Christmas, Upside Down

By Nicole Flockton, author of Seducing PhoebeRescuing Dawn, and Masquerade

Snowman on the beachThe weather’s warming up, the kids are finishing school, office parties are being planned and talk of what you’re going to do over the break is happening all around the office. Excitement is building and I can’t wait to see everyone at my aunt’s for Christmas breakfast.

Christmas is here! Christmas is here!!

Hang on, wait something’s different. I look outside and the trees are bare. The weather is cold and miserable. Kids are getting off school but it’s only for a short break. What’s going on? Is this really Christmas?

Yep, this is Christmas US style and after four years of living here in the US I’m still not used to having a cold Christmas! Having to wear layers and boots when I should be wearing a nice summery dress and cute sandals.

Being from Australia I’m used to a HOT Christmas–  and I’m talking up towards 100F hot. Where people are outside using the grill to cook shrimp and lobster. Having salads in addition to the roast vegetables. Having roast chicken or beef or pork instead of a turkey and having cold ham instead of hot. Swimming in the pool after eating too much at Christmas lunch.

One of the biggest adjustments I’ve had since moving to the US is the change of season for Christmas. The first year here it felt so different to take the kids to the park and freeze because of the cold instead of sweltering because of the heat. It didn’t FEEL like Christmas and that made me sad.

I remember when the kids were finishing their first year of school here, the weather was hot, summer was knocking on the door and I was getting excited and I couldn’t understand why. Then it hit me, Christmas would be here soon yay! But, of course, Christmas doesn’t happen in May when school finishes. It really did feel funny knowing that a long summer break lay before us but there was no Christmas mixed amongst it. I remember talking to my daughter’s teachers and saying, “What are you going to be doing over the Christmas holidays?” Of course they looked at me like I had 10 heads but that’s how I associated finishing school for the summer.

It’s hard to change the way you’ve always done things or celebrated holidays but it’s also an opportunity to create new and different memories for Christmas now, and that’s what my family and I are doing.

What are you favourite Christmas memories?