WordPress’s “snowflakes” have some bloggers thinking about ways to include those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Falling flower petals maybe? That would be nice. But I don’t mind snowflakes at Christmas, and I suspect I am talking for many others Down South.
Our traditions have come from the Northern Hemisphere. We try to adapt them to our hot weather, but even food is often the traditional hot roasts and plum puddings. Poor Santa has to struggle with the full red and white rig, Christmas cards show sleighs in the snow and many tree decorations are sparkly snowflakes. And we seem to like it that way.
I grew up with Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas”and my dream was to have a white Christmas. I think I am speaking for many of us in the south.
Well, I had my white Christmas in 1985, and it was everything I thought it should be.
My sister was living in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts with her husband and her young daughter. I had been doing the Grand Tour of Europe and I flew to Boston to be with them at Christmas. My Mum and Dad were also staying with them. You can imagine what a lovely time it was [although very cramped in their little apartment!].
Well, Christmas there was unlike anything we had experienced. Now days lots of houses in Melbourne are decorated with lights and signs and blow-up Santas. Not then. I have always been a sucker for lights that flash and to see the trouble people went to in the States was an eyeopener. There were even Santas on the roof tops!
The shops were all decked out in Christmas things and not only looked great but smelt amazing, spiced candles and potpourri. I remember a candy store in an old house that only sold Christmas lollies. Mum still has the sleigh she bought there, although the chocolates that it held have long gone.
And yes, it snowed!
Scraping ice off the windshield would be a common experience for many of you, but for Dad it was a novelty.
My niece made snow angels and tried her hand at skiing. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that I had no idea what snow angels were.
It was cold like nothing else we had experienced. Of course we had the wrong shoes and coats, and of course we loved it! After Christmas Mum, Dad and I went to Toronto, stopping off at Niagara Falls, where we saw chunks of ice tumbling over the Falls. I didn’t know it could get cold enough to almost freeze a waterfall. The concrete viewing area was so slippery with ice I worried about falling over the edge.
However, my favourite memory is of the Christmas tree. Last year I posted about the daggy Christmas trees and hand made decorations that were part of my childhood. In Shrewsbury we had the real deal.
My sister had made friends with a chap from the Post Office. Jerry had a cabin with a little bit of land forested with pine trees. We got to choose our own tree, chop it down, tie it to the car and take it home. It was a “proper” tree, with branches that came out straight and got smaller as they got to the top. Just like the Christmas cards!
We were given decorations by other new friends. Each year they had a different colour theme for their tree. We were slightly aghast at this as we were still using mangy tinsel from many years before! And the idea of co-ordinating the colours on the tree, so common now, was unheard of then. They generously gave us last year’s baubles.
You can imagine the fun we had decorating this tall tree in the little flat in Shrewsbury. But if you look closely you can see the decorations made by my niece at kindergarten 🙂
There was eggnog and carol singers. We walked through the snow to visit people who welcomed us warmly into their homes and hearts. We marvelled at the decorations and the generosity of friends. And we enjoyed the love and company of each other.
So, I had my Christmas card Christmas, and I don’t mind snowflakes and reindeer. Just make sure that, however and whatever you celebrate over the next week or so, you are safe, healthy and loved. Hugs to you all x x x