Not as we know it with sunglasses, sun-cream, shorts and t-shirts added to the mix!
Sydney hasn’t done a bad job dressing itself up for the Festive Holiday but it’s hard to take it seriously with brilliant sunshine!
Know what we mean?
Our first christmas together as a couple (out of 8) would be celebrated in a land down under, right in the middle of their SUMMER!
But we love a challenge here so we had a mission to make it feel like Christmas!
First up we needed a tree. Our last Christmas Tree had a new home in Westcombe Park so we would have to get another one. Little did we know we had the Christmas Tree Shopping Expert-in-Residence in Portia Wilson. Within minutes of arriving at the monthly Kirribilli Community Market we had purchased a ‘small’ tree from the local scout group. (We didn’t ask where they got it but I am told there are some apartments in Manly with a new view of the beach 😉 )
John attempted to carry our ‘small’ tree back to the apartment but after 100 metres and 5 cuts on his body he decided to swallow his pride and ask Karen to help carry it. Meanwhile Portia carried the stand and plotted the purchase of decorations. The tree was secured in the stand and watered. Now it needed some bling!
Crossing the Harbour Bridge we went to another market, the Rocks Market in search of a Star. Amongst vintage clothing and wooden phone covers we found the Christmas Stand where literally a Star was born! However at $10 a christmas bauble we would need to go elsewhere.
We had planned to go to Watson’s Bay for sunset so time was of the essence so John mentioned that there was a huge costume and party shop in a basement store on George Street. Like the Three Wise Men of old we went off in search of gifts. As we descended the stairway into would later be described as Santa’s Grotto, we noticed some ‘Free’ Baubles.
So three companions and we left with three colours of baubles plus our ‘Free’ Baubles and a few metres of fairy lights.
After a washout of an evening at Watson’s Bay (See our other post on this) we got back to the apartment to decorate the tree. Wine, Now That’s What I call Xmas and a bit of imagination combined to make the flat festive. All that was missing were two socks that Karen went back to Santa’s Grotto to buy a few days later.
It was after this time that the first christmas cards started to arrive.
So that was the apartment sorted for the holidays. Next would be present shopping…
With a long way from home we couldn’t leave this to a last minute dash. This was a combination of local gifts that had two key Exit Criteria: Light and Unbreakable and a flurry on Amazon to cover the rest. After nearly a year on the road we were masters of dealing with pushy salespeople so this was a doddle, although we thought we had left “You Buy We Fly” comments in Asia!
As to presents for ourselves – this was a novelty after 12 months of saving and 12 months of travelling. Karen naturally got all her presents sorted and wrapped in time. To put pressure on John they were put under the tree with plenty of time to spare. As of the time of writing this post John has successfully wrapped Karen’s last present – she had better like them!
So presents and decorations are sorted. What next?
Well Christmas is a time of festivities so we needed to fill up our social calendar. The first major event would be an old Irish Tradition dating back to the High Kings of Tara – 12 Pubs of Christmas. It was different this year in t-shirts and shorts but we enjoyed ourselves all the same – especially the ‘carol singing/screaming’ on the train into town.
Unlike London where everyone has gotten a bit square, the Australians know how to throw a decent work party. John’s was a big free-for-all costume party in Darling Harbour. The theme was music and he decided to go slightly left field and turn up as Dr. Jones (from that Aqua song!). Classy! The lucky sod even managed to gatecrash Karen’s drink on the way home – in full costume. They must have thought he worked at the zoo!
Meanwhile Karen, as well as those Christmas drinks, finally got to savour the sensation and style of enjoying a proper luncheon – steak and free flowing fizz. But Karen didn’t let the occasion get the better of her and sent back her overcooked steak. Well, it’s tough to please a Butcher’s Daughter!!
On Christmas Eve we are going out in Potts Point, to a new rooftop bar and restaurant called The Butler, with our new friend Millie and her fiance Alec before catching Midnight Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral and enjoying the Christmas Illuminations at the same time.
2 days to go to what will be, as our ‘Free’ Baubles proudly boast, our First Christmas!
Oh and before I forget. Karen had the rolling pin and cutters out. You can’t have christmas without shortbread!