In December in Australia the temperature often rises to thirty degrees celsius yet many domestic goddess’s still prepare a hot Christmas lunch in the name of ‘tradition.’ Turkey, ham, roast vegetables, sweet green peas with lashings of rich gravy “because that’s what her mother did”, are served as scrumptious Christmas fare. Nowadays more and more Aussies opt for cool, fresh seafood. Despite costing an arm and a leg many a good woman’s sanity is saved. Even more people choose to "go out" for lunch, to restaurants, on cruises, in hotels where people pay through the nose to avoid the drudgery while in reality they're paying the double time wages of the staff … is that why staff are so welcoming?
As a kid Christmas lunch was a stuffed roast chicken, roast potato, roast sweet potato, roast pumpkin and green peas or beans. Chicken was a luxury. Dad was the "bread winner"entitling him to be served the white meat while the kids got the “dark meat.” In those days chickens weren’t pumped full of chemicals to keep the meat of the entire bird whiter than white. The breast meat was white, the drumsticks, wings and the rest of the bird was a darker colour … real chicken fed real food. There was no lavish, over the top, razzamataz that goes on today. The kids all played on the street, showing off their ‘new’ bikes, prams, scooters and toys, busting to be first one up and out while still in pyjamas – kids were safe on the street.
People were of limited means, credit cards didn’t exist. If you couldn’t afford it or parents couldn’t make it, conjure it up or Mum lay-by it, you didn’t get it. For weeks prior, Dad worked on secret projects down in the shed, his inner sanctum, where we had to knock before entering. I realised in later years Dad must have been painting that bike pink, refurbishing that dolls house, or renovating a found object. Late at night we’d hear Mum pedalling away on the Singer treadle sewing machine, where, if we happened to venture out on the pretext of a glass of water or a bad dream, covers would be thrown over stuff, lights would be hastily switched off depriving us of a glimpse of what was going on!
The first memory of this season is around three to four years old, that's me ready to go and see Santa standing in front of the armoire begging Mum to not wear "my irons" ... I wore callipers as a kid ...
Another childhood memory of this season, a couple of years later was creeping, out late at night, probably unable to sleep with anticipation, and seeing Dad hurl a blanket over two small rattan chairs – I always thought Santa had already been and Dad must have spoken to him, that one baffled me for years.
The memories are flooding back – there’s a host of Christmas’ to remember and to forget, see you same time next year for more memories of this season!