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It’s only proper Christmas in cold countries, isn’t it?

It’s a bit of a running joke in my family that Chris and I go to incredible lengths to avoid a family Christmas.

(Canada, Scotland, Thailand, Bournemouth, Mexico, Bournemouth, Guatemala , Philippines , Australia. Hmmm. Ok, so it looks bad….)

It’s taken until now, again sat in a December temperature of 30 degrees +, to realise that by travelling to a hot country we are actually kind of forfeiting Christmas. It’s not a complaint, there are very good reasons we head south by Halloween most years! But you know how it feels when someone says ‘happy birthday’ to you on the wrong day? That’s sort of how Christmas feels in the southern hemisphere.

Merry Christmas from Australia

Until I started spending winters away it never occurred to me that at least half the people who celebrate Christmas must do it in a weird northern-centric way, canned snow sprayed on palm trees, fur lined santa hats and flip flops. What I don’t get is why there isn’t more impetus to get together and say, ‘you know what? Let’s stop trying to pretend that OUR Santa is likely to be wearing anything other than speedos, and do our own thing.’

It would get my vote. We could have camels instead of reindeer. I certainly think I would find it more romantic to be kissed under a tropical bouquet than an evergreen sprig. I’d gain more festive cheer from receiving a greeting card featuring a beautifully coloured parrot instead of a forlorn robin redbreast. It’s not like the paraphernalia associated with a western Christmas has any spiritual link. As far as I can see, changing the status quo is up for grabs; we just need a few credible early adopters. Who’s in?

A typical Aussie BBQ

It’s just in my core programming that unless bombarded with 4 weeks of Santa based jingles, battling harassed shoppers to single-mindedly chase down the last M&S gift set, relentless grey skies and pine needles piecing my thermal socks, it’s just not going to feel like Christmas.

I expect I’ll feel a little homesick on the day, we did last year (or was it the effects of the bug we failed to shake until we left Central America?). This year we will make more effort to buy each other gifts and may even search our home exchange for decorations. We’ll ask the neighbours what Australians tend to do at Christmas and follow suit, skewering seafood and cranking up the Barbie. It will be fun and we will enjoy every second.

But it won’t be a real Christmas though, will it?





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