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The Reason for the Season? Christmas Down Under

Merrrry Christmas!

Merrrry Christmas! (Don’t the kids look joyous?)

Ok, we’ll get this straight. Technically, I’m Jewish, and my husband is too… But, this post is about Christmas in Australia, because from what I have experienced, nobody really cares if you’re not a Christian. Almost no one that I have come across in Australia, politely says, ‘Happy Holidays’, like they do in America, just in case you might not celebrate Christmas. Here, it’s ‘Happy Christmas, is Santa going to bring you lots of pressies (presents)?. I cannot tell you how many people have said that to Margo. She doesn’t really get it. We don’t do ‘Christmas presents’ and it’s not like we’re anti-presents, it’s just… I don’t know… not really our thing? We did sort of get something, a wooden toy oven, and only because it was 50% off and it happened to be on Christmas Eve. It’s impossible to not get swept up in the Christmas craziness here (and I’m not so innocent, um, hello, stores have been getting ready for their Boxing Day sales and they all started 50% off sales a few days ago). But, man, am I happy that it’s Christmas Day and we can all get on with things tomorrow.

Christmas in Australia is absolute lunacy. Christmas time everywhere is crazy because of the build up. The presents, the family, the decorating, etc. If you live in a cold climate, Christmas is the ONLY thing going on. But here, in Australia, Christmas coincides with the end of the school year, summer school holidays and the start of summer time! The whole month of December is a write off. People make sure that their homes are ready for the hot weather, whether that means getting themselves some new blinds from somewhere like A-OK Australia, scheduling an AC tune-up to make sure this won’t let them down, or getting any fans that they need out and ready to go. Small businesses close for at least a week, sometimes for two, three or even four weeks! There are tourists wherever you go, with accommodations like the Zetland hotel nearly full! When I was teaching school, I was lucky to have five kids in my class towards the end of the year. Kids just don’t even bother showing up for the last couple weeks of school. And you better not plan anything other than a Christmas party or a play date at the beach in December, or you’re not going to get anyone to show up. Where we live, on the Gold Coast, many people spend Christmas day under a big shade tent that they pitch at 6 in the morning overlooking the beach (cause if you don’t get there early, you’re not going to find a spec of grass to sit upon). They sit there all day swimming, drinking beer and eating food that they barbecue or bring in their eskies (coolers) and hoping that a big thunderstorm doesn’t clear them all away. The whole city is dipped in Christmassy grandeur, and you’re sure to hear some traditional tunes playing in stores or even at homes, since Royalty Free Christmas Music is not that difficult to get; and who doesn’t love hearing some good old ‘Tis The Season during Christmas time!

This doesn't only happen in America!  (Although it does happen more often there).

This doesn’t only happen in America! (Although it does happen more often there). Christmas lights in in the Gold Coast.

Margo and I were chatting the other day and it got me to thinking about all of this Christmas celebration. She was sitting on the pot for a while and started asking me all about the little baby that we saw in a nativity scene. So, I told her all about Jesus and how it was his special birthday celebration, etc (ok, the toilet is not exactly the best spot to be talking about the son of God, but well… she’s 2… and she was asking…). Then she asked me ‘THE’ question. The question that’s had me thinking, ‘So, did Santa Clause go to Jesus’s birthday?’. Oh… I told her I better google it. Actually, Santa has nothing to do with Jesus. And, a friend of mine told me, that in her native land of Switzerland, they celebrate two holidays on different days; St. Nicholas Day (Santa) and Christmas. Then, what about about reindeer, candy canes, ginger bread, Christmas trees? Well, I know that they are all symbols of Christmas… but I’m not too sure how they relate to little Jesus being born in a manger… but anyway. I’m sure I can also google how Santa and Jesus all got mixed together. I’m not saying that everyone who does Santa and presents isn’t ‘celebrating’ Christmas the right way, it’s just very funny to see how insane it’s all become. But, hey, I’m going to ruin everyone’s fun! It’s all good. Please please, continue with all the mayhem next Christmas season and every Christmas after. After all, any excuse to celebrate is better than having no celebration at all! So, dress up like Santa, put antlers on your car, go shopping, bake cookies, make decorations, and most of all BE MERRY and remember that Jesus had a message of love!

When in Rome...

When in Rome…

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