Friday, December 14, 2012

Brrrrr

I grew up in the UK. Essex to be precise, although I often claim to be a Londoner. All of my early childhood memories of Christmas involve the cold, sometimes snow, sometimes drizzle but always cold.

My sister and I would pile on layers of warm clothing, scarfs, hats, gloves… which our mother attached to our coat sleeves with strings of elastic. 

The winter months can be long in the northern hemisphere. The sun has a shorter journey, rising late and setting early. At Christmas time it’s dark by 4pm, which provides more
time to enjoy the spectacular Christmas lights. 


My friend Becky took this photo of Oxford Street
My friends and family in the UK will think I’m crazy for saying this… but I really miss those cold, dark evenings.

This will be my fifth Christmas in Australia. I arrived on the 25th December 2007. I watched the jolly immigration man stamp my passport and practically skipped out into the warm Summer’s night. I met my friend Claudia and we sat on the balcony of her fancy hotel sipping gin from Champagne flutes (I don’t know why). It was an amazing night, but it didn't feel anything like Christmas.

I’ve tried to get into the Christmas spirit, I go through the motions… I make Christmas cards with my girls, I sing carols as I potter round the house, I wrap presents and send them off (erm… I’ll go to the post office later…) and this year I even got a real tree (a live one in a pot, which will hopefully last longer than my geraniums). 


But, despite my efforts… it just doesn’t feel like Christmas!

Or at least it didn’t…

Earlier in the week Sydney experienced a ‘cold’ snap… the sky darkened with storm clouds and I had to dig out our winter clothing (which for us meant jeans and long sleeves rather than shorts and tees). 

  
There was much complaining from my fellow Sydney-siders… but not from me… for the first time in five years it actually felt like Christmas.

Next year we’re hoping to take the girls home for a British Christmas with their Nana and Granddad, aunties, uncles and cousins… I can’t wait… But, I’ll admit that when I got this message from my sister…


 I did start to wonder if my idea of cold may have changed slightly over the years…perhaps I can get on board with a stinking hot Aussie Christmas after all. 


36 comments:

  1. Oh, I love the image of your mum attaching hats and scarves with elastic, and I love that you are spending next Christmas back home - how absolutely wonderful will that be!!
    I'm so excited for you (and I'm not even going!)
    I hear you about the cold, my husband and I joke that we can only take holidays to places that are hot and sunny - couldn't really call a holiday a holiday - if it was cold!
    Silly perspective really - since I can't wait to take my boys to spend a Thanksgiving in NY one day!
    xx

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    1. For me holidays are all about finding some sunshine and lying on the beach - or at least they were before children! But for me, Christmas should be cold :-)

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  2. Oh what I would do for a cold christmas! Snow, fireplace, sigh. Maybe even ice skating and snowball fights.

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  3. My dads from Belfast and he's been here 35 years and he still misses the cold Christmas!!

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    1. Ah, well I wont be expecting my feelings to change anytime soon then!

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  4. I lived in the US for 11 years, and even though I spent my first 18 years in Australia, I fell in love with Winter Christmas instantly. It's magical - just like in the movies! This is our 6th Christmas since moving back. The first couple I thought "this is so weird!" but I'm now loving the fact that we spend Christmas day at the beach, swimming, eating, drinking...I think you (and the girls) would love a winter Christmas...but may be thankful to come back to the sweltering heat! :)

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    1. I wouldn't mind spending Christmas morning on the beach! We're a bit of a drive.. but now you've put the idea in my head!

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  5. My husband is American, but luckily for him, from Forida, so he never got a white Christmas (and was really never that cold there either). The years I was there, I think we only ever lit a fire once. )in 3 years).

    You should move to Tassie. It's not unheard of to have snow in December sometimes! (on Mt Wellington)

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    1. I visited Tassie in May once and loved the feel of the crisp winter air! Maybe this year we'll go for Christmas in July!

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  6. There is something to be said for both a hot and cold Xmas. I can't go past a dip in the pool and playing out in the sun with the toys Santa brought by, but the idea of snow is alluring.
    I have done Xmas in the cold once in Austria. It was sleet (not snow), I was hungover like hell (I didn't like beer, I don't like beer, I will never like beer!!!) and well, although I had a friend to share it with, it just kinda sucked :(
    No actually, I hate the cold in all forms, so I hope you enjoy your northern hemisphere Xmas next year, but I will be just happy right here in the pool and sipping my Veuve :)
    Becc enjoying #FYBY

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  7. One day, I am going to have a cold Christmas - a proper one (not just a poor summer's day in Australia sort of cold).

    I know people who live in these cold climates frequently yearn for a warm Xmas, so maybe just one year, we should do a swap?


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    1. A global swap would be good wouldn't it? shake things up a bit :-)

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  8. I've had one white Christmas and it was magical. Don't blame you for missing the cold. I fantasise about having an actual Chimney that Santa can drop the presents off at! All the best with establish new Christmas traditions x

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    1. Thank you - my little tree with home made decorations is making me happy at the moment - that is definitely going to be a new tradition!

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  9. I hope you do get back home and introduce your girls to a northern hemisphere cold christmas - I can imagine it will be a huge shock to the system though!

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  10. I need a sweater if the temp falls below 24. I don't think I would be good with -5. I would be lovely for your to visit your family. Rachel x

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  11. I spent October in the UK once and that was cold enough for me! We have a Blue Mountains Xmas in July every year and it is the best. You can properly enjoy a roast turkey dinner with ALL the trimmings!

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    1. Love Christmas in July! The best one we had was the year Cerys was born and we had both sets of grandfolks round for a proper turkey lunch!

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  12. I've had a white Christmas in Russia. It was well below -15, & a big shock to my system. Your girls would love it!!
    Prue xx

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  13. We had one Christmas in Europe and it felt like a real Christmas. We have nostalgia for prawns on the barbie and beach cricket at Christmas. But nothing was so magical as a real white Christmas with a real fir tree! Lovely post. X

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  14. I would love to experience the whole White Christmas thing at least once. Its one for the bucket list.

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  15. That Christmas lights picture is so beautiful. It reminded me so much of walking through the Mall in Sheffield, while we did the last minute shopping.

    Did you see the Brighton Christmas lights video doing the rounds today?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCgV-FnEcGQ

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  16. Having lived in Darwin my whole life, it doesn't feel like christmas if it's not hot and raining!
    I can imagine its so much worse for you!

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  17. I'm with Jess, it doesn't feel like Christmas to me if it's not hot and there isn't at least some water fighting shenanigans going on! My boss comes from London, but hasn't lived there for almost 40 years and he still misses the cold weather at Christmas. Having said that though, whenever he does head over there in Winter he always comes back and complains about how cold it was! I think living in Australia and Bermuda has softened him!

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    1. My mum says that I wouldn't be able to handle the cold any more :-)

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  18. Enjoy your stinking hot christmas. It would be lovely for you to get back to England for a cold christmas again, it will be like the first time as your kids experience it too. -5 is just wrong!

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  19. I totally understand what you mean and where you come from. I'm from Canada and I'm use to have a white Christmas. I actually hate winter and the cold but I wish I could have it only for Christmas time! Last year in Melbourne we had hail stone on Christmas Day and when everyone was panicking I got very excited!!! Rita@thecraftyexpat

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