Sunday, December 10, 2006

I’m dreaming of a warm Christmas

When I moved to New Zealand, there was nothing that was harder for me to get used to than this: A warm Christmas.

I come from a long line of “Northerners”—people born and raised in the northern tier of US States. We’re a people for whom “winter” must mean snow, ice and cold. Christmas there doesn’t always have fresh snow, but most years there’s snow on the ground (even if it is grey or yellow, if ya know what I’m sayin’), so it qualifies as “white” (in our opinion, anyway).

Then I moved to
New Zealand where Christmas is a summer holiday celebrated by many people with a BBQ and maybe a trip to the beach. A barbecue on Christmas? If I believed in hell, then surely that would be one of the signposts on the road to it.

As it turns out, a summer Christmas is great—if you have a houseful of people they can be outside as well as inside so no one feels crowded. And a barbecue is much easier than a typical roast Christmas dinner. Entertaining and get-togethers, then, are much easier with a summer Christmas.

Still, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. Without the snow and cold I can’t quite get into the mood. More years than not, I can’t even be bothered putting up a Christmas tree.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing, I must add: Since I don’t “feel” Christmas, I don’t miss my friends and family who are so far away. Instead I can just enjoy the time I spend with my in-laws, even if a headache the next day is the price I pay.

I’ve often said that if I’d grown up in a milder climate in
America the transition to a New Zealand Christmas wouldn’t have been so jarring. But I didn’t, and it was. After eleven years, I think I’m beginning to get that hang of a summer Christmas, even if it means sacrificing the snow, ice and cold. Hm, I think I can live with that…

1 comment:

lost in france said...

I, too, prefer a warm Christmas. I had enough of the cold ones in the Midwest growing up.

Here in Toulouse, it is usually mild but not warm at Christmas.