The day finally arrived! Christmas day!
The kids were so happy that Father Christmas had found them. We’d fashioned fleece jumpers into stockings. They had gone to bed, leaving a note explaining our circumstances by the fireplace… For me, waking up on a hot Christmas morning kind of seemed…right. But maybe that’s because I spent 6 of them growing up in South Africa. Anyways, once the kids had jumped on us and opened their stocking fillers (conveniently small for travelling) 😉 attention turned to our host here in Sydney – for whom today it was his birthday!
Any under the tree presents would be saved for later, as Hayter family birthday tradition is to have a morning swim. So we headed for a beach to see in the festive day. Upon arriving at Dee Why beach it was clear that others were also there to celebrate Mikes birthday too, or maybe just have a xmas swim; so parking became a military exercise to find a space for our 2 cars. Fast forward to actually arriving at the beach front and deciding where to set down, when suddenly….. cue an Air-raid siren!! Yup, “Shark Alarm, everybody out the water!!!”. And with that, within 2 waves, every swimmer and surfer was out of the water. Rescue boats were scrambled and disappeared up the beach to try and move the shark away.
We were faced with a dilemma: Should we sit it out to wait and see if the shark buggers off, or just give in and go to another beach?
We decided to leave, and that decision was right as we arrived at a nicer beach; less crowded and with bigger waves. We could finally let the Christmas / birthday dunk begin! (Although, in the the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking that we were perhaps now closer to the shark than when we at the previous beach). Ho hum. Then I thought, we weren’t alone, and there were plenty of tasty Aussies about for it to go for first…
Back to Christmas, and coming from UK we asked the kids long ago what they wanted to eat on the big day. They chose Turkey. When the temperature outside is around 30ºc being in a kitchen with an oven on full isn’t the best place to be. Hats off to April who pulled off an incredible Christmas roast dinner with all the trimmings. Hopefully it went some way to help the kids feel less homesick at christmas. In the afternoon, the kids also managed to Skype and Facetime friends and family, thrusting their presents in front of the lens excitedly.
Overall, Christmas down under is no different to anywhere else. Its about being around family and friends and enjoying yourselves. Ok, the sun, heat and pretty amazing beaches make it different to the usual UK day, but thats all! We have missed seeing our friends and having our traditional walk and feast; We’ve also missed doing the traditional rounds of seeing the family and grabbing a glass of Port in each home, scoffing tins of Cadburys Roses and juggling satsumas.
The difference this year is that I’ve had to get used to cold beers, a BBQ and suncream.