Christmas is one of those things that we don't really get in to around Chateau Archer - mostly because it's so commercial and because we are not Christian so it's strange to celebrate a festival such as that.
However, we are both Aussies and it is such a core part of our culture that it's hard not to enjoy bits of it and to be caught up in it. For example, I love singing carols because I'm a soprano, and I love the descants, and it's fun. But some of the words are annoying, and some of the themes/stories go against my grain, but in the end it's part of my culture still.
So we kind of have a hybrid celebration of the end of the year. We do gifts, but it is minimal and not hugely over the top, and limited to close family and friends. Not-so-close family and friends get a card, or something small and foodie. This year I'm planning on making vanilla sugar, and some gingerbread people, and maybe more lemon butter if I can get my hands on lots of jars.
I also like to craft for Christmas - this year I'm planning on making modern paper ornaments from Design Sponge, and decorating some pine cones for wall art, and scenting some for a centrepiece. I also want to make a wreath, and put it on our door. I don't want snow-themed goodies, or snowflakes etc as it doesn't snow here, and it is hot during summer so it's not true to form - but I do want some colour and theme around here! Maybe something like a puzzle piece wreath, or else a pine cone one, or a ribbon one?
We actually celebrate the summer solstice more than Christmas anyway. The solstice is also someone's birthday this year, and the day after the Carols by Candlelight that I'm arranging people to attend because it's fun. It's about the longest day of the year and the turning of the seasons and the celebrations that should surround that. It's about eating food that is in season (oh cherries, how I love thee!) and being with people who've made the year what it was.
Part of thinking about this is because next Christmas, we'll have a Puggle to bring into this. We are leaning towards a toy-free giftmas approach, and a focus on what we are celebrating rather than what others are celebrating. It's also about family and friends and what makes us part of a community.
Traditionally for us, we go to the Adelaide Rowing Club on Christmas morning and carol to raise money for our choir. Then we go home, pop a roast in the crock pot, veges in another, and then relax on the couch with "Love, Actually". Then we open the house from about 2pm for any waifs, visitors, travellers, Christmas orphans or those that are between functions (after lunch and before dinner). That carries on into the night when we fire up the bbq and have a progressive dinner, and my sister provides dessert, and we celebrate the end of the year together. Then we'll pack the dishwasher and go to bed.
This year we are doing that but are going to the SIL's place for lunch. Which is fine but by that stage I'll be 30 weeks pregnant and will not be up for cooking, cleaning, dish washing, child wrangling or other activities, especially if it is Hot. I will try to be cheery when spending time with extended family that annoy me, and I will try to enjoy being pregnant through summer.
Oh and lastly - I always buy myself a Christmas present. I pick something I really want, and I buy it and enjoy it. This year I am buying myself some Birkis because I am starting to struggle to do my shoes up, and they are SO damn cute that I will be very happy with them: