I have never known a cold, snowy season. Yet I have a green tree with shiny baubles and tinsel and stuff. White-trimmed red Santa Clausii have proliferated and have found nests in almost every retail outlet. Rudolph and Co are dashing though the snow in the eternal mall muzak and carols of other hemispherical winters sung by candlelight.
Some homes are planning hot roast dinners in projected 38C heat, while more sensible families have bought the ham and turkey well in advance and have already cooked them and have salads planned as side dishes. Giant Crabs, Prawns and Crayfish have been purchased and are about to be cooked so that they are chilled on Christmas Day. Fruit platters are being planned as desserts along with cold trifles and ice cream.
The Beer and Wine is already on ice so that it is at optimum temperature for the 25th. Presents have been found and wrapped and Hallmark cards have added to the expense. All amongst the winterish decorations, fake mistletoe and holly hung in remembrance of centuries of Northern tradition.
A small number of Australians will go to church. Some to Mass. Most will be anticipating the Cricket Test which will begin on Boxing Day. Bets will be made and backyard cricket will be played to help settle the over-large festive luncheon. Many Australians will be checking the weather between Sydney and Hobart for the big Aussie Yacht race also begins on Boxing Day. A hundred or more boats racing for Sydney Heads and then 640 miles down the coast. Once the arrival was a New Year’s thing. Now the race may last three days if we are lucky.
So our Christmas Day will end in heat-fuelled hangovers and frazzled nerves as incompatible relatives part for another year. Public good wishes and jollity will be replaced by car-private expressions of relief that another Christmas is over. That Grandma is looking older, Grandpa is showing his silliness by continuing to play in the back-yard cricket match. That Aunties are letting themselves go, or they are looking like mutton dressed as lamb and Uncles were boasting amongst themselves about job achievements in between surreptitious pinches on feminine derrieres. The children were all out of control and there is no discipline these days and that seventeen year old niece is no better than she should be!
Already thoughts are stirring that there will be another Christmas next year and it will be bigger and better than this year’s.
But first we have New Years Eve and that will be another party in the heat with lots of cold or BBQ-ed food and even more beer. Then we have four months to lose the inches we have added to our bodies before we can cover up the remaining evidence in winter woollies.
None of the above relates to the wonderful family party I was lucky enough to attend yesterday. Where I was lucky enough to beat my 50-years-younger grandson at table-tennis and there wasn’t a cricket bat in sight. Although I did drink a Blushing Reindeer!