Strange and Mystical Topsy Turvy World of the Future, or as other people call it,Australia

Today’s Guest Post is from my blogging oracle, Christian Emmett. He writes a fun and fantastic blog over at Adventures and Insights. He is my Oracle in all things future related because in Australia it is TOMORROW already…how fantastical is that? Over the Christmas Holidays, he wrote 12 lovely pieces on Australian Christmas his way. I invite you to take a peek, they start here. It is a fun way to see how those future  Aussie’s celebrate in a way that is vastly different from us in the Northern Hemisphere. I also found it interesting that 6 White Boomers was not mentioned ONCE!  I was so facinated with his story, I asked him to relay the Holiday Traditions of his ilk here at the Edmonton Tourist. He graciously said YES!  So on with the words!!

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Ah, Christmas. A wonderful holiday comprising of snow, carols, cosy fires, layers of clothing and warm, snuggly blankets at bedtime. Days playing in the cold, white powder, adding carrot noses and stony smiles to round-bellied Christmas mascots, sledding, skating and snowball fights; night spent gathered in houses warmed by fire and human kindness. Trees and houses are decorated with colourful lights and baubles, wreaths of holly and assorted colourful paraphernalia designed to invoke merriment and a sense of generosity that is seemingly absent for 11 and a half months of the year. Oh, and don’t forget the mistletoe! 😉

At least, that’s how I understand Christmas works in the northern hemisphere and in the movies. Living in the future Australia, Christmas is usually something a bit different to what many people expect.

Another Christmas has passed and for me, it’s been a time of celebration. As a lover of Christmas, I look forward to the season for many reasons that are universal at this time of year. And yet, experiencing Christmas in the southern hemisphere provides a stark contrast to the winter wonderland seen by most of my cousins in the northern hemisphere. Take a trip to my neck of the woods during December and you’ll likely be greeted by something like this:

In my topsy-turvy World, Christmas is celebrated during Summer, not Winter. As a result, many families prefer the warm exterior (the beach is extremely popular at this time of year!) as opposed to the cosy interior when it comes to making the most of their Christmas. Camping grounds and beachside resorts are inundated with Christmas patrons, all sharing the famous Christmas spirit of generosity, friendliness and all sorts of merrymaking!

While our northern counterparts are enjoying a hearty meal of roasted meat, steaming vegetables, hot puddings and perhaps the occasional festive sherry to warm their internal organs as well as the cockles of their hearts, we here in the Great Southern Land are usually to be found tucking into a delicious cold salad, chilled ham and some particularly nice seafood as we raise a toast with a glass of wine or cold beer. We do cook, of course – we may be running around in scant clothing but we are masters of the barbecue.

Of course, we decorate like everyone else. Those who prefer the “traditional” touches can buy manufactured trees that mirror the firs of the frosty climates to decorate with lights and baubles. There’s a fair chance though that when visiting an Australian family, you’ll notice presents piled beneath a tinsel-laden palm tree instead. That’s how many of us roll.

I’ve said before on my own blog that I’d love to experience a winter Christmas. There’s a magic attached to it that I expect only someone who’s never properly played in snow can appreciate. At the same time, there’s nothing like an Aussie Christmas. The sunshine, the warmth, the outdoors – all contributing to an environment of good spirits at a time of year when they are best shown to others. We’re not rushing from one warm place to another, there’s no urgency in our travels. It makes it easier for us all to be nicer to each other as we pass in the street.

Yep, there are merits to be seen no matter how you celebrate Christmas. If you’re ever down my way, let me know – there’s always room for one more at our Christmas table in the sun.

This year would be a new tradition!

The last post of 2011 goes to my dear friend Kelly, known to the WordPress world as My Naked Bokkie. Odd name yes, she explained once to me that it was a South African term of endearment for a boy or something…I am SURE I have it wrong. At any rate, I call her Bokkie and she calls me Ed. Bokkie has been through her share of ups and downs (mostly downs) but still manages a laugh and a smile for her friends. To read the prequal to this post, I invite you to take a peek here. To just hang out with Bokkie, visit here. You will see me and Brown Road over there. We like to frequent South Africa for a change of pace now and then.

