Christmas in a hot country - tips please!(22 Posts)
In short, I'm dreading it. I have no concept of Christmas that doesn't involve a wood burning stove, sherry, warm jumpers and scarves, a cold, brisk walk in the morning and a traditional roast dinner.
What's it like celebrating in the heat? What do you/did you eat? What things did you keep the same and what things were different? I know it doesn't bother some but I really don't think I fancy turkey and stuffing! Need some ideas please
what are the local traditions?
try something new? seafood? BBQ slow roasts?
I'd still do mince pies and mulled wine & in the evening, light up a few candles, blast on the air con at 18 degrees, pull a blanket out and watch a movie.
I'm going to miss mulled wine, mince pies, stollen, lieb kuchen, winter walks, winter greenery, Christmas pudding, darkness to enjoy the Christmas lights...
I grew up in New Zealand but always felt that Christmas was a bit topsy turvy as we did some of the wintery stuff. We used to mainly have pavlova instead of Christmas pudding but the dinner was usually a roast turkey or ham. Pine trees and Christmas cards with pictures of robins.
Had Christmas in Hong Kong once with carols in Chinese and English around a bonfire on the beach in the evening on Christmas Eve.
We have Christmas pudding but from a lighter Aussie recipe that DH makes.
Christmas lunch is lobster/prawns/oysters/scallops, potato salad, Otway ham, champagne.
We still do Christmas lights, all solar and hanging in the trees, indeed domestic Christmas lights are quite a feature of Aussie life. Indoors, deckers, the same tree and nativity set we had in the UK
I have lived in Florida most of my life. We do pretty much what people in the UK and other parts of the US do. We just do it in shorts.
If you cannot face turkey in 30 degree heat, you are not truly committed to Christmas
Sorry, not helpful. Had a few hot christmases as a child and now in LA - we just do the same really.
How about swapping the Christmas walk for a Christmas swim. And drinking more? that improves everything. Cocktail hour on the verandah. That sounds festive.
We always used to go out for a huge buffet christmas lunch with free flow champagne when we lived in singapore. You could eat virtually anything but dh and I seemed to gravitate towards sushi and the cheeseboard..... We never did turkey and we jumped in the pool for the rest of the afternoon. I used to light candles more in the "winter" months there, a bit like closing the curtains and lighting the fire in the evening (which I did miss).
It's a great opportunity to make your own traditions (and remember that not everyone eats turkey in the UK either). Now we live in Texas and although it's cold in winter, we won't do a roast this year either (last year no-one wanted the turkey I cooked) so we'll probably do steak. We will miss jumping in the pool though....
Just don't expect it to be like Christmas in the UK. You can do your turkey & stuffing, with your roasties etc, but it just isn't Christmas as you know it in the UK!
This will by my 4th Christmas in New Zealand. I will cook a traditional Christmas Roast. Lets face it, people have roast Sunday lunch in the summer in Britain.
I agree with the poster above who said they do everything they would normally do they just wear shorts !
Also, on Christmas Day in Britain, Christmas lunch will be eaten in daylight. So, it's the same daylight albeit summer in New Zealand.
I noticed the only real difference on Christmas Day is a few more hours of daylight here in NZ. It's light in Britain from around 8am to say, 4pm. Christmas Tree lights on in daylight in Britain ? Yeah, why not.
In New Zealand it will have got light at around 4am. So, no real useable daylight until about 8am. Well for adults like my DH and I, no kids !
It will get dark by 9.30pm. The Christmas Tree lights will have been on most of the day anyway, just like they would have been in Britain.
I think for New Zealanders who have never known anything different having ham and lamb is what they look forward to on Christmas Day with assorted salads. That's not what everyone does by the way. I'm just saying it seems to be a popular choice here.
Oddly enough, turkey is madly expensive in New Zealand. I know, beggars belief doesn't it ? There's enough poultry farms in New Zealand, so what's the deal with the price of turkey ? No bother for me, we prefer chicken anyway.
There's no parsnips as it won't be winter here. There's no sprouts either. Same reason. I don't like sweet potato. My husband does not like roast pumpkin. It's a drag to prepare it too.
We'll have everything else that we would have had in Britain. Right down to Christmas Pudding.
We probably will have a bbq on Christmas Eve. I'd just like to say that the equivalent 2 days after the longest day in Britain would be June 24. So, when you think about it like that, Christmas Eve bbq isn't that much of a big deal.
On Boxing Day last year we boxed up all the leftovers and had a picnic. Now that was nice. We plan to do the same this year.
Other Boxing Day's, we've just about made it home before the heavens opened. So again, no big deal.
It hasn't been below 40'c for the past few days here and technically it's not even summer yet!
We always have prawns, crab, oysters, cold smoked ham, cold roast chicken, lots of salads, lots of cold beer and champagne, cold plum pudding and custard.
