Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas in Oz: Things to love

Sure, I sometimes miss hot chocolate at Christmas, or bundling up to go out and see Christmas lights, but I do love Christmas in Australia. I've said it before, but the excitement of Christmas coming mixed with the relaxed vibe of summer is a great combination. Well, unless it gets too hot, cause then I have to cut someone. But mostly! It's great!

One aspect of the holidays that we love around here is Carols in the Park. All through December, pretty much every community puts on an outdoor carol sing. There's music, food, kids' entertainment, and Santa. People bring picnics, blankets to sit on--groups of friends will go together. It's like a summer music festival with a Christmas theme. Back in the US, I attended lots of Christmas carol services--but of course, they were mostly indoor or I spent them shivering outdoors. Those hushed church services have their charms as well, but we love the outdoor ones here.

Saturday was a very warm day, and because our house doesn't have air conditioning, we spent most of the day in the pool. I kept my crankiness at bay...but just barely. By evening, an air-conditioned ride in the car sounded perfect, so we drove to a Carols in the Park put on by a local radio station. Several friends were already there, so we all sat and listened to the music together. There was also ice cream.

There were some kid's games and activities on offer, and Nate and his buddy wanted to ride in the little jeeps that were set up in the parking lot. When they got to the front of the line, they were told that they had to have an adult ride with them. Lucky, lucky me--I was the only parental figure in the area. So, picture this-- (or actually, don't.) I had to sit up behind them on the back of the jeep, and put one leg on either side of the driver, so I could have a foot on the gas and brake pedals. And also lean forward to grab the wheel if necessary.

Hmmm. You might notice from the photo above, I was not attired for jeep driving by-proxy. And that dress did not have a lot of "give" to it. I looked at the guy running the ride. "Um, I'm not exactly dressed for this," I said. In trademark Aussie fashion he waved away my concern, "Aw, she'll be right!" And off we went, round and round this little track, I'm sure with me flashing the unfortunate bystanders each time. Of course, the boys jerked the wheel too hard before I could stop them, which caused us to hurtle into the tires set up in the center of the track. The attendant was a little annoyed with us, so not only was I scandalous, I was chastened for my failure to supervise, too! And then my flip flop broke when I tried to modestly disembark the jeep! You just can't win sometimes.

Wardrobe malfunctions notwithstanding, it was a lovely evening. The music was beautiful, the lights were sparkly, the weather was cooling down (mercifully).  Christmas in Oz is pretty great.

And luckily, I'll probably never see the people at the jeep track again! And that is the best gift of them all.