Does Christmas always disappoint you?

I was talking with a client recently and we were discussing Christmas. She was bemoaning the fact that Christmas in Australia just didn’t feel like Christmas – because Christmas is not meant to be hot. You guessed it, she comes from the northern hemisphere.

My mother complained about Christmas not feeling like Christmas for the 44 years she lived here.

People who were born and bred in Australia complain that Christmas just isn’t the same, and then go on to blame all sorts of things for why.

So it would seem that Christmas just isn’t Christmas – no matter where you were born.

Christmas has changed for me. When my children were little we had Christmas at our house. Early in the morning they all piled into our bed with their pillowcases (a ritual I brought from my childhood in England) and had to open their presents with all of us together. My husband worked on Christmas Eve for years so by coming into our bed he was there but not really ‘there’. And that for my children became their idea of what Christmas was all about.

We had a routine and a ritual that suited us and our lifestyle and it continued on in this way for many Christmases. After the presents were opened we had a fruit platter for breakfast, a quick tidy-up and then over the road to the neighbours. The rest of the family came to our place for lunch and stayed for dinner. The day was spent playing with presents, playing in the pool, eating, drinking and just relaxing and enjoying each others’ company.

On Boxing Day 20 – 30 friends would come in the afternoon laden with their leftovers. My husband insisted we all sit at one table so we would join tables together on our deck and set out the food, we had toasts, speeches & singing and they were all very disappointed when we moved to Kiama because that had become a ritual for them.

As my children got older and partners came into the picture we had to revise how we did Christmas. We decided to celebrate  on Christmas Eve so that they could each go to their respective in-laws on Christmas Day. When we later moved away from Sydney that created yet another change.

My two sons now live in Melbourne and my two daughters in Sydney so we only all get together every second year. There were a couple of Christmas Days where at lunchtime my husband and I were there on our own. I didn’t much like those.

Now we have 10 grandchildren we get to experience Christmases that are a little like they were when my children were small. But they’re not the same. We really can’t go back in time.

Getting back to the conversation with my client. I was explaining that Christmas isn’t like Christmas for most people. For most people, like me, it changes over the years.

But the main reason Christmas disappoints us year after year is because we are trying to recapture Christmas the way it was when we were a child. We are trying to grab hold and relive the magic, the wonder, the anticipation, the pure unadulterated joy that we felt when we were five years old. When we believed in Santa Claus, we believed in magic, we believed in miracles. Before we became disillusioned by the drudgery of the truth.

This is why we love the fairy lights, the decorations, the carols, the kids Christmas movies because for just a few moments we can grab it again, we can feel it, we can remember the magic of believing that anything was possible!