Santa coming to a kid in the Australian bush still seems a novel idea to me, but he did or so I believed. A novelty song in Australia at the time called Six White Boomers, was based around the idea of Santa swapping his reindeers for six white kangaroos. The reindeers would probably get heat stroke during the delivery run to Oz and were changed for the roos. I always thought that Santa should change out of his Santa suit into something cooler, say, singlet, shorts and flip-flops. All red of course.
|CHRISTMAS GUM TREE. 1959.|
My half-sisters ( they’re twelve and thirteen years older than me) and I always were thinking of Santa’s welfare. They had started the tradition of leaving out food and a cool drink for a hot and weary Santa. However, it wasn’t a glass of milk as you would suspect but a glass of beer. Folks, there’s nothing as refreshing as a cool glass of beer on a hot day. Why should Santa miss out? As we found out years later, Dad was the one that played Santa. He was the bloke that delivered the presents, ate the food and drank the beer.
Christmas morning couldn’t come quick enough. I remember finding it hard to sleep as any kid would. The thought of Santa coming and the heat wasn’t conducive to sleep. I was ready to unwrap those presents at four in the morning but I was always told to go back to bed. I had to hang on until six. It was worth it. The tree had presents piled high around it. I tore at the presents like I was crazed. I think I opened everyone else’s also. I remember getting toy guns, cowboy and Indian ( with headpiece) suits and even a tepee for presents. Bush Santa was the greatest.
|CHRISTMAS LUNCH. 1959|
By the time Christmas lunch was ready the heat was intense. You didn’t want to go outside. I don’t know how my mother cooked a hot lunch during the hottest time of the year. As a result, she always looked a little tad stressed. It was tradition to have a hot English lunch. Dad always helped. He would bake and glaze a leg of ham, a tradition I still carry on.
|MUM LOOKS STRESSED.|
So on a hot day we sat down for a hot English lunch of roast turkey, roast chicken and roast ham with lots of stuffing and vegetables for at least ten to twenty guests. So much that there was always leftovers. Dessert was a plum pudding with custard and my mother’s triple with a heavy taste of sherry. They were the greatest Christmases and every year I still try to emulate them (minus the cattle station and the gumtree).
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And I hope the weather isn’t too hot wherever you are.