Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holidays and Why We Have Them! Part One : Aussie Christmas

Argh!  The Season is coming!  The Season is coming!

It's come and gone.  It's come and gone.

And I'm still just trying to get used to it!  (And get those Christmas cards out before New Year.)

Christmas in Australia is like nowhere else in the world.  It's not just that it's summer here and that it's hot hot hot!  (I love it hot hot hot....Merry Christmas!!!)  It's also the end of the school year and the start of the next.  It's summer holidays and beaches and camping.  It's carols in the park with bbq and picnics.  It's travelling at night in the car, the kids dressed in their pyjamas, walking through the Christmas light wonderlands people around the area have put up for display.  It's Santa in the shops WITHOUT the crazy shoppers.  Although this last bit you wouldn't be able to appreciate as an Australian.  Listen, mates, women KILL each other in the USA on Black Friday to get to the Walmart's Christmas specials. 

It's reindeer antlers on cars and Santa hats on adults.  It's surfing in a Santa suit.  It's picnic on the beach and pool parties and neighbourhood gatherings.  It's light out.  (LONGEST days of the year instead of the shortest as in the Northern hemisphere.)  It's warm out.  It's get your boat out.  Bring your togs.  Other people can moan about missing snow at Christmastime.  Usually people who have never experienced it.  Snow, mates, is COLD.  And wet.  Wet and cold.  And it's DARK where it snows.  Most of the day.  Which makes it colder.  It LOOKS pretty and yes, it IS more dignified in Germany than Australia.  Grown-ups don't wear Santa hats.  Ever.  In fact, there is no Santa in Germany.

What's a Christmas without Santa?  Nice.  It's traditional.  There are Advent wreaths and Christmas markets.  Christmas is nice wherever you go. 

I  missed Santa in Germany.  The Christ Kind doesn't hand out reindeer antlers at the mall.  And the trees don't get put up until December 24.  No Christmas lights.  And certainly no bbqs.  It is COLD COLD COLD.  Drink the Gluhwein.  And sing carols around the Advents really is a nice time of year there too....Germans do Christmas's not their fault they don't have the beach or the climate for a TRUE Australian Christmas!

Of course mixing lengthening daylight hours  (which have been linked to increased mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia) with the end of school, the summer holidays AND the most celebrated secular Christian holiday of the year does take some getting used to. 

You really need to get into the Aussie spirit.  No worries, mates.  She'll be all right! 

One thing I have learned is that "no worries, mates" is harmless.  But if you hear "she'll be all right" you're probably up shit's creek without a paddle.

Christmas in Australia is like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving combined with school summer holidays all rolled into one.  Or, for the Germans, like when the World Cup Soccer comes every four years and the entire country comes out of its shell and sits outside in the warm sunshine at the Biergartens watching the games on large screens, wearing German colours and celebrating together.    It's a time for family.  But also a time to be outside and a time to celebrate with others.  It's a time when the whole country comes together to be happy at the same time. 

Call it anything you like.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a day the entire world felt like one family?

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