Blast From The Past – Christmas Is Different When You Are Upside Down

It’s that time of the year where life in Australia feels really different to me than life back in Switzerland. It’s probably really the only time where it kind of sticks out. And it gets me every year. Not in a bad way. Not in a homesick way. It just feels different. Because it is crazy different. So I decided to post something I wrote just about a year ago as a blast from the past. Don’t worry, a proper Christmas post will come too…

I guess the one thing that is still weird living over here in Australia is Christmas.

Christmas feels just so different here…

We went from this:

xmastreesnowTo this:


It does not feel weird because of this huge change. It is not just because we went from celebrating Christmas in winter with snow and cold temperatures to celebrating Christmas in summer and most of the time in pretty high temperatures. That is actually something I kind of like. Although, I admit, I am still dreaming of a white Christmas…

But Christmas on a beach has its good sides too, you know.

What I honestly struggle with is the fact that it does not get dark until 9.30pm-ish… And therefor all the beautiful lights are not really doing, what they used to do back in Switzerland.

xmasoutsideI miss that feeling of it being dark outside and you are inside, lights on, candles on, and you sit there and reflect on yourself, your life and the past year. I is kind of different to do that here in summer… It is hard. Maybe it is just because I am used to the other way. After all I celebrated Christmas for 33 years of my life “up North”, on the other side of the World… And I am not even starting about baking cookies when it is hot outside. So thankfully for today the weather forecast promises rather low temperatures. Cookies here I come!

Something I have found down here is, that the Christmas decorations are not a big deal. The suburbs are not really getting out there doing a big thing and although you see a couple of houses decorated, it is again not the same like back in Europe. Or in the USA. You need to go out and look for the decorated houses… Kind of sad.

When we moved all of our Christmas tradition were kind lost. As much as we wanted them to still be there, they did no longer really belong or were just not possible any longer…

So we started a different little tradition here. Of course we decorate the house. Nothing over the top, after all we are still Swiss (kind of) and that is what you do… you don’t go overboard… But we decorate and I love it. I love when the lights are on, even if it is late. And I am happy for the kids to stay up. It is school holidays soon, also for them. So they should be able to enjoy the lights too.

And we usually take our tree out (a fake one) and put it up on December 1st. From then onwards the kids are allowed to put up two ornaments each day after day. And just like this the tree “grows into shape” and gets prettier and prettier. And the excitement! Of course they want to put up more but we don’t let them… But they so want to! And that is what I like! They get excited about Christmas. Not because of the gifts they will receive but for the fact that they want that tree to be done and beautiful. And it will be their tree. They decorated it.

xmastreeAnother little tradition we have is that my MIL (mother-in-law) cooks for us on Christmas Eve and we celebrate at hers and then my hubby cooks our Christmas day dinner. But not this year. This year we will break the habit a little bit. This time I will be in charge on Christmas Day. And I am so looking forward to this!

What are your traditions? Are they the same as the ones you grew up with or did you have to change them slightly? What is the one tradition you don’t want to break with?

43 thoughts on “Blast From The Past – Christmas Is Different When You Are Upside Down

  1. we learned to take Christmas with us whenever we were deployed or were stationed overseas during Christmas. there’s nothing like a desert temper tent with Christmas lights adorning it or that Christmas that I spent in eastern Turkey. that is life in the military.

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  2. Our Christmas has evolved over the years. We went from all out lights inside and out, multiple trees, and trains with tunnels to just decorating inside. I won’t give up my Johnny Mathis Christmas music, or my Christmas Celts.
    I usually cook big, a whole filet of beef, prime rib, or a big ham. My brother in law insists on taking his dinner with his wife in private. They will run off to our game room or the porch for a “Christmas date”. It’s the biggest compliment I get, he loves the big Christmas fanfare. We generally have a very festive get together.
    Love your photos, and how you have kept your Christmas wherever you go. That’s what makes it special. Who you are with, not the weather, or location.
    Merry Christmas!

