Christmas on Becca's Books | Our Christmas by Kelly Rimmer

~ Our Christmas ~

By Kelly Rimmer

Ah, Christmas. The season of giving and family…of rest and relaxation…of blow-flies and sweating through your clothes. Oh, you’re not familiar with the last two? Then welcome to Christmas in Australia, my friend.

For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas falls at the exceedingly inconvenient time of the height of summer. This means that your Christmas Day will bring guaranteed temperatures between “really hot” and “really, really ridiculously hot”. We still have Christmas cards with snow-scenes on them, and icicle themed decorations and lights, but the traditional-style Santa Clause you meet in the shopping centre will be wearing a cooling vest under his red jacket and he’s almost always seated next to an industrial fan.

Some wise Australian families have made peace with the climate and have adopted traditions befitting a warmer Christmas day, ie heavy on salads, light on cooking. Icy seafood is popular, or BBQs, or cold leg ham with a side of coleslaw and potato salad – often followed up with a pavlova topped with chilled summer fruits. Sensible, right?

My family is not one of those families. I mean, we tried it one year – when my aunty served up a truly scrumptious seafood spread with BBQ grilled jacket potatoes. But the following year we reverted to our regular programming, ie as many meats as humanly possible, baked in a hot oven over many hours, with hot vegetables and hot gravy and preferably hot bread. All of this of course topped off by hot Christmas pudding with hot custard.

I remember one particular Christmas when we lived on the flat, arid planes in the middle of New South Wales. My siblings and I were lying under the sole air-conditioning vent in the house, still sweltering, and so we decided to take the air temperature. It was over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). In our house. Under the air-conditioning vent! But undeterred, my mother was still making roast lamb, roast chicken, roast beef and roast pork. Mum is always still cheerful even as she cooks – but I think at least part of her happiness comes from the fact that she’s sweated off an ultra-marathon’s worth of calories as she’s working in those sauna-like conditions. She knows she can eat as much as is humanly possible on Christmas day and will still go to bed several kilos lighter than she woke up.

I have to admit - it takes a particularly devoted form of cognitive dissonance to tuck into a steaming hot, overflowing plate of meat and gravy on a day when it is so hot you can literally scald yourself on the water from a garden hose, but year after year, that is what we do.

And when lunch is over, and the assembled family are lying in a bloated meat-coma on the sea of Christmas wrapping paper that used to be carpet, lamenting the foolishness of our overindulgence, someone almost always says something like ‘maybe next year we could just do seafood?’. It’s as inevitable as the heat itself that the rest of us will shout them down with, ‘Nah, it just wouldn’t be Christmas, would it?’

So from my family to yours, may your Christmas be warm with the love of those in your life, and rich with your history and traditions – no matter how crazy they are.


I'm an Australian contemporary women's fiction author. My novel, Me Without You, was released by Bookouture in June 2014.

You can find Kelly Rimmer on Facebook | Twitter | kellyrimmer.com



1 comment :

  1. "a particularly devoted form of cognitive dissonance" LOL! I'll count my blessings, getting to spend Christmas in rainy old Seattle, bundled up and leaping at the chance for a nice warm cuppa or some hot chocolate with cinnamon <3

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