Three Huge Boxes Came By Morning Post

This morning, while I was still stumbling about in a pre-coffee stupor and a dressing gown, a large and unexpected box appeared at my front door.  I signed, and then immediately recognized my mom’s handwriting.  Surprise package from home!

Inside, beneath a layer of what I at first took to be some weird new packing treatment, I found a canvas painted the same shade of green as my beautiful bedroom back home.  My first thought was “Why not use a smaller box to send the canvas and forget the packing material?”  I requested a green canvas a few months ago, so I could have a small piece of my old room here in my house.  The entire bedroom is airy with pretty white fabrics and dark wooden accents, with the green as a backdrop.  It’s a very pretty and peaceful room.  I’m so happy to have this shade of green in my life again, this color invokes memories of everything good in my life when I was a teenager.

Then I turned my attention to the sweet pink bags, each tightly tied shut.  The note didn’t give away much, and mom hadn’t mentioned anything about this box last time we Skyped.  When I carefully opened one bag, I found a sparkly bright pink fish Christmas tree ornament!  I realized the other bags must conceal a small stash of bizarre and beautiful ornaments.  Let me tell you, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas for a variety of reasons, but the topper was moving the the Land Of Summer Christmases.

I know, I know, Australians, I know this is a great festive time of barbeques and tiny dresses and seafood and wintry decorations completely devoid of irony but this time of year really gets me down.  I miss our house back home, I miss conifers and chilly weather, roasted dinners that make a house cozy and fragrant, I miss helping wrap presents for the army of children my mom shops for every year and rushing around in the cold to go to Christmas Eve candlelit hymn service followed by covertly dropping off the aforementioned presents and cinnamon buns in the morning.  I miss being able to knit simple and useful gifts like beanies and mitts.

I know plenty of people love their mid-summer Christmas, and I try to get out of your way as best I can.  I don’t usually try being very festive, nothing about it feels right.  Mom and I chat about this almost every year and at her urging I lamely tape up a few garlands or some boughs of bougainvillea.  This year, it seems, she took up the challenge to decorate an authentically summery Christmas tree.  I can just see her out shopping, keeping an eye out for colors and motifs for a summer celebration, perhaps obsessing over whether the sparkly pink fish will work with a bright orange jellyfish tree topper and how the light will play with the color and wondering what color lights I have.  I can see her fingers patiently tying each little bag securely closed, and hunting around for the perfect box to ship it.  I can see her standing in line at the post office.  I see a lot of love.

Since she took the trouble to wrap each piece individually, we’ll make it a game to decorate our tiny plastic tree with one new ornament every day.  I haven’t peeked!

Today while we decorated I told Lila about the trees we had in the house when I was a teenager- beautiful baubles and streamers for the “front room” tree, and blown glass fruit and vegetables and birds on the “family” tree.  They’re gorgeous, and weird and wonderful, and now I have the beginnings of my own weird and wonderful Christmas tree and I have plenty of stories to weave around it.

I’m excited, actually happy it’s Christmas for the first time in years and already thinking of what else I could do to make the house a little extra festive… Just like that, Mom gave me back Christmas.

Lila kept photo-bombing and laughing wickedly…

And then, once I’d dressed and had some coffee, two massive boxes full of these little beauties decided to make their appearance!  Finally!  I’m really pleased with the way they turned out, little errors notwithstanding.  I can’t wait, CAN’T WAIT for you all to have your patterns!  Lila helped me stuff envelopes (I don’t have as many as Snow White does) and I mailed some off today, the rest go in the morning.  Once I ship your Tiramisu Dress pattern, I’ll be sure to send you a notification.  Snow White is handling the Northern Hemisphere shipments and she will also let you know the second everything ships!

The Tiramisu Dress Pattern is available on Etsy.

Up Next- The Digital Release!

What do you think?  How would you decorate and celebrate for a summer Christmas, without referencing the winter season or “exotic” plants like conifers and holly?  What’s your favorite Christmas activity?  If you’re not the biggest fan of the season, what do you do to celebrate (if anything)?


  1. Yeeha the patterns are here!
    I’ve grown up here in Australia so a summer Christmas is normal, I love having a BBQ Christmas lunch and spending time at the beach/lake over Christmas. Down here where I live we are surrounded by radiata pine forests so having a conifer tree is normal, when I was growing up we had a real tree each year and I do miss that when I put up the plastic one now! I think my favourite Christmas activity is going for a drive to see the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, it’s been a tradition that I grew up with and I love doing it with my kids now (plus making my own way over the top gingerbread house and going to see the Christmas parade!)

