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Stuff you don't get used to

(30 Posts)
echt Sun 26-Oct-08 02:34:52

This isn't intended as an Australian thread, nor as a giant piss and moan about anything, but the strange otherness of it all, and the feeling - not a bad one - that it will not change.

Here goes.

Christmas in hot weather. I didn't realise, until I got here, how I was cued by the climate about Christmas. I'd always bad-temperedly put it down to overload on pre-Christmas advertising, but, while such ads are WAY less obtrusive than in the UK, I still find that it creeps up on me as it never did before. By this time in the UK I had all my pressie shopping done; here I'm, like, as DS would say, WHAAAAT?

I can do the Christmas Day stuff, but all the prep time just passes me by.

Cauldronfrau Sun 26-Oct-08 04:21:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghosty Sun 26-Oct-08 04:40:12

Yes, echt, I am really with you there ...
I am facing my 8th southern hemisphere christmas (well, actually my 12th but for two of them I didn't live here yet and two fo them I can't remember as I was a baby in South Africa). My DS's birthday is on 30th November and EVERY YEAR, without fail, I wake up on the 1st December and say to myself, "Fuck, it's 24 days till Christmas!!!"
Even when I am organised (I bake Christmas cakes and puddings in October and get the children to write wish lists in August etc etc), the summer starts and I am thrown completely.
This year we had a Mid Year Christmas celebration with our neighbours (in July) and it was so lovely and festive and much much more Christmassy than December.
I think I am slooooowly getting used to it but I do yearn for a cold wintery christmas where we don't set foot outside and can watch Christmas specials on the telly blush ... no one watches tv on Christmas day here (and for good reason obviously).
We had roast turkey for the first 3 years but I got over that quite quickly though .... lovely whole eye fillet steak on the barbie is our xmas dinner of choice now grin

arfishy Sun 26-Oct-08 04:46:31

Ah yes, Christmas is much more atmospheric at home. But at least here you can go to the beach, send smug photos home and enjoy a slap-up Christmas Dinner in the garden.

I do all of my Christmas shopping in July at the toy sales [smug smug smuggidy smug smug]. Eidsvold trained me, she's a native.

Christmas is much less full-on with the advertising and definitely less about the money. Better IME.

I've got the best of both worlds this year - I'll have December in the UK and Christmas day here. Fabbo. Am hoping it snows for DD.

ghosty Sun 26-Oct-08 04:52:53

I am crap at that toy sales thing arfishy. By the time christmas rolls around I buy them more stuff because I feel the need to go Christmas shopping ... and so they end up with silly amounts ... so I have to shop in December I'm afraid.
What I do like about the Aussie Christmas is that you hear Christmas carols in shops, which we didn't in New Zealand ... christmas songs, yes, but not carols ... NZ is a bit too PC in that way IMHO.
envy at a UK December. How long is it since you went back in a winter Arfishy? I had a huge shock when I went back in a December ... I asked my mother if it ever got light!!! I do like the fact the sun is up high in the sky summer or winter here ...

SittingBull Sun 26-Oct-08 05:08:59

Message withdrawn

ghosty Sun 26-Oct-08 05:21:50

LOL sittingbull grin
My mother was born and grew up in South Africa. She says that Christmas only properly made sense when she was 32 and moved to Europe grin. She said she never worked out why during her childhood Christmas cards etc were so 'wintery'. Southern Hemisphere cards are much more seasonal now I think - not that I send them to anyone of course, because I always miss the postal deadline wink

ClaudiaSchiffer Sun 26-Oct-08 05:30:46

For me Christmas really feels like a non-event over here. In the UK we had a big family get together with too much food, my mum clucking around us all, kids everywhere. Here it is all very quiet with just us and in-laws. It is nice, but just a lot quieter than I'm used to. Also the fact that it is spring for the Xmas buid-up with Christmas in summer is all wrong.

I do agree, that less Xmas advertising and not such a focus on spending heaps is a good thing.

I am crap at the whole Toy Sale thing too. Although my kids are still young enough to not get very much.

Will spend all the money on myself grin.

arfishy Sun 26-Oct-08 05:36:47

I haven't had a UK December for about 4 years. I am going to FREEZE.

I really, really bought too much stuff last year. I forgot what I'd got in the toy sales and just kept on picking up bits and pieces. It was actually embarrassing on the day, DD had so much stuff.

In order to save face I told our guests we were donating some to the children's hospital.

twentypence Sun 26-Oct-08 05:43:23

I couldn't get used to a total lack of Christmas carols in state education. They are catagorically not allowed.

CorpseBrideOfJohnCusack Sun 26-Oct-08 07:56:25

REALLY twentypence? that's shite
I'll never get used to Christmas in the summer. Ever

eidsvold Sun 26-Oct-08 08:04:38

I know dh would agree with you.

He finds it weird to be having christmas in summer.

mymama Sun 26-Oct-08 08:15:26

I was in the UK for Christmas last year and loved the cold frosty days, the lights in the high street and the ice skating.

