I know it's a bit early to start thinking about Christmas, but the older I get the grumpier I become at the thought of Christmas. I can't stand all the commercialism, and the fact that it's not cold and it's not England seems to make it worse.
Christmas is different here and as time goes on (this will be my 10th Aussie Christmas) I increasingly miss all the things I associate with a British Christmas (we lived in a village which in hindsight had a great community spirit). The children always went on a school trip to the pantomime in Chelmsford (amid much excitement), then there would be the christmas bazaar with Father Christmas, a christmas play/production at school (a nativity play in nursery and reception), carols in the village church, Christingle with the Cubs, then Christmas Eve there would be carols outside at night round the war memorial followed by mulled wine in the village hall. There would be christmas songs on the radio and TV. Christmas Day we would play board games, cards, charades etc, with plenty of food and drink! Plus there were Christmas meals out with girlfriends and school Mums, and drinks with the neighbours. None of this happens here in Australia, school breaks up too early in December and nothing special is put on, there don't seem to be any pantomimes and I feel I have exhausted anything Adelaide has to offer (Lobethal lights, the lights at the brewery etc). We even tried the local version of candles by candlelight last year and nobody sang, they just chatted and listened to the music in the background, it was quite bizarre with no atmosphere at all.
Last Christmas was unanimously voted the worst we've ever had, we went round the in-laws and everyone except myself and the kids fell asleep after lunch. When my father in law woke up he put the TV on and proceeded to watch SBS world news!
So, to try and counteract all these negative thoughts, has anyone got any good ideas on how to make Christmas a bit better this year?
I really want to make an effort. My kids are too old for the Pageant (which is great) or for visits to Santa (which tend to become an exercise in getting you to buy an expensive photo). We have to spend Christmas Day itself with the in-laws but any ideas for fun Christmasssy things to do before or after would be much appreciated. I don't want to turn into a grumpy Christmas Scrooge this year!
This thread could be used for any ideas for new arrivals too.