A Welsh Christmas from Down Under


by Christine Holroyd

I have wonderful strong memories of my cold, Welsh Christmases. Snow, sparkling lights and early, dark nights. We’d have snowball fights, and Mum tells me I can’t remember the times I used to cry and feel miserable because I was so cold. Despite my strong memory of many things from as early as two years old, that is not one of them.

My name is Christine Holroyd and I live in an area called West Gippsland in Australia. I moved from Wales, UK when I was 4 years old with my Mum, Dad and older brother. The countryside here in Winter with snow on the local mountains is very reminiscent of the beautiful area I came from, so after years of traveling, this is the place I now call home, living with my partner, Peter; our 4 year old daughter, Charlotte; and one of Peter’s three older children (and his mates) from time to time.

We arrived from Wales, all those years ago, by ship after one month at sea to a heat wave in this area. I seemed to adapt instantly and find that I love extremes in weather. We were blessed to have a home to go to, and Dad had a job, due to his correspondence with some people from this area. They are still our good friends to this day; and so our new Christmas Tradition began.

Christmas Day would be at their place and Boxing Day at our home then the next year we’d swap. Firstly, I’d wake up at home to a pillow case full of goodies at the foot of my bed from Father Christmas. What a treat! My brother and I would head into Mum and Dads room with our sacks and open things delightedly in front of them on the bed. I loved the fun and frivolity of it all. Without fail there would be an apple and mandarin in with our toys. I think I would have been quite upset had Father Christmas forgotten them, but he never disappointed.

Then it was time to open things around the Christmas tree in the lounge, sent from relatives living in England and Canada, as well as giving Mum and Dad their gifts. Then we’d excitedly head off for another gift opening session around our friends’ Christmas tree; and then it was outside for the start of a cricket match, no matter how hot.

We’d play until lunchtime, which was at a long table inside with Christmas crackers to snap open, and wonderful food to eat. Lots of laughter around the table and maybe another game of cricket or some relaxation after lunch. As we got older (and to this day on the odd occasion that I spend Christmas with this family), we would play some fun board game after a very light evening meal of leftovers… having spent the day much the same way as when I was a child.

Now that I’m a Mum, Christmas is still so much fun… but the emphasis is on Charlotte and hopefully giving her some wonderful memories to look back on.

Visit Christine’s blog, Gippsygirl.com, to find out more about “the musings of a Whacky and Hyper Mum” down under… or, from Christine’s perspective, right side up!

Christine Holroyd © 2009

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