the beach on the 26th of December, rather than watching the snow fall and praying for school to be delayed, before remembering that two hour delays ended for me in 2004.

Convinced yet? Gonna come see me and have some shenanigans? An adventure, perhaps?

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