Writings of the Week

Writings of the Week

So this is Diversity at Christmas

Two pieces to deepen the Christmas experience here: one from a Spanish Australian and another from a Greek Australian. A gesture towards appreciating national differences in the Christian celebration …

A Different Christmas

It was a strange day, that Christmas Day.

Sophie looked at the calendar. 25th December. Did she expect that the calendar was going to show any other day? At the top of the page for December there was a picture of a beautiful young woman dressed as a sweet seductive Santa. She was wearing a red mini skirt with white fur trim, and a top and hat to match. She was water ski-ing.

Still looking at the calendar, Sophie was thinking about her house in Scotland. No doubt it was covered in snow. This day last year the whole of Scotland was covered in white mist and cold. That’s how Christmas should be, Sophie thought.

She decided to go outside for a walk around Sydney University, where she would start work in the new year.

The heat was unbearable. People were walking around in very brief clothes. Some young girls were laughing as they strolled by wearing Santa hats. On the other side of the road was a man dressed as Santa, giving lollies to kids. Well, this Santa was wearing shorts instead of trousers. No beard or moustache. Probably too hot for anything on his face, she thought.

Then she realised he was wearing thongs. I can put up with shorts – but thongs? What is he thinking? Sophie snorted, although she felt sad. Christmas as she knew it was over. A part of the past.

The shops’ windows had decorative trees and lights, but the sun was stealing their brightness. What’s the point of having lights while the sun is shining? Even the Christmas carols playing in some of the shops seemed to be muffled by the heat.

Sophie turned into Carillon Avenue. The jacarandas there were fast losing the last flowers for the season, falling onto the footpath. She ran to the trees, stood underneath and started to laugh and spin, laugh and spin, spin and laugh.

It’s snowing! It’s snowing purple snowflakes!

by Conchita GarSantiago ©

Greek Style 

Christmas Day and a barbecue of spitted lamb on a home-made rotisserie in the backyard – a branch of eucalyptus tree whittled down and two forked pieces planted in the soil to keep its steady.

And layer upon layer of family and friends arriving, the men splitting off to man the barbecue, each man turning the spit carefully, lovingly, arms gleaming with sweat, the next man taking over seamlessly so as not to disrupt or dislodge the lamb, handkerchiefs tried around their heads to keep the sweat from their eyes.

The smell of oregano and lemon and that indescribably delicious scent of lamb skin crisping over an open fire, the spitting noises of the fat hitting coals, and the laughter of the kids screaming into the summer air, and the gurgle of retsina as it is poured from carafes into tumblers, the women with their lipstick leaving marks on their glasses. And platefuls of salad and dips, white cheese covered in olive oil being handed around with crusts of white white bread. 

And Mrs Davis from next door, her own family having quietly had Xmas lunch of cold turkey, as she later describes, peering over the fence – and we saying, ‘Come, come,’ and she politely saying, ‘No no,’ and still we are saying, ‘Yes, yes, come.’

And so this is Xmas …                               

                                                                         Copyright Maria Issaris

Photos cvwilliams & FB Steve McIntyre

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