Now on with the words!

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A new tradition would take place this Christmas!!

I had made that decision a few weeks into December. Why? The main reason was because the last few years had taken ALL the tradition we once had. This year I would find something that was really all about us, about our home, and perhaps about South Africa.

Although we had all decided NO Christmas gifts this year, I still wanted to give everyone “something” for joining our Christmas lunch. I thought about making fudge or coconut ice. I thought about buying little Christmas cakes. I thought about ordering individual cupcakes. /9You can see the baker in me coming out- and running hey?) But these things just didn’t make me warm and fuzzy!

Sometime in November, just a few weeks before, I had been looking into our hill behind our house from the guest bedroom with My Princess. I commented about the amount of bird’s nests in the trees. It was a realistic comment, I would not be exaggerating if I suggested that there must be a couple of hundred.

Do they look like bird's nest to you? This is the view from our guest bedroom.

You see my eye sight has diminished somewhat…. Turns out that these were not bird’s nests at all but Protea flowers, and those trees were specifically Protea Plants. (Let’s credit my knight for bringing that realisation to hand.)

Here is a better photo. Those could very easily be mistaken for bird's nests, don't you think?

Doing a bit of a “google, I” found that there are in fact more than 80 species of Protea Plants, and they don’t all grow in bushes 1 meter high (Clearly my confusion….?) I don’t sound very patriotic, do I? The fact is we learnt about the plant in school, we would see it on excursions, but it didn’t grow in our back yard.

Why so special? The Protea Plant is one of our national symbols for South Africa. It is also the name of our cricket team! As far as I know (I could be wrong), you need to have a licence to sell the Protea flower/plant, and they don’t grow in back yards! They cost a fortune when you do purchase one, but they do last for weeks. Although they are not the most beautiful flower, they do send a sense of patriotism through each of us.

And we had trees and trees and trees in our land!!!!

There we go. I see better through the lens on my camera! They are clearly flowers and not bird's nests. Silly me!!

I had a plan. A Christmas Tradition Plan.

I would give everyone a Protea flower to take home when Christmas lunch was done. It was a thought, and it was special. It was from our home, and it was very African! (And please note that it was not a simple as popping out into your garden and picking a few flowers.)

Ah ha! I had another great idea.

We decided that we would give each and every person that joined us for Christmas lunch a lottery ticket. We never buy lottery tickets. I honestly believe that God will not make us wealthy through gambling. We could debate it for hours, but to some small extent you could see my point.

But if we bought tickets for everyone else, just a row each- it would not be gambling. They would not be spending money on the chances of winning; they would merely receive that chance. We expected nothing from the ticket, but we gave “potentially” the best Christmas anyone could ever have. Potentially.

It was a small token, but it could be so much greater. It was out of our hands.

When My Knight was purchasing 13 individual one line lottery tickets the cashier clearly thought he was nuts. He felt the need to explain….. “my wife (yes he calls me that…hsi common law wife) is giving them away as Christmas Presents”, the cashier “what happens if they don’t win?” It should be “what happens if they do win?”

He clearly did not get my point!

Christmas morning, amongst all the commotion of very early guests (more annoying then late guests) and trying to get everything done by remaining calm and collected on the outside, I “instructed” my knight to climb through the electric fence, up our little mountain and start chopping.

I knew deep down he was trying to get out of it. His thought had disappeared!

He came back with a bucket full and broken kitchen scissors. I would hold back and not comment about the scissors. Good idea right?

After Christmas lunch, I brought the vases filled with Proteas to the table we were sitting at outside, and handed one to each of our guests. The tickets were from the night before, which meant that we didn’t need to wait. Once everyone had untied their lottery ticket from the flower, my knight googled the lotto numbers for the 24th of December, and we all started counting. There was an awesome sense of excitement around that table at that point.

There was nothing perfect about the vases filled with Proteas, but they did look special.

You gather that I didn’t win! (Sorry Ed- but i may not have done the guest blog if i had.) Unfortunately nor did any of our guests. But let’s not forget the potential to be the best Christmas Lunch ever- for someone.

I liked this.

This year was the start to our new tradition. Maybe next year we can start the tradition of winning?