Subject: Re: Christmas / Holidays Away from Home
Hello Lesley,

> 2. Is a barbeque on the beach REALLY what Aussies do for Christmas dinner?

We're such a multi-cultural country that it's impossible to generalise - some go for a beach/surf/outdoor/barbecue theme, others follow their traditional customs (Dutch, Polish, German, French, Italian, etc) and some don't celebrate Christmas at all because they are not Christian and it's not one of their religious occasions. In our case, we follow our English tradition of a roast dinner - but the meats are cooked outside in the barbecue kettle and the roast spuds are baked in the electric frying pan that's plugged into an outdoor outlet so that as far as possible, we don't add the heat of cooking to the already hot house. We turn on the aircon rather than the heater and dress in fewer and lighter clothes but other than that, we have gifts under the tree, Santa's helper to distribute them, pull Christmas crackers containing silly hats and even sillier jokes and drink a traditional toast to absent friends - probably just as you do!

For those who want a 'traditional' Christmas dinner without the hard work involved, most hotels and restaurants offer this service but need to be booked by the beginning of December.

The lead up to Christmas is probably almost the same - shopping centre Muzac repeating the same carols from about October to December, holly, tinsel and assorted decorations adorning every shop counter and window etc. The annual Christmas parade through the city streets is worth queueing for but 'Carols by Candlelight' is something worth attending - an event held outdoors in every city in Australia, where the audience sits on blankets under the stars, light candles and join in the carol singing in the open air. Truly, you haven't experienced an Aussie Christmas if you haven't attended Carols by Candlelight.

> 3. What would you do if you were breaking with tradition and happened to be in Sydney for Christmas?

Immerse myself in whatever is happening around me! Even if it is totally opposite to what I usually do, enjoy it, ask questions, get involved, take lots of photos, write lots of diary entries.

After all, this may be the only time I can experience a 'different' Christmas.

Cheers, Sue In Western Australia, where it's already tomorrow!