The Yarnspinners

News of anthologies by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres--The Yarnspinners!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Christmas in Oz by Maureen McMahon

The weather here is still pretty cold, even though it’s now officially Spring. I’ve lived in Australia for 24 years, and have become somewhat used to the odd switch in seasons. But Christmas is still not right. For 30 years I lived in Michigan, and winters were fraught with snow-drifts, ice, blizzards, freezing winds, road salt and all the other hazards of a northern climate. The perfect Christmas there included mounds of pristine snow covering the ground and tree limbs outside, with frosted windows, a toasty fire and a Christmas tree glittering with lights and ornaments inside. Under the tree there’d be all variety of winter gifts – mittens, boots, coats, sleds, ice-skates. There’d be warm drinks or eggnog, and always a sprig of mistletoe.

Here in southern Australia Christmas is very different. December is scorching – and usually dry. School holidays bring thousands of city-dwellers to the coast, to enjoy the sandy beaches and splash in the clear waters of the Southern Ocean. Department stores still have fake snow decorations and Santas in heavy red suits and long, white beards. It all seems incongruous considering the climate. Christmas dinner is often served on the patio, a barbecued ham, accompanied by a variety of salads, and the inevitable plum pudding or fruitcake. Gifts consist of summer things – beach towels, swim-fins, pool toys, tanning lotion. Fruit baskets abound. Christmas trees still twinkle with lights and ornaments, but seem oddly out of place considering all the greenery and flowers abloom outdoors.

I love Australia – the people are wonderful and the land is beautiful. But I can’t deny I occasionally miss a good old Michigan Christmas. Still, this year I’ll go for a dip in the pool before dinner and we’ll sit on the back deck and enjoy the summer breezes as we have our meal al fresco. Christmas isn’t just about the weather, I suppose – it’s about good company. I hope, wherever you are, you have a holiday filled with joy, contentment and the company of family and friends.


At 12:46 PM, September 12, 2006, Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

My, you must be really on the ball, thinking about Christmas already! I haven't even finished with Labor Day yet. ;-)

I sure can't imagine a Christmas without even the hope of snow. Even when we lived in Florida, though there was no snow, it was the cooler season of the year at Christmas time. You need to have Santa arriving on waterskiis in a tropical print bathing suit!


At 3:33 PM, September 21, 2006, Blogger Kim Cox said...

I don't know, but your Christmas sounds pretty nice to me. Of course, I'm cold natured and hate being cold, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

I know Christmas is almost 3 months away, but I just can't bring myself to let go of summer yet, even though the days have gotten shorter and we're having a cold front for this time of year right now. It got down to 40 degrees last night.



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