This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
I’m back! So wonderful after two years of shielding due to Covid to enjoy some carefree travel and the Australian Christmas traditions – whoopee!
However, to be strictly honest, I’m not exactly backpacking this time. Somehow I don’t think flat beds and a bar on a 380 airliner qualifies. But in my defence, as one gets older (and 80 Is not too far away), some things in life are essential – and a stand up bar on an aeroplane is magic for this aged traveller!
Having duly arrived in Queensland (a whole new territory for me – my son recently moved from New South Wales – I am gleefully experiencing ‘Chrissie’ in Australia. Aussies put an ‘i’ and an ‘e’ on the end of everything – charming but occasionally muddling! For example: Postie, Tradie, Barbie, Veggie, Toastie and Arvie (arfternoon!) It takes a while, but you’ll get it.
My first visual shock here were the Christmas decorations. The shopping parking lots are full of them, but they are nothing like the dear old curmudgeonly British ones. Or for that matter the Asian ones which are so over the top with bling and sickly sweetness you feel as if you are drowning. Here in
QLD, where men are men, we have traditional Aussie all-male reindeer bristling with muscles, lit up and encircling the cars. Prancer and Dancer leaping over Jeeps and surfboard jalopies – not quite what I had expected.
But what of good old Father Christmas I can hear you asking? All I can think is the North Pole is so far away he doesn’t visit often and if he doesn’t have his own transport air fares are prohibitive. I did spy a lone Father Christmas in one mall but he certainly was not traditional. His muscles were rippling under his Santa suit and perish the thought his beard was cotton wool; he had a good tan and I swear to God he was an out of work lifeguard! I’m sad to say my spoilsport of a daughter in law refused to let me sit on his knee and tell him what I wanted and I was led away gently… with a promise of a gelato.
So it seems that Down Under, Father Christmas gets second billing. The big stars are the Elves on the Shelves. They are so popular that when we went to buy one there wasn’t a single one left! Panic set in and we ended up buying them on the Black Market. For an exorbitant amount of dollars! Take note: the wise virgin fills her vessels early.
Not to have an elf is a cardinal sin – they are more important than Father Christmas himself though, given the choice, I’d go for that Father Christmas I mentioned earlier.
Anyway I digress. I must get back to the elves. Apparently one of the Christmas traditions on the 1st December is that elves magically appear in Australian homes and every night they move from room to room and do incredibly naughty things!
It is up to the parents once the children are asleep to move these pesky elves from one place to another and dream up more and more appalling naughtiness.
I’m not quite sure what happens on Christmas morning but presumably the elves will be found wearing bathing costumes, elflessly drunk after imbibing too much of the local Bundi.
Have a wonderful festive time everyone – whatever your own Christmas traditions are! BPG x
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