My typical Christmas Day is a writing day. When I get tired of writing, I watch DVDs, for I can’t face Christmas advertisements. This is one of the many effects of being Jewish in Australia.
This year, however, some friends invited me to their Christmas lunch. It was very, very Australian. There were prawns in the salad and bacon in half the other dishes, which still left me a very generous main course of cold turkey, hot vegetables and a salad full of NZ spinach. How to summarise the rest? Three types of ham, four different desserts (including trifle and pudding), two bowls of fresh cherries, cheese and biscuits, dried fruit, crackers, much to drink, presents under a gum tree, and being chuffed we had the park shelter so we didn’t have to worry about rain. We finished with a quiet cup of tea.
The temperature has been comfortable all week and was in the twenties on Monday, which meant my welcome to Christmas outside was the best it could be. No beach, for I live inland. Instead we were on the lake shore, at the foot of Black Mountain. No bushfires, but many bushflies.
My Christmas presents were perfect. A calendar with pictures of Antarctica taken by a friend who’s been there, a tin of chocolate covered gingerbread, a dress, a fan from Indonesia, and a book (three novels by Patricia McKillip – my friends know me very well).
My favourite moment was one of the children (who is at the early end of primary school) working her way through a box of nibbles I brought and assessing them all. She loved the crystallised fruit I made, but needed to get a drink to go with the ginger. She would’ve eaten all the chocolate-covered peel I made, given a chance, and she was forbidden from eating the Star Wars toffees by her uncle and father who announced “They’re for us”. They crunched down heavily on Darth Vader to demonstrate. She took a spoon made of citrus-flavoured toffee instead, and, when she wanted to try something else, gave its remnants to her younger sister, who took great pleasure eating custard with it. She ate more spoon than custard which, given she’s a lover of custard, was a big compliment.
For once (because Christmas is not easy for Aussie Jews, normally) Christmas Day was one of the best in my year. It became even better when we were adopted by another family.
Here are some pictures of our celebration, so that you can enjoy it too. I’ve left my friends out (except for a faceless Santa!), for they might not want to invite me back if I tell the whole world who they are!