    • Yes! It’s great to be sending all the patterns off. :)

      That sounds wonderful. We’re aiming to take a few days at Lamington National Park over New Years…

  2. I’m not a big Christmas person, now the kids are at school the huge end of term exhaustion and killer bills for next year’s books kinda kills the joy. The kids still love it of course!
    Can’t wait to get my Tiramisu!!

    • Yes…. I think that’s the part I missed before, the mother’s role in making Christmas. It’s really for Lila, and it delights her so I’m happy too..


  3. I live in Brisbane like you, Steph, but for most of my life. I am used to the hot Christmases, but I do dream of a cold one (or many). I don’t get into the “aussie” styled tree or decorations as I think the traditional ones still have more meaning for me. But the last few years I have enjoyed changing to a bright, colourful tree. These include butterflies, doves and owls. So a little different but not Santa wearing boardies with a beer in his hand!

    Hope that helped. And very excited to receive my pattern this week.

    • Oh! Butterflies would be so pretty, I might have to look around and see if I can find a little crafty project to do with Lila..

      If you’re in Brisbane, chances are you’ll get your pattern in the post tomorrow. :)

  4. I’ve never had a warm Christmas! My Christmas tradition is…eating with family. We have traditional recipes we always cook and I look forward to it every year. Recently I don’t like the gift part of the holiday as it seems a waste trying to find a gift that in the end is never too special. Must be really exciting to have to new patterns! Looking forward to hearing about the digital release.

    • I bet your house smells aaaaamaaaazing with everyone cooking.. :)

      Yeah, I struggle with the whole “gift giving” thing, too…

      It’s good to see them, yes. :) The digital release is very, very close. Hours.

    • I was very surprised! She’s so thoughtful.

      Relieved, yes, every envelope I sealed and posted today was a weight off. In a good way. :)

  5. Oh, wow, what a fun package from your mom! She is too, too sweet! I’m kind of a Christmas junkie myself– I love the season, and it’s a nice bright spot in the otherwise dreary winter for us northern folk! But I can see how it might be kind of different in the southern hemisphere (and how it might be more stressful as a parent).

  6. My family is a mix of christian and jewish, but we’ve always had a tree because they make the house smell so nice. I just love ornaments, probably because I love all tiny things like that! My grandma used to make a new ornament for each grandkid every year, and after she passed I started doing it for all my cousins. I don’t have as much time anymore so now I just make them for the cousins and nephews that haven’t gone to college yet.

  7. I don’t live in the Southern Hemisphere, but I do live in San Diego. It might get cold for Christmas. It might get hot for Christmas. You never know what the weather in December is going to do. Won’t be snowy though!

    I think the thing is to make your own holiday traditions. We used to walk to the beach after all our holiday meals. Hot or cold, it’s a nice way to refresh yourself and burn a few calories. I also enjoy eating the seasonally available produce (particularly since we grow a good portion of it).

    If you need some “cold time” arrange it either late at night or earrrrrrrrrrly in the morning. Maybe take a walk after the latest possible church service to look at lights, or get up super early on Christmas morning and have a cup of cocoa before the heat hits? (I’m sure Lila would appreciate the latter).

    • We definitely tend to get in a little more “outdoors” time over holidays, my husband’s family lives in the country. I agree about the walking. And the produce.. Here it’s stonefruit that come into season, which is quite delicious.

  8. Greetings from Texas, where Christmas weather could very well equal shorts and flip flop weather as well. But wait–you know that! I grew up in the south, where kids longed for the Vermont-type Christmas fantasy, promoted by Hallmark, LLBean catalogues and endless showings of “White Christmas”. I did see 2 feet of snow the week before Christmas in Chicago on a business trip one year- the realities of -26F temperatures/-75F windchill factors, the snow plows and car engine heaters quickly set in.
    Glad your Mom wisely sent some trappings of joy for you to share with Lila, who will enjoy the traditions of her childhood as well. She will enjoy and understand a special season, with the juxtaposition of Santa and Christ, family and festivities, giving and sharing in an age appropriate way.

    • Yes, the actual day can be variable, but it’s still the middle of winter… Generally not flip flops weather… :)

      Wow, that’s a lot of snow!

      I tend to leave out Santa, that’s just me. But yes to all the rest!

  9. Your mom is so sweet! I love the fish! I only know cold Christmasses, but what I like are the decorations and the lights, and having a wonderful time with my parents and my brother’s family. It feels like a prelude to the New Year, where new things can happen and it’s time for dreaming. I need Christmas to get me through the cold months of the New Year.

