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Alternative Christmas

With athletes all over the globe, I'm reminded of my childhood, spending Christmas sweating in the Australian summer. I was bewildered why we were sitting around the table eating hot baked dinners and heavy puddings while the temperature sizzled outside (and in the early days in the room itself!).

In later years as a teenager, we could escape outside to play cricket, just as we did as kids. On reaching adulthood, we were still caught in the Christmas dinners with parents and family but at times persuaded the old fogies that following the English traditional meal was ridiculous. Just as thinking how revolutionary we were to introduce Christmas dinner of prawns, salads and light summer fare that had us feeling smug that we had grown up and were full of wiseness. To this day I still have memories of watching the older generations with a look of 'this is not Christmas' all over their faces. It made me realise how our country was still dominated by English tradition. It caused a young radical self to examine what it all meant.

Watching adverts on TV of a white Christmas seemed so terribly unfortunate for me, and I dare say most people who were only used to a summer Christmas. To be cold and locked up inside when we grew up with summer. When I thought many people were in cold damp countries without snow, doubly so. Later in life, I have moved permanently to countries that have nothing but 'white Christmas'.

As the years rolled by I found this a pleasant curiosity while sitting in a warm house and consuming warm Christmas fare. This had me thinking that this is now 'real Christmas'. Over the years I did travel back to Australia and hence again tasted both Aussie style Christmas dinners.

Why do I want to tell my friends and followers this tale? It was provoked by my Australian son asking my youngest 'very Swiss' daughter if she would like to have Christmas one day back in Australia. Being known in my family as a Christmas grinch, her answer was of great interest to me, as I have internally wrestled with my Christmas dilemma for years. She unequivocally answered in bullet speed fashion 'no of course not, Christmas would not be Christmas without the snow. How terrible would that be'.

I smiled and thought of the naivety of youth, but then realised how I now thought exactly the same. Reflecting then on past summer Christmas dinners and realising that if the older family members were not happy, then it felt different, and not really Christmas to me at all. But when the young ones did their own summer Christmas, or when occasionally accompanied by some of the more progressive older brigade that indeed enjoyed it, then it felt a little more like Christmas. My conclusion was the warmth of the meal may well indeed set the tone for the warmth and good cheer around the table, and more so on this day. Whether it be down to the beach, out to play cricket, or out for a hike in the snow or for a little ski, it's influence in both places were so similar.

My ramblings are to say, whether it be 35C or -15C, Christmas is a time for family and friends and if we have either to share it with, we are very privileged indeed. I wish all of our supporters, followers and friends my best wishes for the festive season.

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