Christmas around the Globe
Christmas in Houston,TX vs Christmas in Brisbane - Christmas Around the Globe17.12.15
Hi I'm Courtney from Alkeks Abroad. I'm an expat in Australia hailing from the great state of Texas. Since the US is a pretty big place and in our neck of the woods we don't get the typical white Christmas that others farther north do, I figured I would be more specific in my comparison.
While there have been Christmases in Houston that I could have easily worn shorts during, nothing really compares to the heat (and humidity) of an Australian summer. I still find it so odd to do my Christmas shopping in 90F (30C) weather.
We do have the European style Christmas markets here that I love so much, as opposed to the typical mall shopping we do at home. You just won't be jonesing for a hot beverage to keep you warm as your stroll through the stalls.
Starbucks still has their same festive drinks- only the iced versions are most appealing this time of year.
Back home most activities are indoors and include keeping warm by the fire, although our cold is pretty mild compared to a lot of plaves. In Australia, people spend Christmas outdoors, camping or at the beach. In Brisbane, they play Christmas movies for people to enjoy from the comfort of our very own man-made beach on the banks of the Brisbane River.
Most of the decor is still winter themed and it felt so funny handing out Christmas activities to the kids at school that had snowmen and winter landscapes on them. There are Aussie versions of Christmas too. I recently purchased copies of An Aussie Night Before Christmas as gifts for family back home. Santa Clause looks a little different than we are used to...
Don't worry he also has eight kangaroos instead of reindeer and a ute (aussie for truck) instead of a sleigh.
Back home in Houston, we would drive around fancy neighborhoods to check out the Christmas lights and decorations, but here we live in a neighborhood of mostly apartments so visit the CBD (downtown) to check out the light displays.
Just last night we went and saw an act from the Nutcracker digitally projected on the side of City Hall, with a giant Christmas tree set up in front. It was very impressive and added to the magic of the season.
Another difference is instead of the typical warm Turkey dinners and baked goods we normally eat at Christmas time, Aussies are all about cold seafood and pavlovas. Pavlova is a merengue cake topped with fresh fruit, that I have eaten my fair share of since moving down under.
Mangoes are also a staple this time of year since it is their peak season. An Australian friend recently told me that they even left mangoes out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
When we lived in Texas, we spent the Christmas season shuffling from one family event to another since all of both of our families live there. We have traveled on or within a day of Christmas every year since we have been together.
Last year was our first expat Christmas and we decided to do something completely different and spend it just the two of us. We kept with the theme of Christmas on the beach and took a three hour plane ride to Fiji on Christmas Eve.
Fiji is one of those places people in the US dream of visiting, but it is SO far away. We figured we might as well take advantage of our position on the globe and spend our first holiday abroad in an extra special way.
It definitely felt odd opening our stockings on the beach Christmas morning but it was still just as enjoyable :). This year we will be heading home (today!) for the holidays and making visits to three different cities to see all our loved ones. As much fun as it is to experience a summertime Christmas, we are pretty excited to bundle up in front of a fire. I have forgotten what being cold feels like.
I hope wherever you are, nearby by family or far away, you have a wonderful holiday season!
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