Well, it may surprise some people, but we don’t sit around eating freshly roasted babies in front of a roaring church fire and wiping our mouths with Bible pages while we plot the destruction of Christianity. For one thing, it’s summer in Australia, which means it’s bushfire season.
No, what my family & friends do is more or less what everyone else does. For instance, this year Mrs Hank, the dog & I are driving nine hours from Melbourne to see our friends & family in Adelaide. We’ll eat, play with our nephews’ new toys, drink, eat, drink, eat, sleep and probably just keep doing that until Boxing Day, when I have to fly back to Melbourne to play with the band - and fly back to Adelaide the next day to continue my vacation. Upon my return we’ll head to our friend’s beach house, meet up with the crew, drink, eat, watch Australia play South Africa in the cricket on TV (ah, the annual glory of the Boxing Day Test Match) and maybe even play some cricket on the beach if it’s not too windy. Or go body surfing, walk the dog, have another nap, read one of the books I’m bound to get in my stocking…normal summer holiday stuff.
For my family & friends, this time of year is for just being together and enjoying being around each other. That’s not just because they’re all 800 kilometres away and this is the most time I’ll spend with them all year - I’m at an age where my older brothers have almost school-age nephews and my friends are passing the “everyone’s getting married” stage and moving to the next step of increasing the population, which makes our annual meets even more special. It’s just a flat-out buzz watching my brothers & best mates being all father-y (and my folks be all grandparent-y, which they just love) and little kids dig Christmas like no adult ever could. And of course I love being uncle Hank! I also feel kinda lucky that my family don’t argue or get crabby at each other this time of year, we just relax and catch up and eat mum’s cooking. Sheesh, it’s Adelaide in December. Too damn hot to argue, hand me another beer.
Now, we don’t do Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving in Oz so we don’t have a “holiday season” per se. We save up our overconsumption & rampant silliness for that precious golden week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and try and smash together as many parties and barbecues as is humanly possible. Today is my last day of work for three weeks and I’m greatly looking forward to it. Once again it’s been a challenging year for the Red Cross, what with Cyclone Nargis devastating Myanmar and that massive earthquake traumatising China barely a week later, not to mention all the other stuff we’ve been doing locally in Oz, and we’re all looking forward to a break.
Anyway, before I bugger off and go have fun, I’ll wish you all the merriest of Christmases and a swingin’ New Year. Thanks to Erich for inviting me to join the DI faculty and for being an all-round good bloke. To everyone else – thanks for making me feel welcome! Nice place you got here.
OK, that’s all I’ve got for 2008. OK chaps, what are you all up to this season?