There are 24 days till Christmas, and the kids opened the first door on the Advent calendar today, so it seemed like a good time to invite all members of the RiotACT team to tell us about what they love about the festive season. We’d love to hear about your Christmas, too, so please submit your own set of responses to the below prompts in bold as an article, or respond below in the comments.
What I love most about Christmas is seeing the looks on the faces of my children, and indeed any children, as they experience every magical moment of the season, from singing in their Christmas concerts and at Carols by Candlelight, to opening doors on the Advent calendar, decorating the Christmas tree, hanging up (and later emptying) the Christmas stockings, pulling the Christmas crackers and sharing gifts with their friends and relatives. One glance at my mother’s beautiful wooden nativity set or our copy of Dick Bruna’s The Christmas Book and I’m whizzing back in time to the days when I believed in Santa and his reindeer. I love buying books and treats for children, too.
What I like least about Christmas is the stress. There are so many expectations to manage. I can see why some people do the Christmas equivalent of eloping with their immediate family. That said, despite the occasional angst, I love celebrating with as many family members as possible and recognise how very lucky I am to be able to do so. I’m thinking this year as always of those who are spending Christmas without their loved ones, for whatever reason.
My best ever Christmas was in Hong Kong when I lived there. Some of the family came over to visit and we went with my best friend Catherine for a very posh buffet Christmas lunch on the Verandah at the Repulse Bay. All the work was done for us, and the food, service and atmosphere were second to none. The Cantonese Santa was awesome. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
My favourite Christmas songs are Do They Know its Christmas by Band Aid, Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Away in a Manger (preferably sung by children), Silent Night (also preferably sung by children), All I Want for Christmas is You (Love Actually version) and Last Christmas by Wham and Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix.
My favourite Christmas film is Love Actually. I wish there’d been a lobster in one of my Christmas concerts as a child.
I celebrate on Christmas Eve by doing a last minute dash to the Canberra Centre for presents and the Fyshwick Markets for food, before having drinks with friends. If we’re visiting my partner’s family, Christmas Eve is the main event, so there is much feasting on traditional fare from Guatemala. The day ends with present wrapping and stocking filling (shhh!).
I celebrate on Christmas Day by watching the children open their stockings then eating mangoes and panettone for breakfast before heading to my parents’ place for more presents with Pimms ahead of a marathon Christmas lunch featuring several amazing salads (the one with candied pecans is my favourite) and my mum’s amazing nut roast (I’m a vegetarian, so your turkey, ham, seafood frenzy is not for me). We always think we’ll visit friends in the evening but instead collapse, exhausted, by late afternoon.
On Boxing Day, I gratefully take stock of the gift haul, head to the sales to spend any vouchers or exchange items, take in a movie, perhaps with my siblings and their families, and enjoy some leftovers before heading to the South Coast for our holiday.
The gift I’d most like to give this Christmas is free passage to Australia for the asylum seekers detained in Australia’s offshore detention centres.
For Christmas this year I’d like a pair of Apple Airpod headphones for running and, ever the Linguistics nerd, The Indo-European Languages (Routledge Language Family Series) 2nd Edition.