    • I think I should remind myself about that- “a prelude to the New Year, where new things can happen..” Nicely put.

      Tonight we unwrapped a seahorse as long as my hand and the same sparkly pink. hehe.

  10. Oh yay! I’m glad you’re feeling more in the spirit this year.
    I have always thought it was weird/amusing to see the winter-themed decorations in the middle of summer. And they would go up in the middle of October because there isn’t Thanksgiving to provide that buffer! Oh well, happy holidays :)

    • Oh, yay! What great presents, and hooray for your mom. For me Christmas is all about celebrating family and life in the mids of dark and cold—I would have a really hard time translating it to a midsummer event, too. Maybe it would help to read up on traditional midsummer celebrations/festivities?

  11. I’ve always thought Christmas must be strange in warm climates, even in the southern US. I grew up in cold Chicago, went to college in cold MA, and moved back to (still) cold Chicago. Snow, pine needles and the like are what I understand Christmastime to be, so I completely understand how out of place a summery Christmas must be to you. But what a special way for your mom to try and make it have new meaning for you! Sometimes it’s important to carve out new traditions when the old ones doesn’t necessarily fit. :)

    (And woo hoo on the box of Tiramisus!)

    • I haven’t had much exposure to “real” winter, but I do know cold Christmases, at least. ;)

      You’re so right.

      (woo hoo!)

  12. Awww, moms are the best! That’s such a sweet and thoughtful gift. Although I’ve never had a white Christmas, I’m still attached to cold Christmases…I tried to imagine a sunny, warm Christmas as I was reading this and I just couldn’t! So, no advice, but lots of sympathy. Also, that picture of Lila grinning at the tree is just the best.

  13. I don’t know how I’d cope with Christmas barbecue…very odd. But your mum is the best…what a beautiful thing to do. Lila’s face says it all!
    And what a great day for deliveries. At last. You can breathe again!

    • Hehe, and the barbeques are usually kind of different in content, too.. It’s interesting, we might have to blog a big barbie sometime…

      Such a lovely thing to get in the mail… I hope I’m that thoughtful one day…

      Yes! Breathing! :)

      • I think you’re that thoughtful already. Your mother did a great job…and I suspect you’re doing the same with Lila!

        • Thanks, Evie. It helps to have a strong example to follow. :) If I could get her into “house” blogging I would, she has such a talent for putting together a room with whatever she has…

  14. This was one of your posts of which I smile the whole length of reading. And of which earns me copious stares and maybe a comment of ‘who are you texting?’

    My my Lila’s hair is long!

    • Oh man… You’ve got to come back so I can show you what’s been happening…

      Very long, we may just bob it short for the hot weather. I think she’d be more comfortable.. And very grown up lately.. :)

  15. I lived in Arizona for many years, and once we got ocatilla ‘skeletons’ (6 foot long sticks with holes all through them) and pushed the ends into a bucket of sand. Then decorated those with painted devils claws which are seed pods with ‘arms’ – you’ll have to google image both of those. I can’t describe them. It was certainly not traditional, but definitely memorable as we collected both the materials, and then made the ornaments. I must have been about 6. You can put presents under an ocatilla skeleton just fine.

    PS Yay for your mom. :)

  16. your momma is a sweetheart! what a thoughtful gift.
    i think baking shortbread is a christmas must – snow or no snow ;)
    i hope your transition from wintery christmas to downunder christmas goes well :)

    • Mmm shortbread. You know, I think I’ll do that! I haven’t done any baking for aaaages. Let me get Tiramisu out, and sorted, and then I can grab a few hours to make it… Yum!

  17. It’s not necessarily that we love our Christmas as it is, it’s that we have the Christmas we have, so we’ve made the most of it. I would LOVE to have white Christmases. But alas, unless we are sensible like the pagans and move the downunder Christmas to July, so it is at least in winter (albeit snowless) it’s what there is to work with. And I think Mama is very sensible to introduce this, as for Lila at least, Christmas could be a time of magic and wonder and shiny things too. :) So I guess what I am saying is that I understand! And I’m a bit envious of the many winter Christmases you got to have growing up :)

    • You said this so well Mrs C. It is after all about the spirit no matter where you live and helping keep or make traditions for the children.

    • I think it can be what you make of it and loving it MrsC!!! I DO love our Christmas as it is. I love how summer and Christmas are entwined. I love the lengthening of days, the thrill of seeing my first pohutukawa in bloom, barbecues and picnics and being able to have family events with 70 of my relatives that we can fit into one home because we are spilled out onto the lawn. I love that the holiday season is in the season I most want to take holidays in. I am very glad that we haven’t been sensible and moved our Christmas to winter!

