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  • Christmas On The Beach

    Posted by evangeline richards January 17, 2013 - 334 views - 0 comments - 0 likes

    Australia at Christmas time is unlike England, in that, it remains as Australia. From mid-November the UK steadily builds pace to becoming the kingdom of tinsel and celebrity releases of cooking books and deals on wrapping paper: finally amalgamating in the ultimate celebration of ribbon on the 25th.


    And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, we do complain that the dense commercialism of the season has usurped the true significance of Christmas in too many people’s minds. But there is no doubt that such focus on consumerism is a key component to igniting our excitement.


    But in Australia, that doesn’t happen. I think the heat is the main reason that the southern hemisphere doesn’t copy our peak in heady consumption. The constant sun in Australia’s summer months means that the rich menu that fuels Western Christmas’, and the festive warmth that comes from staying inside with your family isn’t really right. Winter images of snowmen and Father Christmas, and spraying your house in sparkly decorations just doesn’t really make sense. Australian’s do Christmas in an Australian way; cards aren’t sent from house to house, Christmas trees are not a necessity, shops are not pregnant with offers for what you need to make your Christmas this year the best one yet. Australia is immune from this exhausting ritual, and the only necessity is that on the day you are with those that you care about sharing a beer and a bbq.


    On the 19th December 2011 I was counting down the days until Christmas in Yamba; a village on the coast of New South Wales. Yamba is striking, but not in the magnificent way of Sydney or any other of Australia’s main attractions; it is beautiful, subtle and antique. The village is recognised for its role as a haven along the coast; it is an intimate destination for families and couples, made up of white beaches punctuated with surfers and fishing spots.


    Australia is rich in these beautiful beaches, but coupled with the quiet bustle of the small village and the ability to cycle to most local spots; Yamba is soft, and an invite to stay at a friend’s house in the village was an opportunity that was so different from the normal frantic shopping of this time, and is one that I am so grateful I took up.


    Of course, I did miss the thrilling build up that we have in England. But at the same time, on some awful prophetic level, it was really refreshing to not be smothered in all the advertisement. Christmas in Australia does involve gifts and feasts, yet the lack of commercial anticipation that we endure means that when it is Christmas morning over there you get to concentrate purely on the actual reason for the date; to be grateful for who you have in your life. Please don’t misunderstand me, I love my advent calendar and fully accept that this time of ridiculous commercialism is one of my favourite annually. But it was just nice, to be free, and to be able to enjoy the traditions of the year, without the contemporary way that has become tradition.