I don’t know how old I was when I first realised my Christmas did not resemble that of a Hallmark card. But I do remember there was a point when the penny dropped. It was probably around the same time I smugly realised I received all my presents from Santa before kids in the UK or USA, although I didn’t really understand how or why!
I grew up with books, movies and carols that embodied Christmas in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word: children building a snowman, white & snowy landscapes, families sipping hot chocolate around a fire, decorating a Christmas tree freshly cut from the forest, reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh through snow-covered mountains and warmly dressed characters with colourful hats, scarves and gloves.
My reality as a child was a little different. The only snow we saw was artificial frosting sprayed on glass windows. We enjoyed cold drinks by the pool instead of hot chocolate by the fire. Instead of a snowman, we made sandcastles down the beach. We decorated the same plastic Christmas tree each year that was bought on sale one January at Target. And we followed Christmas lunch with a competitive game of backyard cricket.
As an adult my Christmas activities varied, but remained “non-traditional”. You see, I was born in Australia and the only Christmas I knew was a summer one.
Since leaving Australia in 2000, I’ve had my share of unique Christmas experiences and calling London home for most of that time has introduced me to the more traditional winter festivities.
So which do I prefer? I’m not sure…
I asked my friends to help me answer that question and the group seemed split. Everyone agreed a white and wintery scene conveyed a cosy and magical atmosphere, but not everyone wanted to forego a morning swim at the beach and an afternoon of backyard cricket. Some loved the outdoor activities a summer Christmas allowed, whilst others looked forward to warming up around a cosy fire with family and friends. But everyone agreed on one thing – a great Christmas is spent with family and friends, regardless of the location and weather.
So how are they different? This is based on my experience of both an Australian and UK Christmas:
You Know It’s a Summer Christmas When:
You Know It’s a Winter Christmas When:
|You watch the weather forecast every day in December asking “how hot will it be?”||You watch the weather forecast every day in December asking “will in snow?”|
|You cool yourself down with an icy cold beer||You warm yourself up with a glass of mulled wine|
|You meet your mates for Christmas Eve drinks at the pub with the best outside beer garden||You meet your mates for Christmas Eve drinks at the pub – any pub.|
|You get your plastic Christmas tree down from the attic for another year’s use||You get your freshly cut Christmas tree from the guy who appears on your high street once a year|
|You buy a can of ‘fake snow’ to paint a snowman on your window||You build a snowman in the backyard|
|“Kevin Bloody Wilson” features on your Christmas playlist||“The Pogues” feature on your Christmas playlist|
|The relative most likely to host Christmas dinner is the one with a swimming pool in their backyard||The relative most likely to host Christmas dinner is the one with an open fire and 42 inch TV|
|Mandatory Christmas games include Backyard Cricket and Marco Polo||Mandatory Christmas games include Scrabble and Charades|
|Your roast lunch threatens to overheat you||Your roast lunch warms you up|
|You decide between seafood or roast turkey for this year’s menu||You decide between roast turkey, roast beef or roast lamb for this year’s menu|
|You use the outside BBQ to cook some (or all) of your Christmas Lunch to avoid overheating your kitchen||Your guests gravitate to the warmth and welcoming odour of your kitchen|
|Your day involves a bare-foot walk along the beach||You day involves a rugged-up walk in the woods|
|You leave the TV off and spend most the day outside||You schedule dinner around Eastenders, Corrie and the Dr Who Christmas Special|
|Your Christmas Day outfit includes short sleeves and flip flops||Your Christmas Day outfit includes thick knits and Uggs|
|You spend Boxing Day watching the cricket with your mates||You spend Boxing Day watching the football with your mates|
|The adults take a nap after Christmas dinner||The adults take a nap after Christmas dinner|
A summer or winter Christmas? What gets your vote?
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