A “Traditional” Christmas in My House
Christmas time is always that magical time of year, and it’s not just that one day – December 25th- that makes it special. Rather, I think the buildup to Christmas is most important – and a lot of fun!!
I’m Greek, so my family mixes both Australian traditions with Greek traditions, but mainly most of the traditions are our own…
I live in Adelaide, South Australia, and in early to mid November, we have the Christmas Pageant. This is where there’s about a 3 hour procession of floats of all different themes parade through the city streets, and end up outside of the David Jones store (it used to be the John Martins store until it closed down in 1997). David Jones houses one of Adelaide’s most sacred Christmas spots – the Magic Cave.
Visiting the Magic Cave is a wonderous site to behold!! Always located in the toys department, the Magic Cave is like the North Pole, with all these foam stalactites (pointy things that hang from the ceiling) that look like ice (or snow at the very least!), and there are all these fun mirrors in there. There are little merry go rounds and you can even ride on Nipper and Nimble, two of the big rocking horses that are in the Christmas Pageant. There are lucky dips that you can get too…. but the best thing about the Magic Cave is that you get to see Santa and you can sit on his lap and have your photo taken with him!!
A few weeks later (depending on when the Pageant is held), we put up our Christmas tree and we decorate the house with streamers and other little decorations.
As our family’s tradition dictates, the week before Christmas our house transforms into something akin to a bakery. For years and years my mother has thrown herself into a Christmas frenzy.
We always make Christmas cookies, but we call them “Mrs Brigg’s Christmas Biscuits.” (Until I was 2 years old, we used to live in a big block of flats and one Christmas, Mrs Briggs, one of the residents there, gave my mum the recipe for her delicious biscuits). We bake these about a week and a half before Christmas making them into Christmas shapes, and then a few days later, we ice them with coloured icing sugar and other little sugary treats, like hundreds and thousands and melted chocolate and little jubies, just to name a few…
We also make ‘Spuds’, White Christmas, Apricot Balls, Chocolate Crackles, and heaps of other sweets!! One of my favourite recipes is my mum’s Christmas cake – with lots of Bundaberg Rum! – YUMMM! )
The Saturday before Christmas, we usually go to our local football oval for “Carols By Candlelight”, where lots of people from our community go and sing. Some bands and some choirs are usually there, and there are little sideshows for kids Last year however, I went to the Carols By Candlelight that was held in Elder Park, with some work-buddies. This one is the biggest gathering in South Australia, and usually, they bring in big name performers to come and sing. Last year we had CDB come )
Christmas Day often starts at about 7am, when we are woken up by my youngest sister (there are three kids in our family). We go to the lounge and see what Santa has brought us, and then we wake up our Dad – mum is usually awake because she makes the Greek pasta dish called “Basticho” for the lunch that we’ll be having with her side of the family – but more about that later.
We wake up Dad and we all go into the lounge and put on some Christmas music, or we’ll have the radio on 5AD cos they play Christmas Carols in the morning. We unwrap our presents and then we muck around with them for a while, before we get all the wrappings and put them in the rubbish. We crack a few bon-bons before we go and get dressed.
Our Christmas lunch is with my mother’s side, and we usually rotate it between her siblings, although my aunt and my mum are the ones who tend to have it the most. We usually have an excessive amount of food because everyone brings something and we all tend to overstock (there are like, 22 people, but we always have enough for about 50 or 60!!)
We eat, talk, catch up on news and we play some sporty games like volleyball. We then have dessert (like icecream, Christmas cake and Cheesecakes and my mouth is already watering!!!!!) We have a park nearby, and after helping to clean up the dishes, us cousins go for walks.
Because Christmas in Australia falls in the Sunmmer, we always have to stay nice and cool and put plenty of sunscreen on so that we don’t get burnt. When we were younger, we used to have waterfights with waterballoons and waterpistols, although we’ve grown up now, a waterfight isn’t out of the question!!
Christmas lunch lasts for a few hours and then when everyone leaves, we go to my Dad’s mum’s place and we stay with them for a while before coming home and eating some leftovers.
Boxing Day (December 26th) is a public holiday which I believe is just another excuse to recuperate from over-indulgence!!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Safe, Happy and Prosperous New Year!! )))))