I'd love to experience a beautiful, cosy winter Christmas one year. It's totally different for us but just as lovely in its own way I suppose. A bit weird at times. For example, I was getting into the Christmas spirit with my Amy Grant Christmas album. Singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire and building snow men in the meadow while there's a blistering heat wave outside. All the shops buy into this madness. Fake snow spray is sprayed over windows everywhere. Sometimes I wish it'd make us feel cooler while we're shopping. We have our share of Christmas cards with the traditional winter snow scenes, although there are more Aussie ones available too.
Here are some of the annual highlights of our Christmas.
1) Pageants. The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is said to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. I'm not sure if that's still the case, but it's magnificent, with hundreds of floats that all have their own themes. There is always a pageant queen, with a retinue of fairies. Two little girls get to ride the horses, Nipper and Nimble. Whenever we don't go into the city to see it, as it's often hard to find a park and then easy to get lost in the crowd, we watch it on TV with the bonus of the commentary. At the end of the procession, Santa Claus always arrives, dressed in his full regalia. Once, a couple of years ago during a very hot pageant, the poor guy had a fainting spell.
When I was little, there was only the Adelaide Pageant, but over the last decade there have been increasingly more and more local pageants happening in the suburbs. Emma is going to be involved in our church float, dressed as an angel, along with other children. That'll be this Friday night. Then there'll be another one, in our own town, on Saturday morning. It's a great chance for local businesses to let their hair down, get dressed up and give themselves a bit of free advertising.
2) Attending beaches and swimming pools after finishing a year of study are always popular pastimes.
3) It's always great to go at least once to the movies, where it's cool and dark to get out of the heat.
4) We enjoy driving around to see people's electric light displays at night. One local town, Lobethal, has such huge displays on most of their homes that tour buses drive up from the city just to see it. Blake still remembers and chats about last years light displays, when he was still only 2, so it must've made a lovely impression. One street around the corner from us is always very well decorated and lit, so I'm grateful to them for the display. I might even post thank-you letters in a few of their letter boxes this year.
5) "Carols By Candlelight" are popular in all the suburbs. Ours is held in the local part one night in December, with guest artists and vending stalls. Once again, the Adelaide one in Elder Park by the River Torrens is the biggest. These nights are always very pretty when the sun sets and then thousands of little flames of light appear all over the park.
6) This year, there's going to be a German festival in our nearby town of Hahndorf, which was settled by the Germans. Saint Nicholas will be arriving, and there'll be displays of dollshouses and trees and gingerbread houses. Emma & I are looking forward to that one.
7) Traditional Christmas roast turkey and plum pudding is still a favourite on Christmas Day. But cold Christmas ham and salads are just as popular, especially in the evening.
8) Every year, the Adelaide Brewery sets up such a wonderful display of Christmas attractions on their back lawn that people set up food and drink stalls and sideshows just to get in with the crowds. Shows how much money the Brewery makes each year. Last year, some years trespassed over the fence very late at night and stole baby Jesus from the Nativity feature! Although they were caught on film doing it, he was never recovered and they had to produce a new one.
9) Christmas Day itself is always very tiring for us. After church we whiz off to either my family or Andrew's family party, then go to the other side's party in the evening, and we try to alternate lunch and dinner each year. This gets exhausting, kids get tired and grouchy, and I'd like to think of a different system, but it's hard to change a tradition that's been set like concrete since before we were even married.
I'd love to post some Christmas card O/S this year, so if you'd like to receive one from me and I haven't got your postal address, please give me an email! I guess late November is late enough to think of details like this.