Christmas - without the 'Christ'

I just want to warn you that in the next few days I am going to go Scroogy-grump with Christmas gift blog post! In preparation, so you don't think I'm the meanest mother in the world I want to post about Santa, and how the our family Christmas traditions are evolving. I am not Christian, or at all religious (in fact, I get more deeply athiest by the year), but I really love the sense of tradition that comes with doing the same things at the same times every year and the family rituals that develop around that. I also like being able to have my own personal thanksgiving (we don't have Thanksgiving in Australia!) and that means, for me, making time to celebrate the important people in my life.

Asher will be two-and-a-half this Christmas, which means, he was eighteen months last Christmas and six months the one before that. Which means, I think, that this will be the first Christmas he has any hope of remembering. That also means that we are still creating family traditions and rituals!

I have never had a Christmas tree in my own home. We always had them when I was a kid, but there's something hard-to-put-my-finger-on that I don't really like about them. I'd like to say it was purely environmental concern but I suspect there is something else to it as well. What I do like is the tradition of some seasonal decorations and so we have developed our own thing - we go for a walk and find ourselves some 'Christmas sticks' which we decorate, with varying degrees of aesthetic success. This year I'm looking for some spray glitter to jazz up the sticks we find. I wish I could find a picture of last year's stick for comparison purposes, rather than only this really blurry one!

So, all of our Christmases have involved the three of us heading up the coast to see my family at Crowdy Head. This means a four hour drive and staying in their big crazy house in a tiny town with a harbour, two beaches and a fish co-op. Crowdy Head seems to known only to yachties, keen surfers (the break isn't great but it's a stopping-point on the way north) and fishermen. We spend out time up there eating and drinking, walking around the headland or the rocks and going to the beach.

Christmas eve we put Asher's Santa sack out for Santa to fill, and then during the night Santa comes by and fills it up with goodies. So far the tradition seems to be that Santa brings

  • A new outfit

  • A book

  • Some toys (usually of the handmade variety - last year it was a bag of wooden vegetables as well as a bouncy ball and a few other bits and bobs)

  • Something good to eat (when Asher was 6 months old he brought organic rusks!)

...which I think is pretty restrained for an Australian Santa.

On Christmas morning, just like when I was a child, Santa presents are opened up, then comes breakfast, then comes family presents, followed by lunch and an afternoon of lolling around. Sanjay gets so frustrated during the opening of the family presents - they have to be opened one-by-one in turn, and everyone has to spend a bit of time ooh-ing and ah-ing over every gift, so the process takes a fair while.

So far, this is working out for our new little family. Sanjay's family don't complain to me about us not spending Christmas with them, because, to be fair, we do spend every single Hindu festival with them. I think my dad probably misses out a bit, but he will usually volunteer to work on Christmas day to allow other doctors to spend time with their families. I think he feels like he spent so much of my childhood caught up with work that he can't ask us to give up the other things that we want to do at Christmas for him - but perhaps that's just my hopeful interpretation?

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