It is Christmas Eve.
We are waiting.
Waiting for a little person to close those tired eyes and dream of Santa and Snowmen and Christmas Trees and Jesus (does anyone dream about Jesus?).
And then we will pull out the hidden presents, that were not so well hidden, and assemble.
Many of LQ's gifts this year are handmade or seconds. She will be receiving a miniature chefs apron (just her size). A slew of second hand clothing all bundled up to make a fun dressing up box. A no-sew tutu. And then the mother of gifts (not handmade) - a big beastly plastic monstrosity with a slide and stairs and a place to put a sprinkler in the Summer (which it is right now).
And while I wait I will tell you what Christmas in Australia is like for me.
Christmas means singing carols like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and not really meaning it. Until I have had a white Christmas... and then I sing it with meaning.
Christmas smells like rain. Wet, hot and sticky mornings with thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Christmas means Santa with three fans blowing on him to keep him cool.
Christmas lunch may be a BBQ on the beach or still the traditional roast, but always with sweat pouring down my face.
The same sweet Christmas smells pervade the air in America and Australia, but in Australia you get to smell them long into the Summer evening as you sit outside and catch up with friends.
Christmas means fake Christmas trees. Try finding a plump, non-sickly looking fresh Christmas tree in the middle of Summer in the tropics. It is MUCH easier to go to Target once a decade to replace the faux tree that has slowly shed its plumpness.
Christmas is communities gathering in outdoor areas to sing carols together while holding candles in cups. Wax dripped deliberately on the picnic blanket. The larger "Carols by Candlelight" are televised and usually have the Wiggles welcoming Santa on to the stage.
Christmas means new toys for Summer vacation e.v.e.r.y year.
Emphasis is placed on end of the school year exams and NOT pageants, recitals and general forms of torture.
Schools have closed for Summer vacation well before Christmas. This means many harried mothers are trying to entertain their offspring as well as gift shop discreetly and engage in general festive activities. There is a price to pay for missing school Christmas recitals.
Christmas in Australia sometimes feels like trying to keep traditions where traditions generally don't fit. We are a country too young to have our own traditions, trying to make our own traditions but still desperately clinging to the old.
Regardless of its different scents, songs and food and whether we are in America or Australia or some other country Dal and I will always remember and centre our Christmas around the birth and LIFE of Christ... and things wont seem all that different.