It’s nearly Christmas and the shops are full of beach-wear.  Summer and the festive season are synonymous in the land of Oz. As I buy presents, I hear piped carols chiming  I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.  It is absurd, yet it is our ‘normal’ Down Under. It will be hot,  it will rain: but it definitely won’t snow.  December is all about the three B’s in sunny Queensland: Bathers, Beach, and  BBQs.   Nonetheless, snowy Santa-scenery adorns our parched  lawns, tinsel wreaths sit amongst blossoming Bougainvillea, and townships are decorated with fake Frosty’s.

Our white identity seemingly remains British and European. We remember  the land our ancestors came from when they celebrated a wintry Yule.  That is a part of us too.  Yet in our great southern land, the landscape is vast and often sunburned.   Our sense of Christmas is traditional as well as tongue-in-cheek.  Australia invites us to spend the 25th on a beach with chicken drumsticks, or in the bush on a verandah with a cool white.  Pool parties are a favourite too (although any gathering that puts together family, water,and ice-buckets is bound to end in squeals).  Hot days with songs of snow, sweaty men in Santa suits, and sleighs drawn by Kangaroos form part of our Oz twist on Christmas.

For us, summer, Christmas and New Year, collide into one long languid month of holiday.  We get to catch up with family under sprinkler hoses, enchanted by the spell of balmy evenings.  Our youth escape torturous periods of bonding by disappearing to music festivals.  The air is scented with backyard chargrilling and exotic Frangipani flowers.  Welcome to the sub-topics. They say the sun goes to your head here.  We’ve definitely been touched by our environment.  Oz Christmas is upside down and mixed up.   Tradition and irreverence dine at our tables.

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