Our Christmas celebrations started in a a truly Australian way – drinks and snacks on the deck of an old “Queenslander” (an iconic architectural style of a timber house with wraparound balconies), surrounded by dogs and horses, listening to the sounds of the Australian bush on a warm steamy night.
The Queenslander, which is the home of our son and daughter’s lovely neighbour Jan, had a typical Aussie bush Christmas tree – a bare stick from a gum tree – decorated with sparkling lights and with presents arranged around its base.
It was a lovely prequel to the following day!
Back home later that evening we set the table for the Christmas feast and did some other last minute decorations and preparations.
Christmas Day started with Champagne and (for some) orange juice and while we opened presents we ate our usual festive breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries and croissants.
The grand dogs were very excited as they knew they would also be receiving gifts. When it was their turn they joyfully ripped off the paper to discover what new toy they were getting.
Lunch was a wonderful family affair – the six of us and Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law, their two adult children and partners and four grandchildren – 16 of us in total.
Everyone brought something to share for lunch and in true Christmas tradition we loaded our plates full of turkey, freshly baked salmon, various vegetarian alternatives including an amazing stuffed baked cauliflower, gorgeous salads, roast potatoes and much more besides.
At the table small envelopes instructed each of us where to sit. When we opened our envelopes there was such a beautiful surprise – organised by our daughter-in-law Sarah. We all received a beaded bracelet and a card which informed us that a donation had been made on our behalf to help save an individual wild animal. Some of us had turtles, others had elephants, polar bears and even sharks. The wonderful thing about these gifts is that you can use them to track “your” animal through online. If you’re interested in doing this next Christmas or for a birthday for that hard to buy for person, search here for myfahlo.com.
After we had recovered somewhat from our long and delicious lunch we played the “present” game where cards instruct you to open, exchange or steal a gift. The great nieces and nephews did a fabulous job of compering the game, delivering the gifts and keeping us smiling and laughing the whole time.
Although there wasn’t much sun we still listened to Tim Minchin’s sentimental but heart tugging song “White wine in the sun” with tears in our eyes – just as we had during the two year’s of Covid when spending Christmas with our loved ones was impossible.
“And if my baby girl
When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
You’ll know whatever comes
Your brothers and sisters and me and your mum
Will be waiting for you in the sun
Whenever you come
Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
We’ll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun….”
Unlike the past two Christmases, we had tears of gratitude and happiness in our eyes rather than of sadness and longing. How marvellous it felt!