…and I say Father Christmas by crikey! And if your an Aussie – you’d better get this RIGHT! I’ll be buggered if I’m going to kowtow to commercialism, and the Americanising of how it is WE see Christmas – here in Oz.
If I here one more shopping announcement for the kiddies to get their photo with ‘Santa’ I’m going to do my ‘nana ferchrissakes! Don’t we hold faithful to what we grew up with anymore? I’m going to confuse the buggery out of my boy, by the time he hit’s pre-school. And only because I hold to that wot was… for me – wayyyyyy back when – an Australian Christmas. The kind you can cook eggs on… you know – where it’s so hot outside you can fry an egg on the bonnet of your car. The kind of Christmas that would have had you melt into a waterhole, the way hot stubbies of beers melt into their ice slurrie. That blissful “AHHHHHHhhhhhh” sound should be audible for miles, such is the pleasure.
The down side of course is the flys, ants, mozzies and cockroaches… but your not a REAL Australian if you can’t fight these buggers off and juggle a cold beer with one hand, whilst turning the meat on the bbq with the other. If your REAL good – you’ll have trained your kids (and other half) or house-mates, to do these things for you. If you’re GOD like, your trusty Blue Heeler, Redcloud Kelpie or Dingo is taking care of these things for you, whilst in between keeping you in good supply of cold babies – oops – STUBBIES (what WAS I thinking) and Samboy chips (sighhhh – crisps then… bloody hell!)!
Ahem… Christmas in Oz? Well, it just isn’t an Australian Christmas if you haven’t dusted off the beach cricket set and had yourself a WHACK up and down the beach and shouted out HOWZAT! or WIDE! or Oh dear – hit him in the goolies! If you’re out in the sticks you’ve done it out the back of the shearing, hay or tractor shed. Or worse – out in a sun hardened , stubble coated paddock after the crop’s been taken off… chasing a ball across THAT bit of ‘dirt’ – hurts! If your in the suburbs, or the country towns you’ve pinched your neighbours sprinkler and the kids are racing in and out of it. You’ve WHACKED the ball up and down the street, the vacant lot, or across the park. You’ve taken out at least one window – cos somehow you’ve gotten your hands on a REAL cricket ball (think of a baseball – just heavier and red) from somewhere, and you and your mates have gone and done a ‘runner’ – off down the street.
It’s hot, sticky or dry, and the air-conditioner is playing up. If you HAVE an airconditioner that is. If not – all the windows are open in your house, and your parked outside under the shade of the veranda. Kids fetch cold drinks for you, and you bribe them with the endless supply of Funny Fingers or Twin Poles (flavoured ice water treats) you’ve slyly hoarded in the back of the chest freezer you’ve got out back – in the shed. Never ceases to amaze me how each year the kids forget where you’ve hidden them. Makes me laugh when the finally figure it out as their not kids anymore then – just a bunch of soon to be adults who are becoming just as sneaky as you. The next year – no Twin Poles – at least not in any place THOSE little buggers can find ’em eh?!
Watermelon. Red stains the front of nearly every household members shirt. Spitting is a common sight as no-one wants to swallow the pips/seeds. Soon the spitting contest starts, and we all stop by to see who spits the pip the furtherest… that person getting the biggest and often last slice of the watermelon – well… for that day at least. It’s a FEAST you have with watermelon, an absolute mess must be made and you should tuck into your watermelon with gusto. Everyone tries to gabble around a slice, words would need to spat sideways as you stuff yourself and get a last cheeky shot in about your mate and his apparent lack of skill with the bat. The next thing is a mad dash up the street as your mate chases you with said bat, offering to show you his ‘skill’. You of course, decline – your legs are working far to hard to take advantage of such a kindly offered ‘opportunity’ – and you keep running – as any smartarse would anyway.
Chrissie Tucker. Ham. Chicken. Mince pies. Christmas Pudding, complete with custard and two dollar coins (now… used to be a hay-penny for my Dad and a twenty cent piece for me, and a fifty cent piece for my nephews when they came along… Hey – that’s inflation for you!). If you’re lucky it’s a coastal existance you lead and your catching fresh crayfish, prawns, crab, barra Salmon – the list goes on. Work gatherings take place and people make wallys of themselves under the influence and let off steam. Families argue over who’s cooking what (sometime many times if you in my family) and ‘too many cooks’ almost cause World War III.
tucker is nearly ALWAYS delicious… except for the new family member who may have just ‘married’ into the family and is on their first Chrissie experience – away from the sanctuary that was their home. Their the Christmas virgin of the house and it’s ALL new to them.
The rustling of Christmas paper wrappings as it’s torn off pressies. The ooooh and ahhhhhs as spectators watch their family members receiving their pressies. Dad’s play Father Christmas in those families that have Dads. Grandads generally do too. Mum’s pull off an amazing transformation in those families that don’t… they can be Father Christmas too, or simply his helper. Either way – kids eye’s grow big when they spot the pile on the floor on Christmas morning. And depending whether you succumb to a pine tree (plastic or otherwise) they can often find them under the shade of something vaguely tree-ish like. Stocking might be bulging, pajamas showing – day clothes have yet to make an appearance – people are generally smiling, and a family is happy in it’s Christmas – for one more year.
And often – in my head, I think of all those I know who aren’t sharing in the joy that seems to be stuffed under my Christmas Tree, and wish like hell they could… for just one day. In all honesty, I don’t hold much of a space for the bulldust attached to Christmas. I’ve missed many doing my job, seen many who’ll never experience the love they deserve, and helped many over come some real painful times at this time of the year. I enjoy Christmas with my family primarily because of one ‘simple’ thing – I have my family to enjoy it with. I’m extremely thankful for that.
Each year at about this time: Paul Kelly’s “How to make gravy” (Lyrics) climbs into my brainbox and takes up residence for a small time. I know many people who live their Christmas lives in similar circumstances for amazingly shitty reasons.
So – given all this – I wish you and yours a good Christmas and a better New Year. Smile, love, laugh, make Merry (do whatever) and think happy thoughts people…I reckon the world has enough bad in it – don’t you think?
Belongum – Out!