Christmas 2016 is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Not because it was the first Christmas I had featuring the Australian half of my family, and not because it was my first Christmas outside of the UK, but because it was Christmas that took place in the middle of summer.
Rather than piling on the layers and filling myself with Bailey’s & Hot Chocolate, I was jumping in a swimming pool and watching the sunset whilst on the beach. It was odd. It was surreal. It was different.
I had a fantastic time though. My family out here are extremely thoughtful and giving which is extremely humbling. They always make me feel welcome and I am so grateful, and I really want to thank them for that. Between the two elements I spent time with on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they really shaped this year into a special one.
On the other hand, it was also a very difficult Christmas. I have spent Christmas Day away from my family before, but in those situations I was around close friends. This year, not only was I away from my parents, I was also away from my friends. Those I love dearly were on the other side of the world, beginning their celebrations 11hrs after I had begun mine.
It’s not just the time difference that makes it tough. It’s the awkwardness that comes with trying to get in touch. The near-miss phone calls, the voice messages, the snapchat videos… I’m used to Christmas traditions and making phone calls to different family and friend elements throughout the day, something that is much harder to do on the other side of the world.
It also means New Years is going to be odd too. I mean, when I enter 2017 it will be 1pm in the UK… get your heads around that!
Still, it did reach a peak of 38° on Christmas Day in Melbourne. There may not have been any pigs in blankets, but there was still joy, happiness and great food. There was also the beach.
A very Aussie Christmas indeed.