My Christmas: Jane Speechley

Jane Speechley 23 September 2019

Love Actually

No, our Love Actually-loving motoring writer Jane Speechley is not hoping a new sportscar will land in her Christmas stocking. She would like some better camera gear to boost her coverage of all things vehicle-related, though …

What I love most about Christmas is the opportunity to take pause from life and spend some really good quality time with the family. I’m mad about Christmas and everything it involves anyway. But I now have two young nieces – aged 2 years and 6 months – and they’ve revitalised Christmas for the whole family. It’s all about their experience, seeing their little faces light up with joy and surprise.

What I like least about Christmas is that it’s over so quickly! Although the season seems to start earlier every year (thanks retailers!). I’m lucky in a sense, that I don’t have an *enormous* family, so the task of shopping for presents and preparing food is relatively easy to manage.

But Christmas is also a regular reminder that yet another year has gone by, and there are things I haven’t done and amazing people I haven’t caught up with … ahhh, that steady, unstoppable march of time …

My best ever Christmas was last year, and will probably be this year as well. We have a pretty good Christmas routine in place, so every year is just about perfect to me.

That said, Christmas 1985 when I received that pink chopper bike from my Dad was pretty great …

My favourite Christmas songs are those my Mum played when we were growing up. Highlights include Nana Mouskouri’s Old Toy Trains and Demis Roussos’s Mary’s Boy Child. Daggy as anything, but it’s the sound of Christmas to me.

My favourite Christmas film is Love Actually. I know it’s not a cinematic masterpiece, and it supposedly encourages creepy romantic behaviour and sets us up for all manner of unrealistic expectations. But I love love love it and I won’t hear a word against it. It makes me want to sit in the airport for hours watching families reunite.

I celebrate on Christmas Eve by racing around doing last minute shopping and food prep. There might be time for a quiet drink later in the evening, but for the most part, it’s getting ready for the day ahead with military-style precision. Those vegetables aren’t going to chop themselves, people!

I celebrate on Christmas Day by being woken up at dawn to watch the kids opening their presents from Santa, of course. Then we start with our now-traditional breakfast of toasted croissants and juice, and laying out platters of snacks so we can graze through the day ahead.

We have a bit of a procession of family and friends visiting or calling throughout the day. Classic Christmas movies or music always on in the background, while we guzzle politely, sip our traditional Christmas drink of Stone’s Green Ginger Wine and lemonade. Inevitably, the big ‘Christmas lunch’ gets pushed out to 4pm or 5pm, but there’s little chance of anyone starving.

Crackers will be cracked, terrible jokes will be told, and silly paper hats will be worn until they split at the sides.

We’ve threatened to go out to eat several times over the years, but I won’t allow it. Sure, you save some time on shopping and cleaning, but won’t someone please think of the leftovers?! And also, no one – but NO ONE – needs to see us in those hats.

On Boxing Day, I sleep in, make my way through the leftovers, put all the gift together that need putting together, and try not to die from boredom as the rest of the family watches cricket (sorry sports fans).

The gift I’d most like to give this Christmas is freedom from cruel battery cages for around 12 million little layer hens in Australia today. A little serious, yes. But when not writing for The Riot ACT, I work with the RSPCA and this is easily the worst – and frankly, the most internationally embarrassing – animal welfare issue in Australia today. It’s been a big topic in our work this year and will continue to be. Thankfully, we have no battery cages in the ACT – it’s unbelievable that battery cages are still a problem elsewhere, and the rest of the country seriously needs to catch up.

For Christmas this year I’d like peace on earth. Ha ha, just kidding. My Samsung phone camera has done a good job taking pics to support my motoring writing until now, but I’m looking at some better cameras and equipment – a decent flash, and maybe even a GoPro for mounting on the dashboard.

Would you like to join the RiotACT team in sharing your thoughts on Christmas with RiotACT readers? We’d love to read them. Please log on to the RiotACT website and choose “create article” to submit your own responses to the My Christmas cues for publication.

Pictured above is a scene from Love Actually.

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