We always get big water pistols like super soakers for presents. I'm 34 and I still get one It's good to beat the heat and not waste too much water.
If you do ham and seafood then find the best fisho and preorder NOW. Same for a naice ham from a proper butcher.
The beaches will be packed. Stay away.
Carols by candlelight start soon. Pretty much every town and city has one. It's a nice way to spend an evening.
We've kept all our Christmas traditions the same as the UK
Watching Christmassy films all day Christmas Eve, followed by our usual Indian food and home to lots of candles, brandy, and open one present at midnight
Christmas morning is stockings in bed, bacon butties and champagne
the only time that combo is acceptable followed by pressies say on the floor next to the tree. Then off for a walk - yes it won't be cold and snowy and wintery, but everyone around is so happy and in the spirit it's lovely to do.
Then a full on Christmas dinner. We tried hotel versions but it's just not right. Sometimes we have had friends over, sometimes (like this year) it's just us.
As we're on the main walk through to the beach and pool, last year we made a huge trough of mulled wine and got some thermal paper cups a la Starbucks, and offered it to anyone on their Christmas Day stroll.
Then inside, close the curtains, candles all lit again, bottle of wine and Christmassy TV and a board game.
We take our camping stove down to the beach and cook sausages . We have a cold buffet turkey lunch and just chill at home. I love sitting in the garden with a glass of wine. We cook out turkey on Christmas Eve on the BBQ
I guess you could do. Smoke it. A small one though
We do a full Turkey dinner
If I'm not working then we do presents, play for a while, I prep dinner .. Turkey in, nibbles for lunch. Dip in the pool.
Head to the beach. Not found it that bad on Xmas day. Busier Boxing Day
Home...friends round.. Eat drink and be merry!
Prawns, ham off the bone, lots of lovely salads and cocktails, beer and bbq, ice-cream version of plum pudding, followed by a game of cricket in the backyard afterwards. Make sure the children's presents involve toys like water pistols or slip-n-slides or bucket and spades. Fab!
Definitely preorder prawns, and pre-cooked chickens (to be eaten cold on Christmas Day).
OP your post made me smile...
As a kid growing up in Perth, WA hot turkey, cooked ham, hot vegies, Xmas pudding was a tradition in our house even if it was 40 degrees outside.... I think my Mum was bonkers but it was family tradition!!!! Does sound very weird when you write it down but it's just how we celebrated it.
had Xmas at home about 5 years ago it was 42 Xmas day and 40 on Boxing Day, OMG I nearly died so my sister and I thought we would create a new tradition and have a seafood platter and salads, however my Mum was having none of it and insisted she bring a whole cooked ham, she kept saying this is not right.....
Now in the UK and whilst I hate, hate, hate winter (think you get the point) I do love a cold Xmas Day and all the UK traditions and if I am feeling a bit cold/homesick then I can crank up the underfloor heating to 30 and pretend I am in Perth.
Anyway I digress if you can't face the whole turkey thing and you like seafood then I would opt for some crayfish, prawns etc and salads. you could have a hot Xmas pudding as a nod to the UK. or you could even have a BBQ, that is if there isn't a fireban in place, but that will also depend on which country you live in.... make your own traditions, we combine some Oz ones and some UK ones for our kids and they love it!
AC on full, shut the doors and windows, treat it exactly like Christmas in UK!!
Bonus is this year my DSes are getting new bikes so we can take them out on Christmas morning rather than waiting for the rain to stop/ice to melt etc - a definite positive!
It is a bit weird but I do find you don't get into the christmas mood til the week before which actually makes it nicer, I used to sometimes find the months long build up in UK a bit tedious and the kids would get frustrated by how long it took! Now we have a fun filled week and its all still super exciting by the day.
Oh and keep chocolate advent calendars in the fridge..........
And if you yearn for colder weather and darker nights, you can always do Christmas in July. This amazed me when I first got here, but the supermarkets are onto it, stocking mince pies in June/July in anticipation of the Aussie celebration.
Thank you for great suggestions! Playdoughgirl your menu sounds fantastic. I am definitely leaning towards a hybrid Christmas, of keeping the traditions indoors and then enjoying the summeriness outside, like going to the beach in the afternoon and having a swim (maybe just a paddle actually, post stuffing). I do like the sound of prawns though, I definitely want to incorporate them somehow.
Actually this weekend I couldn't stand it any longer and went to get some Christmas decs. I have to say, with twinkly fairy lights all around the glass terrace doors and a bit of air con, it makes all the difference. I'm going to make a secret Christmas stocking piñata too, now I'm all inspired and get some movies that remind me of Christmas in.
Thanks too for suggestions of pool toys for presents, the thought would NEVER have entered my mind - I'm still stuck in pyjamas and socks ideas for pressies.
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