Wednesday, 12 December 2012

2012 "Deck The Halls" Christmas Geneameme

Thanks to Pauleen (cassmob) from Family History Across The Seas and other bloggers I have been inspired to take part in the 2012 "Deck The Halls" Christmas Geneameme. So here is my contribution:

Whilst Christmas in my house may not necessarily be a religious experience it is definitely a part of the whole meaning of Christmas to me and my family. We honour the occasion for what it truly is, and not for the massive commercialisation it has come to be in recent times.

Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?
I’m not entirely sure what constitutes as traditional in this day and age but I do like to uphold a routine of early morning present opening, followed by a cooked breakfast and then I get stuck in to preparing and cooking a turkey and trimmings feast for everyone. Then I fall into an exhausted heap and have a nanna nap!

Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?
When I was little, growing up in the UK, it was a very important part of Christmas, as was attending the local cemetery to place a wreath on my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents graves. Nowadays I attend Midnight Mass with my mother but only when I can be bothered to stay up that late!

Did/do you or your grandchildren/children believe in Santa?
I was brought up to believe in Santa and I did until one year when I accidentally ruined everything for my sisters. I distinctly recognised my father’s voice shouting “Ho Ho Ho” at the kitchen door and yelled out “That’s not Santa, that’s you Dad!”. I still feel guilty about that 30+ years on! My daughter was brought up to believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas but a few years ago she pretty much told me her school friends said it was all rubbish. I didn’t deny or confirm, and I still haven’t.

Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?
I value my life too much to even contemplate doing something like that. In theory it all sounds wonderful and nostalgic but in reality it is just unsafe in our neighbourhood.

What’s your favourite Christmas music?
I don’t have any specific favourites but I do love to play Bing Crosby (as he was my maternal grandmother’s favourite) and Michael Buble but to be quite honest, I usually like to play a mixture from all genres across the board.

What’s your favourite Christmas carol? 
“Joy To the World” is my definite favourite.

Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read? 
For me it has to be Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – it delivers such a powerful message and one that hits the heart every single time I watch it or read it. My daughter and I love the Muppets movie version but I also enjoy watching Seymour Hicks’ version.

Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?
My mother and my aunts do that sort of thing. I don’t have grandchildren and I’m self-employed so there are no co-workers to worry about buying for.

Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?
There has been a mixture of traditions in my life as I came from England where it was definitely indoors and always at home. When I came to Australia it has been a combination of indoors and outdoors (sometimes both if it’s a particularly hot day) and a combination of home and away, visiting relatives and extended family later in the afternoon or early evening or on Boxing Day.

What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal and do you have a special recipe? 
Always a turkey and roast vegetables spread with lashings of gravy and stuffing. I am proud to say that I follow Jamie Oliver’s Christmas recipes and they have not let me down yet. Everyone loves my slap-up feast and there are hardly any leftovers!

Jamie Oliver with his Nan

Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu?
I remember my maternal great-grandmother always started making her Christmas pudding months before Christmas day, and my grandmother and my mother upheld this tradition for many years. In more recent years my mother likes to make a Christmas Cake.

Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they? 
Mince Pies and Shortbread mostly, and Brandy Custard!

Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?
When my daughter was smaller we used to bake gingerbread cookies together, using different Christmas cookie-cutter shapes, but both of us got lazy and stopped doing it. Turns out it is cheaper to buy them from the supermarket anyway!

Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?
Before I had my own family, yes always. I do have family in the UK as well and it has been nice to spend Christmas with them whenever money permits (which sadly is not often enough for my liking).

Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?
Naturally it is different as I grew up the UK and now live in Australia as an adult where traditions and weather is quite different. I do try to continue some childhood traditions for my own family but we like to make our own unique memories too.


How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins?
I used to when I was a teenager and young twenty-something, gadding about and catching up with everyone I knew. Nowadays I spend Christmas primarily with my family and loved ones.

Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?
No, I am a tad fire-hazard and electricity-bill conscious so we only have lights on the Christmas tree which are carefully monitored and are only switched on for a few hours per night.

Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?
I have to admit, that comes and goes in our neighbourhood. One year we went out and found several houses in the area which were festooned with light displays but in recent years they have either moved away or just become electricity-bill conscious like so many of us these days.

Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?
We've been going to Carols By Candlelight at my mother’s local church group in recent years. This has been really wonderful for all the family and it’s great to have the local Salvation Army Band being a part of it.

Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)? 
No, not ever although I did spend my first Christmas in Australia on the beach (which I hated and was very depressed, so vowed I would never do again).

Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue? 
These day it is always spent at my home, with my family. Twice I have returned to the UK for Christmas there, which was equally as lovely and wish I could do more often.


Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?
That is funny! NO. It has never snowed in Perth (as far as I know at least!)

Do you have a Christmas tree every year?
Of course. Usually a tree lasts in our house for about 3-4 years before we need to go out and buy a new one and we always try to go for one that is at least 6 foot tall.

Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?
Imitation *shame-faced* and it is always, always green. I DO NOT believe in Christmas trees that are pink, blue or purple!

Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?
I like to use traditional colours such as red and green, silver and gold ornaments and tinsel. Every 5 years or so I invest in new ornaments (in the post-Christmas sales) but I like to keep and use a mixture of old and new.

Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia which is good and bad. Good because I don’t think the average Australian housewife and/or mother could handle the stress of two turkey dinners in a month and bad because I think some Australians could benefit from learning the value of being thankful.


  1. I loved reading this! Saddened to read it is unsafe in your neighbourhood ... why is that?
    Loved the 'Nanna nap' Wait until you are a nanna though, you'll not be getting much of a nap with little grandsons jumping all over you , lol x x x

    1. Unless you want to have doors slammed in your face, verbal abuse, hoses turned on you or dogs trying to take a chunk out of your limbs, you stay away and smile from a distance. :-)

  2. Oh lordy, that's a bit grim :-( So much for the Christmas spirit! We do have some grotty people in our village too, I guess you get some everywhere, but luckily we don't have it as bad as you x

  3. I enjoyed reading your account of Christmas and especially liked your illustrations. What a pity about your neighbours though - so sad that people are like that!

    1. Thank you very much Sue, I really appreciate your comments. Have a safe and a very Merry Christmas xx

  4. Thanks for a great post Deb with an interesting mix of experiences from the UK to Oz. I'm not surprised that having your first Xmas on the beach didn't quite "cut it". I loved your aversion to multi-coloured Xmas trees too. Sounds like being with family is a tradition for you, except for those overseas.

    It's strange that we don't seem to visit cemeteries here -I haven't worked out why -perhaps because they're not in the midst of a village?

    Love your vintage pictures.

    Have a great Christmas


    1. Thank you for coming up with the idea! And, of course, thank you for leaving a really lovely comment. I am so glad I took up blogging! People like yourself make my writers confidence soar. Merry Christmas to you and yours xx

  5. Thanks to Pauleen for directing me to your blog, well worth the visit. I can't imagine not having Christmas at home... the beach just isn't the same, nor is anywhere without a large family gathering.

    I was offered a beautiful, white Christmas tree once, with all the decorations included, all brand new... and I declined. This is Australia, our trees don't need to look like snow... I love our Aussie Christmases, though I would happily send those pesky flies who always seem to pop in for a visit, elsewhere. I, too loved the illustrations.. Merry Christmas to you and yours...

    1. A very warm welcome to you, and thank you very much for your lovely comments. Yes, I agree the flies are the worst part of Christmas (and I've just heard it will be 38 degrees next Tuesday! YIKES). Merry Christmas to you too xx

  6. I enjoyed reading about your Christmases. I liked the old pictures too. Reading the last comment, I am glad we don't have any bugs putting in an appearance around Christmas in Atlanta, GA.

    1. Thank you Kristin for your lovely comments, and I wish you a very Merry Christmas. xx