Anne B

Ideas for Christmas

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    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.

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    Christmas is very different here and you just have to expect that, we have come back after 5 years away and to be honest I am really looking forward to a quite xmas on our own, in fact I cannot wait for a bit of a break, (hopefully) I used to miss the cold xmases in the UK but now I am back I don't miss the cold one bit, that's why we came back here, yes xmas is not the same when you cannot keep warm all snug inside with all the family, but its just as good here outside in the sun having a BBQ and a beer, its what you get used to really. We too have exhausted the Brewery and the pageant but luckily my kids were just babies when we last went so im looking forward to doing at least the pageant again, xmas is more about friends here I think or just staying together as a little family, unlike in the UK where we used to spend a lot of time travelling and visiting people for xmas, and to be honest I hated it and was sick of the travelling part, sorry but Im not much help with the ideas on making it better its what you make it I suppose xx

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    Guest Claire-n-tel

    there are a few pantomines about.....have a look here....

    http://www.theatreguide.com.au/current_site/whatson/whatson_list.php

     

    exhibition centre Xmas Gift & Craft Fair 30 Nov- 1 Dec

    Fullarton Park Centre 16-17 nov plus there are quite a few christmas fairs in schools during nov, have seen posters up

     

    there is always the carols by candlelight at elder park, and just found this one....In Gawler there are Carols in the Park 15th Dec from 7.15pm - 9.45pm at Pioneer Park from 5pm onwards free entertainment, jumping castle, face painters, a climbing wall, http://www.gawlercarols.com/

     

    Why don't you have a bbq before christmas and just invite some friends and neighbours, even if you don't really know them (maybe you soon will!)

     

    How old are your children now? maybe send some invites out to all meet on the beach for some rounders or something? Maybe you could even suggest to their class teacher having a chris cringle?

     

    As for Christmas day, well i guess you've either got to suck it up and know what to expect or bail out, tell the in-laws that you are going to have a different day this year and will see them boxing day or something?

     

    Do you guys camp at all? If not it is not expensive to get your own simple kit (gumtree is your friend!) Caravan parks all over the place are a hive of activity in the holidays with lots of kids of all ages around to make friends with, you might even still be able to book a cabin somewhere. maybe even do that actually over the christmas (you could even invite the in laws?!)

     

    Try to come up with a "new tradition" this year!

     

    Hope you have fun what ever you decide

     

    Claire

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    We would love to go away for Christmas but the in-laws are getting older so we feel obliged to do the family thing on Christmas Day. If we can get them to come to ours we might be able to force some board games or card playing - but we will probably have a hard job of it. My husband amazingly had never played cards as a child and didn't know any games when I met him!

     

    Interesting to see there are some pantomimes on but unfortunately none are very near to us (Kapunda, Surrey Downs, Strathalbyn, Stirling).

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    We'll be going to the pantomime at TTG again this year, I think it's Cinderella this time. It will be our third time and the children really enjoy it (as do we!). I can thoroughly recommend it, it may not be on the scale of the UK productions but they put a huge amount of effort in and it's wonderful fun for the kids. We go for something to eat first and then spot the xmas lights on the long drive home. As has already been said, xmas here is a different thing to the UK but I'm ok with that. We still go to carol concerts, xmas parties etc but it's just not as frantic and commercial as the UK.

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    Guest Claire-n-tel

    Ultimately Christmas is what you choose to make it, ok it's different here (but remember things are never exactly as you remember them) but this is your life and where you live and you can either make it work for you and embrace it or end up dreading it every year and feeling deprived.

     

    There are lots of things you can do, maybe with a bit more effort, but if you want good times and good memories get out there and make them! :wink:

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    Sounds to me like you've answered your own question - cut the plug off the TV, avoid the in laws and move somewhere with community spirit.

     

    Christmas is odd here as despite the heat, its still full of snowy cards and red Santa suits. Embrace the heat - take a tent, firewood and some good wine and wake up on Christmas morning on a deserted beach with no one else in sight and no fuss over cooking some dried out turkey. Its a wonderful way to spend Christmas.

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    Even after 14 years we cannot get use to the hot Christmas, it does not even remotely feel like Christmas and is really difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. We always (when at our home) have a traditional turkey roast, eat inside at the dining table, best dinner service and cutlery set out, air con cranked down to sub-zero, Christmas LP's on the turntable. When the gifts come out from under the tree we do a 'guess the present' and giving, some times very obtuse, reasons for our guess , we play board games which tend to include the group more rather than the individuals, like scattergries ( please correct that one for me Jim), fact or crap and Pictionary using a white board, mind you the rules on all these are changed and/or abused to suit the situation and mood.

    Has anyone ever been to or organised a progressive dinner party? this is a good way of meeting friends of friends, it would need to be adapted to make it a during the day thing and include the kids. Also what about a car treasure hunt?

    If any thing else comes to mind I will let you know, but personally we will be freezing this year as we are off to the UK, which has a severe winter predicted, and just to rub it in we are going across to Austria for a bit of skiing and a look at the Christmas markets Ho Ho Ho!

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    If any thing else comes to mind I will let you know, but personally we will be freezing this year as we are off to the UK, which has a severe winter predicted, and just to rub it in we are going across to Austria for a bit of skiing and a look at the Christmas markets Ho Ho Ho!

     

    That sounds great - I would love to have a proper white Christmas one day, somewhere like Austria or Canada - deep snow, raging log fire!!!

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