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Published: January 3rd 2017
Christmas and New Year...a time for reflection...not necessarily good cheer.
A time for reflection I find. Means different things to many people.
In Oz it is when families get together that either get together often...or only on this day.
To Denise a joyous time...Christmas lights, making cakes for everyone, gleefully wrapping presents, dreaming of family together and happy, a Christmas kinda gal. Even refused to join me on my first trip to China for 5 weeks away 'cause it would have meant not spending Christmas Day with her family. When your family is close I kinda get it. "I'm the Queen of tangy sauces,"
she exclaimed today. "The harissa really lifted the mayonnaise and jazzed up the prawns."
That far away look...her twinkling smile that always makes me smile too.
Yet for me Christmas is different.
We used to gather around the fresh cut tree when I was a child...the sweet smell of fresh cut pine...swapping presents...Church in the morning. There was our mother, my sisters, brother and me. I don't remember my father on Christmas Day...racking my brains but I just can't. And as I got older I don't remember my mother
either...'cause she usually wasn't there. And after I left home at 19, I don't remember my siblings either. Dysfunctional families can do that to you.
But after I married Denise the joy of Christmas was introduced...and when we had our own kids it became a given.
I used to rig bells below the deck connected by fishing line so the kids could hear Santa coming...carrots with bite marks on the front lawn...joyous faces on Christmas morn...so so different to when I was a kid.
Sometimes we'd get a picnic hamper and have Christmas lunch with the kids in a bush cave behind our place...then into the car for the mad rush up the Expressway to Denise's rels...1 to 4 hours away depending on traffic.
And many an Oz Christmas...at least for those on the coast... is spent at the beach. Salt, sand and sunburn!
Then when the kids were old enough Denise & I got into traveling big time and most Christmases I'd prefer to be overseas and Denise was usually with me.
It's not that I do not want to be around for Christmas. I close my practice for at least a month
at that time of year and sometimes it is best to fly out a few days before Christmas to make the most of the time away. Denise thinks it's that I don't get into Christmas like her though.
I remember my first white Christmas in Beijing...the most snow in 138 years on Christmas Day they said.
Then with Denise in Beijing the next time...and with Denise & the grown kids there before we headed off to Tibet the next...face-timing her family from Jinshanling Great Wall.
Christmas Day in Tokyo with my necrotic leg before flying to Patagonia.
Under a tree in a field in Mali eating BBQ goat and watermelon...little kids hiding in the long grass giggling when we passed them our leftovers and a bottle of coca-cola to share.
On Yellow Mountain in China with Denise & the kids...freezing as. We had joined Anna-Louise who had been studying law in China and Simon flew from Canada to join us.
We spent Christmas with Simon in Toronto a couple of years back and he came to Oz for last year's. What a hoot last year when we had him face-timing (supposedly from Canada) his
grandparents and 18 rels and after he hung up, he walked into the room with his girlfriend. Den's parents nearly died!!!
In my work the lead up to Christmas is often helping some separated parents to see their kids...the Family Court clogged with these applications at this time of year. It's not as if the kids don't want to see both of their Mums and Dads, surely!
This Christmas we stayed home. Kinda nice to be able to sit back, check out the Christmas lights, Christmas morning with Denise and Anna-Lou gracing us with her company for a few days, up the Expressway for Christmas at Denise's brother's and a few days staying at her sister's. It's nice to have family to share it with.
I even rang my elder sister and younger brother (both in Queensland) for some Christmas cheer.
But Christmas for many is not like that.
For many the period extends to the New Year.
If any have tried to join the million plus on Sydney shores for the NYE fireworks you know it is a time to marvel...crowds to fear.
But for many a different kind of
In Oz at this time of year houses are often threatened by bushfires. The lottery that we prey is not near.
The Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 that killed hundreds of thousands...the images of the waves wiping out coastlines from Indonesia & Thailand to India & Sri Lanka haunt me still.
This New Years Eve, 39 killed in a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey by a guy dressed as Santa Claus.
Will they ever catch the gunman or gunmen?
I think of many alone at this time...no family or friends to spend it with.
Christmas charities doing their best to bring some cheer.
Shops encouraging the masses to spend, spend, spend...hoping for a record year.
Yet some mean-spirited or fanatical souls trying to prevent Christmas being celebrated in shopping centres or public places at all.
For me Christmas and New Year is a time for reflection.
A time for some silence, solitude, a mince tart or two...a time to wonder what is or will be.
To those in this big World out there...Christmas and New Year...is it a time of cheer?
What do you do at
this time of year ?
Relax & Enjoy,
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