Australia, a continent associated with warm weather and beaches... But what's Christmas like there?
To learn more, we asked Monique to share her family's holiday traditions "from the bush!". Young mother of three, it warmed our heart to hear her speak about the magic of Christmas through her girls' eyes.
Can you please set the scene and present your family?
I am a farmer’s wife and mother to three little wildflowers; Ava (4yrs), Sophia (2.5yrs) and Georgia (1yr). We live in Central Queensland, on the eastern coast, on one of my husband’s family’s cattle and cropping farms. Due to our location, Christmas is in Summer and it is usually very hot. There is no sign of snow here, that’s for sure.
How do you bring the magic of Christmas to your home?
As we are a young family, we are actually still forming and refining our Christmas traditions. It's such an exciting and joyous time in our household. We love to assemble our Christmas tree mid-November to the hum of the air conditioner and singing of Christmas carols.
Our Christmas’ are alternated between both my husband’s family and mine, and we like to put our tree up early so that we have time (at home) to revel in the magic of Christmas. We also hang the girl’s stockings and place a wreath on our door (not that we have too many guests at the farm) and get out all of our favourite Christmas story books. Each night before bed we read the girls a Christmas story of their choosing, and it’s safe to say that their Christmas wish lists often get recited too!
Whenever we are in ‘town’ we show the girls the Christmas light displays that people put up, and their little faces are always in awe of the houses and yards decked out in lights and decorations.
We also love to watch the broadcast of Carols in the Domain or Carols by Candlelight on the television as we aren’t able to attend something like this in person. These are two major events here! The first one is a Christmas concert with Australia's biggest celebrities held in the Domain of Sydney, a huge open space. The second takes place in Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl, a huge outdoor bandshell. The place lights up while raising funds for Vision Australia’s children’s services. It is part of our Australian traditions to single carols illuminated by candles everywhere in the country.
Can you share about Christmas cooking in your family?
Ava and Sophia love to bake with me and it’s wonderful to see how much they are improving in the kitchen. Before children, I always baked a selection of sweet treats before Christmas, and now I get to do that with my girls which is so special.
One of the recipes that we will be making together this year are Brownie Bombs. These are always a huge hit with everyone and make a lovely and sweet Christmas gift.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
On Christmas Eve before the girls go to bed, they leave a plate with a bunch of carrots for the reindeer and a glass of milk with a shortbread or gingerbread biscuit for Santa.
Our Christmas Day starts early with the checking of their stockings and the unwrapping of presents. What a delight it is as a parent to see the excitement and joy on your children’s faces as they unwrap their presents?!
Breakfast is served and then an assortment of chocolates, Christmas baking and cheese boards are nibbled on before the main meal. After lunch everyone has some quiet time to literally ‘rest and digest’ and then when the weather cools down in the afternoon, we go outdoors to play with the girls and relatives or go for a swim if we are near the beach or a pool. Drinks and laughter are shared, and we usually indulge in lunch leftovers for dinner. It’s nice to reflect on the year that has passed and really be grateful for all that we have.
What is like to live Christmas in the summer?