For the first time, I was away from home and family for Christmas. Those that know me may know that Christmas for my family has often been full of drama – but sadly not the type you’d like at this time of year! This one however was full of lots of laughs, glorious sunshine and a stuffing of Christmas dinner complete with BBQ. James and I were so lucky to have the company of the Pike family for the festive period. This meant that James was in fact with his extended family, but I too felt like I was.
Three days of festivities commenced on Christmas Eve with a not so traditional (particularly in our part of the world) BBQ in the garden. We sat with beers and burgers and both found it quite difficult to believe that it was almost Christmas. Normally, I would imagine Christmas Eve to be cold, probably wet and spent either snuggled up in pjs and two pairs of slipper socks with a cuppa, or the traditional British version of going into town and drinking yourself silly whilst singing Christmas songs into the early hours of the 25th morning. To add to our Aussie experience, we went out to see the local Christmas lights. You may think this is quite a normal activity at home too, however in England I have never been invited into a complete strangers house to check out the Snowman in his bath tub. We played in the snow machine and saw Santa drive by in his retro motor whilst throwing sweets to the children. I was realising already by this point that I quite liked warm and friendly Aussie Xmas.
The celebrations got no less confusing for us Pommies as we woke to 37 degree heat to find that Santa had been, even for us! The Pike’s did an outstanding job of serving dinner for 18 – in a fairly orderly fashion considering the number! In keeping with an important tradition, I stuffed myself until I could barely move and then of course moved on to not one, but four bowls of pudding. We also found new traditions not just in the form of a scrummy cream and chocolate dessert, but in playing garden games and drinking rum punch and piña coladas into the evening still smothered in factor 50 sun cream! This sort of tradition of a summer Christmas I could certainly get used to!
Christmas with children around really makes the day magical too. We were kept excited and also exhausted by little Abby and her many Christmas gifts. James found a new best friend in someone that wanted to play lego and enjoyed Star Wars just as much as he did.
Boxing Day brought even more face filling as we headed for a Supershake before spending the afternoon watching the hilarious new film Sing. I’m not sure it’s out in the U.K. yet, but when it is it’s well worth a watch!
The only small dampener on the festivities were the calls home. We made plenty of phone and FaceTime calls over these days and each one brought a pang of sadness that we couldn’t be with these special people in our lives. I’ve never been religious, but Christmas is still a time that brings families together and I think it makes you thankful for the year gone by and the people that have been with you through it. We received calls at odd times of the day for us, with drunk family members at our 8am and wishing people a Happy Christmas morning when they were trying to sleep still! It didn’t quite make us ready to go home, just a teeny bit homesick. I’m certainly very thankful for modern day technology and for the ability to talk to loved ones as if they were only down the street and not in fact the other side of the world.
I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that our Christmas wouldn’t have been anywhere near as lovely without the welcoming arms of our wonderful hosts. We went very quickly from backpackers to five star luxury and home comforts and we are more grateful for that than we can out into words. The rest of our time in Sunbury will have to be covered in another post, but we had very Happy Holidays in Melbourne and look forward to welcoming you guys to a cold English Christmas at some point in the future, if we can ever convince you it’s not as awful of an idea as it sounds!