I’ve been watching the weather forecast for the last few days and this year’s Christmas day looks good. December in Melbourne. It could be 40 degrees and a stinker or 16 and pelting down.

Mince pies and choccy balls (Melinda Pankhurst via Flickr)

As boys, Christmas was the same ritual each year. The youngest would wake us all up to go get mum and dad and we’d all congregate bleary-eyed in the lounge room. We’d have left pillow slips out with our names pinned to them and they’d have been stuffed with presents. Dad and mum would exchange gifts. Some years we’d have cinnamon and sugar on toast as a special treat.

Well-dressed, we’d jump into our Kingswood (or Urvan later on – early betrayers of local industry) and drive up to church. We’d be late and have to sit in the foyer where they’d put extra seats. Ceiling fans, 60s organ, and self-conscious congregation singing.

Then it’d be straight to Nana and Grandad’s. We’d sit in their lounge room eating chips and Loy’s soft drink. Grandad would disappear and miss Santa arriving – an over-acting Santa – who handed us more presents. A hot meal of turkey, ham, beef, and chicken would follow. Pulling crackers. Wearing paper crowns. Nana would pour brandy (with a little sugar) on her plum pudding and Grandad would try and walk it in before the flame went out. There would be coins hidden in the pudding. Amazingly no one ever choked on one. I think I was the only one who liked the taste. Others had cream sponge, lemon meringue pie and ice cream.

With bellies full we’d play backyard cricket. Two of us were around the same skill-level would hurl balls at the youngest. He’d have to score 100 before we got him out 10 times. In later years the sledging and pitch tampering escalated as the bodies matured.

And later in the day, exhausted we would visit dad’s side of the family. Everyone would be ratty and tired but it would be fun to watch dad’s brothers wind him up and see him laugh away his worries.

The first Christmas without Grandad was a confusing affair. We tried to cover over his absence, but that only made it more obvious. It was good to celebrate all those Christmas days that had come before though.

Time passes and has passed.

Careers and girls and travel. Wives. Children. Businesses. Deeper Water.

Each year we still come together. The strands of divergent lives wound back together for 25th December. We slip back into our roles, painfully resigning to the occasion. You are a part of family and alive. You can pretend you are that son and that brother for one day.

The real excitement now is being a father. Seeing the excitement and joy on children’s faces. Winding them up with amazing stories and sugar and letting them run wild.

To sit back with full bellies and watch. And remember Christmas’s past. And keep the good times rolling.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lovelly
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 09:41:13

    Wonderful post!

    In China so can’t seem to access any websites except my hotmail darn it! Hope you had a great day with the family and wishing you a Happy New Year.

    Kind regardsEmma LovellLovelly CommunicationsLovelly by name, Lovely by Mob: +61 413 955 970E-mail: @Lovellyinc

    Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 00:54:57 +0000 To:


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