Pauleen Decks the Halls -my Xmas Geneameme response

Baby Jesus in mangerLast week I invited everyone to join in with the Christmas Geneameme and this is my own response. There’s still plenty of time to participate as I won’t collate all the responses for a week or so. Please leave a comment to make it easier to track your reply or you can use the twitter #xmasgeneameme tag. The more the merrier!!

Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family? We traditionally set up the Christmas tree on one family birthday and take it down on another. A tree is a must, as is my grandmother’s Christmas shortbread.

 Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day? It was for many years and we’d always go to Midnight Mass wherever we lived – the music and atmosphere was very special. It was also a good way to ensure the children slept in a little despite the excitement of Santa <grin>

 Did/do you or your grandchildren/children believe in Santa? Yes, they all do/did…I don’t recall when that changed but this year my smallest grandchild keeps whispering his Santa wishes to me…too cute….I just hope Santa’s factory has the right toys <smile>

 Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood? My singing would frighten away werewolves so no. I was reading an old diary a while back and was reminded that we had carollers from the United Church (Presbyterian and Methodists) visit our Port Moresby streets at Christmas. It was a memory that had completely disappeared.

What’s your favourite Christmas music? Ode to Joy, hands down. But I also have to listen to the Messiah at least once over Christmas. Beautiful chorale versions of carols – I have a lovely one from Oxford which is great background music.

 What’s your favourite Christmas carol? This one is tricky: Oh Tannenbaum in German (for my ancestry, and because it was on one my family’s earliest Christmas LPs); Mary’s Boy Child, for the words and music and because my husband loves it; Little Drummer Boy because it was on the first Xmas LP we bought after we were married and I’d never heard it before; and Feliz Navidad for its sheer exuberance.

Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read? Not really, but I always love the scenes in When Harry Met Sally with the tree and the New York lights…it reminds me of our pre-Christmas visit to New York back in the early 90s.

 Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)? We do gifts for the littlies and Secret Santa for the adults in our family, with a fixed price limit.

 Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away? Indoors with the air conditioning going! When we’ve been at our daughters who has a pool we may be outside as there’s an option of a swim to cool down.

 What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal and do you have a special recipe? For many years now we’ve been eating ham and seafood (usually prawns) together with the fanciest salads we can make for our main Xmas meal. Sometimes we’ll revert to roast pork on Xmas Eve which will be a cold accompaniment on Christmas Day. Of course always accompanied by a nice wine.

Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited? The main course may have changed, but there’s always Christmas pudding –even if people are too full to eat much! I inherited my pudding recipe from my mother. We also have a new tradition for Xmas dessert –our daughter’s tiramisu.

 Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they? My paternal grandmother’s shortbread recipe is always on the menu and for many years I made my mother’s Christmas cake. These days I make a new recipe I discovered decades ago – my Green Peppercorn Xmas cake.

 Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas? Not much these days unless I have a flash of inspiration though the grandchildren and I usually do Christmas craft including our own bon-bons.

 Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa? Luckily we mostly live in the same city so we have every 2nd year together. Our other daughter will visit for Xmas most years where possible.

 Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ? Yes because we always had a hot Christmas dinner not cold. My father was often working shift work (as did our children through their uni years) so the timing would vary. Christmas was one of the few times each year when Dad would have a beer. We’ve both got small families so we’re used to small Christmas gatherings.

 How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins? Many of our friends now live a long way away but with those who are closest (geographically) we usually do a mix of these options.

 Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot? Yes – just a little, but enough to add a bit of sparkle.

 Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue? No, not many houses have lights at all (and with an upcoming 30% increase in power charges, that will drop even more next year!). The big Xmas light displays in particular neighbourhoods are beautiful and a real community contribution.

 Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where? This was a huge tradition in our family and our youngest daughter attended her first one when she was only weeks old. They were held on Wickham Tce in Brisbane for many years. It’s a while since we’d been to one so we joined family last week at the Darwin carols, only for it to be shut down by lightning, heavy winds and rain….the latter two are okay, but you can’t mess with lightning. Most years we listen to the televised Carols by Candlelight from Melbourne –sometimes while wrapping presents.

Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)? No, we prefer to stay at home for Christmas.

 Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue? Usually we’re at home but I’ve had one Christmas overseas.

Do you have snow for Christmas where you live? Not a chance in Australia’s tropical north, though if it’s raining and the air-conditioning is on, you can trick your mind into thinking it’s cold outside.

 Do you have a Christmas tree every year? Absolutely!

 Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation? In early years it was a live tree (either a small casuarina or a baby eucalypt/gum). Now we have an artificial tree, which we downsized as empty nesters then upsized again when they babies came along.

 Do you have special Xmas tree decorations? I have a “thing” for Xmas tree decorations and keep on buying them as if we have a huge tree. Some of these have special memories from trips near and far, but especially those from the Bavarian Christmas markets.

 Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving? Christmas is the main family celebration for our family (as well as birthdays). Australia doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving which is probably as well because I think people would go into meltdown if there was one more thing to do in November on top of end of year at work/school/clubs etc.

14 thoughts on “Pauleen Decks the Halls -my Xmas Geneameme response

  1. It’s really hard to imagine a Christmas with the air conditioning running! Even here in Atlanta, GA, it’s at least chilly. Most of the other traditions are familiar, although the food is different.


    1. Trust me Kristin, it would be a bad-tempered Xmas without the option of aircon 🙂 I can easily imagine that it seems strange to you though. How interesting that our traditions are similar.


    1. Thanks for joining in Chris. I could really identify with so many of your comments. I loved the idea of the mobile Xmas caravan off to the beach. I hope you too have a great Xmas. Pauleen


  2. I wondered what Christmas would be like in tropical Darwin. Do you ever lose power and have to cope without a/c?! Your comment, ‘Christmas was one of the few times each year when Dad would have a beer’ reminds me of my Dad. He and I would often share a stubby!


    1. Yikes, no aircon on Christmas Day!! Ugh! So far it hasn’t happened but I have visions of ten of us trying to fit in our plunge pool 😉 Funny how one memory leads to another isn’t it.


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