Christmas in the sunshine ?!

We’re currently in Australia and enjoying the start of summertime here. We’re in sun-hats, shades and beachwear. It’s hot. The air-con is on. We’ve been to the beach. Typical summer holiday fare.

But it’s just over 2 weeks until Christmas Day.

And this is the weird bit: the kids haven’t even realised!

Christmas down-under is all a bit unusual for us. Lots of things are the same: There are decorations up in the city. We have seen lots of Christmas trees and in the mall there is a Santa’s grotto and ‘winter wonderland’. Most of the Christmas cards I’ve seen for sale have traditional European-style, snow-covered scenes; featuring snow-men, ice-skating rinks, penguins – you know the sort.

But the strange thing is that none of the Christmas lights ‘twinkle’ or catch your eye like in the UK (its too sunny!). All the shop window displays are full of brightly coloured summer stuff and because of this you almost don’t notice the big Christmas displays alongside. And when we’ve avoided the stores and hit the beaches or the mountains – you don’t see anything festive at all.

I think it’s actually nice not having Christmas in-your-face everywhere you go. Not to be bah humbug about it, but I find in the UK it starts around September-time, when you see Cadbury’s Roses in their special ‘Christmas tins’ in Sainsburys, and you can buy Christmas cards in all the newsagents. Mince pies are everywhere. Schools start rehearsals for the parents Christmas shows in November. And by 26th December, I always just want to take the decorations down and look forward to the New Year because it’s all got a bit much…

And that’s the shame of Christmas being commercialised. The real message of this special time gets lost. For my Christian friends, Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Christmas for us is about having a break from the treadmill of ‘normal life’ and spending time together as a family. So this year, despite the lack of snow, Christmas cake, and only a tiny budget for Christmas presents – I know we are going to have an amazing time; even though we’re on the other side of the world.

 

 

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