Celebrating Christmas in 36 degrees is completely different from last years’ white Christmas, so it takes some adapting. Which we did: we traded our Christmas pine tree for a decorated palm tree!
We moved from Europe 2 Australia with our two children six months ago and, with Christmas coming up, we have to build some new traditions.
Different Christmas elements
Some things will be the same, others will be different this year. Here are the things that are most different for us.
Last year we were lucky and had a white Christmas in Europe. It is now summer in Australia and the weather forecast for Christmas Eve is 38 degrees. Hearing ‘White Christmas’ on the radio does feel a bit odd now.
2014: We always buy a real pine tree that we decorate on the 6th of December, which of course this needs to be done after Sinterklaas.
2015: After seeing that a very tiny Christmas tree would easily cost over $ 40, and would probably not survive the heat that we can have in our house anyway, we made the decision to go fake. But then with a different touch: we bought ourselves a palm tree!
A large part of our Christmas tradition is eating nice food with our relatives. Since our relatives are living on the other side of the world we decided that we are also going to do the food part completely different. We are not going to skip the nice food, but we are going to change the scenery. This year we will have a picknick on the beach!
The Netherlands does not have a big Christmas gifts culture, as that is done during ‘Sinterklaas‘. In Germany the gifts are unwrapped on Christmas eve. In Australia this is done on Christmas morning, so that is what we will do as well. After all, it is then still Christmas eve in Germany.
Familiar Christmas elements
Since there are so many differences we did find a need to keep some things familiar.
When moving to Australia we came here with only the bagage that we could take on the airplane, with the exception of two small boxes that we sent by mail. One of these boxes contained our camping gear, the other our Christmas decoration.
The tree decoration:
The advents calender:
This kind of advents calender is a German family tradition that Oliver grew up with. Oliver made the base about five years ago. Each year we hang up new gifts with the numbers 1 through 24 on it. Every day they can open one gift until Christmas. Of course we need to keep this tradition in Australia.
Another German tradition is the baking of cookies. These cookies get exchanged with friends and family, so the cookie jar is filled with many different kinds. This year is the first time that I am baking cookies for Christmas.
Conclusion: maybe not so different after all?
Most importantly we will be spending Christmas in Australia without our parents, siblings and our niece and nephew this year, luckily there is Skype, so we can still ‘see’ and talk to each other over Christmas.
This year the Netherlands is facing a warm Christmas, with expected temperatures of 15 degrees, it will be possible to celebrate Christmas in a T-shirt as well.
Luckily this is Melbourne, where the weather changes very rapidly. After the 36 degrees on the 24th, the weather forecast for Christmas day is 19 degrees and rain. So not too different from The Netherlands or Germany after all!
Merry Christmas everyone!