Ho-ho-holidays on Totem

Christmas feels very different here. First, the obvious. Even though we’ve had a couple of years to get used to “tropical” climate Christmas, it still feels strange. Our higher-latitude, northern hemisphere rooted brains just think that cold weather (and maybe even a little snow) are part of the essential holiday package.

Here, though, Santa gets with the warm weather program. We were graced with a visit at the marina, and the kids pointed out- no shoes! I’m sure he was happy to get the big boots off down here.

naughty or nice?
Aussie Santa don’t need no stinkin’ shoes. Sunglasses, however, are essential.

The long days are great, and with summer solstice just a few days before Christmas, it’s light very late. This is perfect for the spontaneous marina BBQ potlucks, which seem happen a few times every week! It’s not so great for viewing lighted holiday displays, though, when it’s still light out at bedtime. Somehow, seeing lights decorating the outside of homes (and trees inside them) feels so much a part of the holidays… there’s comparably little visible decoration here, by contrast.

On Totem, we reprise our “mast tree”: we wind the mast with tinsel and LED lights, and hang ornaments off them. I think we were only up late enough to bother putting the lights on once, though. It was simply too light to see them.

Not that we were falling short on the festive front.

holiday favorites
Holiday favorites: an advent calendar (3-D, house design), Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree, and lots of tinsel… that’s the Mast Tree in the back  

Some of our Aussie friends said they like to play cricket in the park on Christmas day. Sounded great to us! We planned a picnic with fellow cruisers at a waterfront public park near the marina. It was a stunning day- blue skies, warm breezes. Crews from Totem, Quartermoon, A Small Nest, Sea Level, Tangaroa, Further and others brought our toys, picnic baskets and blankets to pass the afternoon. Propane barbecues are standard issue at Australian parks, and having a sausage sizzle also seems to be as Aussie a tradition as you get. But somehow, the cricket game never materialized. When they tired of flying kites, a baseball game broke out instead! I guess that’s what happens when the American boats outnumber the Commonwealth participants…

yer out!
Flor, Niall, and Ward playing our pick-up baseball game on Christmas day

There are so many slivers of holidays from home that I miss. Feasting with dear friends and family, gathered from afar. The progressive dinner in our old neighborhood. Chilly evenings warmed by a glowing fireplace. The annual holiday ball at SYC. The caroling fire truck on Bainbridge. But as seems to happen, our cruising family steps in and new memories, new traditions are made.

It wasn’t the same, but it’s hard to imagine having it any other way.

Ward's turn!
Ward, from the Belgian crew on s/v A Small Nest, bounding up for his turn on Santa’s lap.

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