I missed my Christmas here though. We missed driving around looking at all the Christmas lights on houses while gorging on candy canes, Carols in the Park and the traditional Boxing Day beach picnic tradition.

fwiw I grew up with roast pork and ham with baked vegies for xmas lunch with plum pudding and trifle. We still have it every single year. We cook it in the bbq (with hood) outside so we don't have the heat in the house and then we turn up the airconditioning, shut the curtains and blinds and spend the day watching xmas movies. <bliss>

mumoverseas Sun 26-Oct-08 15:26:01

In Saudi christmas is forbidden! It is totally illegal so we have to smuggle in all our christmas goodies! I always bring cards,papers, stockings etc from the UK and last year managed to get a christmas cake and crackers from M & S in Bahrain (were they are not quite so anal!)
Looking forward to christmas in the UK this year!

anorak Sun 26-Oct-08 15:31:27

Yes I did find it bizarre last year walking around the Bermudian capital city in blazing sunshine with my sunglasses on doing Christmas shopping. Carols playing in the shops and people walking around in Bermuda shorts, ties, Santa hats and sunglasses. Most odd.

twentypence Sun 26-Oct-08 18:13:40

I teach students who have no idea what silent night is. I used to use it to demonstrate a dotted rhythm. Now I have to use Bob the Builder!

It is one of the reason's we moved ds to another school, so he can spend a whole lovely term singing carols, rather than a tuneless rendition of Jingle Bell Rock.

ClaudiaSchiffer Sun 26-Oct-08 20:28:21

twentypence do you teach in Australia?

That's so weird not to sing carols. Do schools cancel the whole of Xmas or just carol singing?

eidsvold Sun 26-Oct-08 21:27:11

it may just be your area 20p - we have christmas carols in our state schools.

although I love the fact that I can sit outside on a summers night with candles and sing carols. Great to go for a drive on a summer's night and see all the house decorated for christmas.

ghosty Sun 26-Oct-08 23:10:16

It's a New Zealand thing - the no carols in state schools. Very depressing. I asked DS's kinder teacher why it was and she said it was so as not to offend other cultures sad
Ho hum. They have Carols in Australian schools so I am happy smile

twentypence Sun 26-Oct-08 23:13:14

To my knowledge it's all of NZ.

Christmas appears to have become "the holiday season" and there are no nativity plays in state schools.

Fortunately the school I teach in is a Anglican Independent school and so I can put the Christ back into Christmas. I have to be more careful with my preschool teaching though and stick with technically secular childrens' songs (which were actually written by a christian teacher so as to be just the right side of the guidelines!)

There are lots of Community carol events though near us. I'm not sure why the council can organise carol singing - but a school can't.

Cauldronfrau Sun 26-Oct-08 23:17:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twentypence Sun 26-Oct-08 23:20:03

I read in a "US to English" phrasebook that "have a nice day" means "next please".

I loved that.

I do miss in the Bleak midwinter.

Sibble Sun 26-Oct-08 23:35:23

I don't think I'll ever get used to christmas here. I love the build up at home, starts mid November, shopping in the dark with sister/friends stopping for the odd glass of wine, buying far too much, hauling it all home on the packed tube, unpacking it all to wrap ceremoniously on one evening over a bottle of wine and nibbles with carols playing. Heaps of nights out, work do's parties, carols ringing out everywhere, nativity scenes in shop windows, santas grottos etc etc.

NZ version - no carols, we do the tree thing but it's too damn light to see the lights of an evening, no santas grotto - santa sits in the mall and you pay an arm and a leg to hop on the sleigh/conveyor belt for a photo. I'm usually very organised but have been known to panic buy on christmas eve as it just doesn't feel like christmas. Then on Boxing Day everyone bugg**s off to the beach.

DH loves it though it's what he's used to. Christmas signifies nothing religious or to do with santa just the beginning of summer and holidays. He wants ham hmm I want turkey, duck and beef, he wants salads, I want roast with all the trimmings. He wants to swim in the pool or walk on the beach, I want to gorge myself and siesta in front of the fire in the afternoon.

We spend all morning on skype to the UK, pop to the neighbours for bubbles mid morning, back for christmas lunch, then dinner, few wines then bed sad. Meanwhile back in Blighty the family is congregating laden down with pressies and food for a 2-3 day food/pressie fest.

Blimey I'm early with the christmas grumps this year. DH says it usually sets in first week Dec - ask Ghosty she's seen my christmas grumps wink

eidsvold Mon 27-Oct-08 02:01:09

Wow - I guess it is what you are used to. I did enjoy my 4 english christmases BUT i love my aussie christmas.

The holidays at the end of a school year - the summer, getting out and about and socialising, end of year break up parties.

We all congregate at my aunts for an extended family christmas eve. I am starting a new tradition of reading an aussie night before christmas this year!!! Our dds get spoilt with presents and attention and run around my aunt's garden until midnight and then we take them home exhausted.

Then it is up and open smaller presents before heading to grandma's for lunch with more family.

We used to as a family have then go on holidays on boxing day. Great fun.

I must admit - walking to church for midnight mass on my first christmas in the UK through sleet kinda took the shine off christmas eve!!! But then it was back for warm drinks and socialising!!

hellish Mon 27-Oct-08 02:32:01

No carols here in Canada either, my dds have never heard of 'Away in a Manger' or the Nativity.

I'm not religous but those things are such a part of my childhood, it seems strange celebrating Christmas without them.

On the other hand, we have snow in a big way, our new Boxing Day tradition is all out for a horse drawn sleigh ride with about 5 other families, then hot chocolate round a lovley fire.

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