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  3. We decorate in stages. We work so boxes get taken down from the attic in stages. Outside lights are first! Clear and blue lights inside and outside. The four kitties take turns guarding the tree and some eat the wrapping paper if placed in their spot. Dinner is make shift because multiple families involved. But too much time spent on buying stuff, not enough in getting together. I’d rather switch those things. 😀

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  4. Our Christmases were nomadic before kids. We’d go wherever. Once we had kids, we made the decision to have every Christmas morning at home. They wake up, Santa had visited, in their pajamas in their home. 100% record for that one. Everybody started coming out here for Christmas Day once we moved to the country anyway so it wasn’t that big a transition, but we’ve stuck to it over the years.

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  5. Oh my goodness! This post is exactly like if I would have written it 🙂 I´ve got totally same feelings during Christmas in New Zealand. In fact, that is the reason why me and my husband decided to prolong our stay in Slovakia this year, to finally celebrate a “real” Christmas here in Europe, with our family – that is how much we missed our white, cold Christmas. You wouldn´t believe it, but I am currently writing a post about funny story which happened to us during our first Christmas in New Zealand – and the title is “Upside down Christmas story” 😀 It seems you outrun me with this idiom, I should probably rethink title. Anyway, I enjoyed your post very much, and wish you a very merry Christmas, even if they are a bit upside down from what we are used to here at the north 🙂 Cheers!

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  6. Love your tree! We live in Southern California, and it’s usually warm on Christmas Day. Spouse typically goes golfing, in shorts. We always go to the Christmas Eve candlelight service (a tradition from my childhood), then have the same dinner I always had growing up (which I now cook). Christmas morning is home. Christmas dinner is at my in-law’s house. We have an angel on top of our tree. As when I was a kid, my children take turns each year putting the angel on after all the rest of the decorations are up. We’ve adopted my husband’s family tradition of wrapping ALL gifts, even stocking gifts. Happy Christmas to you and your family!

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  7. This year we are having a green Christmas in Canada and I love it.
    We have no traditions. I usually work on Christmas so Christmas ends up being whatever we can make of it each year.

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  8. Isn’t it funny, I love the winter illuminations and lead up to Christmas here in Japan but if I am not at home for in NZ for christmas I miss the long summer evenings and sitting outside just chatting or maybe BBQing and working our way through leftovers while the kids runn round with their new toys or have water fights. and I miss a stroll on the beach in my bare feet. Hope you have a wonderful christmas surrounded by famly and friends! Going to use this as inspiration for my christmas post on You inspire me for the christmas day post. Thank you!

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  9. I saw a purple Christmas tree in New Orleans… It was interesting 🙂 The mood is really setting in all around. Going for Secret Santa on Christmas Eve and then at this street where they celebrate with pretty lights (I am a sucker for pretty lights)…

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  10. We just had our first snow storm the other night. We got 10cm! Not enough to cancel schools, though. But there was enough to make a snowman after the boys got home 🙂 Christmas Eve we usually go to DW’s father’s and step-mom’s house to exchange gifts with them. We have supper there, too. Then Christmas morning I make Grands cinnamon buns to snack on while opening Santa’s presents. After that excitement we have a big old breakfast. We decorate with lights inside and out. We have a few inflatables (Santa in his sleigh with an elf, a snowman and our newest addition, Snoopy on his doghouse) to set up on the porches. Our tree, as you know, was decorated by the kids.

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  13. What are your traditions? There is a post or 2 or 3 coming on that someday. I have already posted a bit about ours which were a mish mash of Hanukkah and Xmax since we have a mixed faith marriage.
    Are they the same as the ones you grew up with or did you have to change them slightly? From Hanukkah what I have managed to preserve of the tradition I grew up with was the menorah lighting and prayer when both my kids still lived at home. That time has passed but I have also managed to preserve, in an altered state, the tradition of my childhood where we received a gift each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah, with the gift each night getting larger and more valuable. I tweaked that by adding a packet of $ bills to the stockings, based on this same pattern but passing it out all at once. Just realized, though, that in my haste to prepare stockings early (totally out of my personal tradition of doing this at the last minute), I shorted them by a half dollar this year!
    What is the one tradition you don’t want to break with? All of us cooking together which unfortunately we were not able to do this year. We had a downsized facsimile of Thanksgiving, though, with just one daughter here. I guess something of this nature will just have to do at least until all of us are located in the same time zone, anyway!

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