This year Christmas was different from any other Christmas our family had experienced before.  Firstly, we didn’t ‘feel’ Christmassy – there was no cold, no winter misery.  Instead, we had the most glorious summer weather, sand and the ocean.

Lily really missed the European Christmas: like the cold, short days brightened up by fairy lights and the cosiness of it all.

Throughout the whole of December she talked about our last Christmas back in London.  I just enjoyed the weather and kept thinking it was June (in European terms) and Christmas was still a long way away from us.

In some ways none of us knew how to embrace and joyfully anticipate this summer Christmas we had in 2016.  I think it was due to the fact that we didn’t have all these things that for us Europeans trigger the joyful anticipation of what is coming at the end of December. I shared that thought with our new Aussie friend Gail and she said if you live in Australia long enough you learn to associate this time of the year with other things than we Europeans do. And once those triggers are formed in our heads the upcoming Christmas becomes as exciting as for us Europeans.  For example, Gail said she knows Christmas is coming when cicadas start chirping, when mango season begins, when Christmas beetles  appears and of course when the summer is getting into full swing!

I quite enjoyed the low key preparation.  In fact I was rather happy putting together a few salads, firing the almighty bbq and making the pavlova will be a sufficient Christmas menu.

We spent Christmas eve with John’s parents.  Had an al fresco dinner on our veranda overlooking the ocean, unwrapped a few presents and chatted away the evening in the warm summer night.  It was actually a quite pleasant and enjoyable experience to celebrate ‘wigilia’ in a different way.

Christmas morning

As usual on Christmas morning the kids woke up early and dragged us from our beds soon after.  The morning was fresh and sunny, the ocean just perfect for a morning surf and a few early bird surf dudes had already started celebrating Christmas with a morning surf.  Our kids unwrapped presents and ate lollies for breakfast having loads of fun all the way through.

We had breakfast on our balcony wearing t-shirts and watching the waves rolling and surfers surfing.  By the time we were done the smell f BBQ’s in our local park signalled early lunches were already taking their positions and getting ready for a Christmas picnic and BBQ in the park.

We took Lachie to the park to try his new red car he got for Christmas.  Dressed as Santa and driving a red car he looked just perfect for the occasion and made all the people in the park smile. 

We were invited to John’s brothers place for Christmas lunch but before that we had managed to slip to the beach for a short Christmas dip in the ocean. 

At that point I thought about the UK Christmas – cold and raining and for a change I was glad the rain and cold were a distant memory.

We really enjoyed lunch at Jamie’s place. Each member of the family brought a different dish and then everyone helped themselves to the buffet of different food. We even had Santa's surprise visit.

We couldn’t stay long as we were departing for our discovery tour of the Australian East Coast.

Hot tips for spending Christmas in Australia:

Forget all that you know and enjoy the experience!