      But funnily enough, although I feel the opposite to MrsC about the seasons this is why I can empathise with Steph – I try to imagine a winter Christmas and it just seems, well, a bit odd really. And although I’ve said many times that I think we’re very lucky to have warm Christmases, I know rationally that that is largely because that is all I’ve ever experienced. I think if I moved north Christmas would feel like a completely different beast and although I would enjoy experiencing a white Christmas once, for the novelty, I suspect that once that novelty wore off I would be acutely aware of its wrongness.

      But it is so much what you make of it. For a few years when my brothers were young we celebrated Christmas differently, at their father’s preference, and although it was in the right season, on the right day, it was never really Christmas. So a few years ago, just after the division of families, Mum and I decided that we were going to reclaim Christmas the way it matters to US. We have decided on new traditions and reclaimed old ones, and even though we now celebrate Christmas on the 26th or 27th (as my brothers are with their dad on the 25th) it feels more like Christmas than it did when they were young. And should I ever move north and have to experience the weirdness of the planet THOUGHTLESSLY messing up my favourite holiday, I think I’d set about reclaiming it again.

      Steph, in answer to your question about decorating, when we reclaimed Christmas, Mum ceremonially bought a new tree and declared that she was going to decorate it solely in white. It harks to the tradition of a white Christmas, but is more of a homage than a commitment to it. One of our new traditions is that every year I scour the shops looking for white decorations and give them to Mum to celebrate reclaiming Christmas. Sure, we have snowflakes, but also doves and owls and butterflies and flowers, and lots of beautiful round and oval baubles in porcelain and glass. Wintry yet not, and the high contrast tree is so beautiful.

      Your Mum sounds awesome Steph (hurrah for awesome mums), and I really hope that you and your husband and your super adorable Lila find ways of designing the holiday in ways that matter to you as a family.

      Also, sorry about the LONG comment. MrsC will attest that I am a talker. It’s a fault, I’ll admit.

      • Wow!

        Yes to Mrs C. Sensible indeed, and yes about being adaptive and enjoying where we are.. Absolutely.

        Miss Joie- Nice to meet you! Talking is cool. :) Thanks for the lively and thoughtful post! I can see what you mean and the White Tree sounds so pretty!

  18. yeeeee, I can’t wait for the digital release! I even bought the paper pattern and paid postage for the digital pattern… I just can’t wait to start sewing my Tiramisu!

    • It’s so close! Tonight I’ll be releasing the Digital Download files through Craftsy, just had to get all those pre-orders out first. :)

  19. Your mom is pretty great, I have to say. Some of my fondest memories are of decorating the rather scrawny little tree that my grandfather got every year. (He was not from a Christmas tree country, ahem). Decorations consisted of half broken old glass ornaments, scratched up lights, and tinsel (reused, generally in clumps). My grandfather seemed to be fairly entertained by me and my cousins ‘decorating’ process.

    Obviously, your little tree is much prettier (love the fish)! I’m sure decorating it with you will be a long-cherished memory for Lila.

    I’m originally from the west coast (U.S.) and so Christmas snow was more of a legend that a reality for me as a kid. I can see where a summer Christmas would be nice with other bright colors, beyond red. (Always loved pink Christmas tree lights myself.) Christmas can be whatever you want it to be, whatever tradition or non-tradition works for you. And iced (soy) egg nog sounds good to me!


    • Yes! A bit of a non-traditional Christmas, but we’ll have fun and Lila will learn some good family and religious stories. So it’s all good. :)

      Hmmm eggnog lattes…I’ll have to look out for some eggnog, it is pretty delicious…

  20. Wow! THREE big boxes by the morning post! Oh, how I LOVE boxes/parcels/packages. And I do really love Christmas, living in Canada (although I feel like I live in the tropics here in Toronto compared to my properly freezing and wintery northern prairie winters), so I can empathize with your doldrums a little bit. I get it. But I’m also tearing up a little reading your post. What a lovely way to say “thinking of you” and so much detail, thought and care into helping you create a magical Christmas tree. And what fun Lila will have! Here’s to having the best mid-summer Christmas with such a pretty ‘new’ tree.

    • Yes! Three! It was like magic, especially since my UPS tracking code told me the patterns wouldn’t show up until a day or two later. So that was a nice surprise.

      Toronto as tropical! I love that! heheeh. But I can see what you’re saying, definitely.

      I love that she didn’t send any explicit instructions, either… And I’m glad we didn’t just tear into it, it’s been nice opening one a day. Thank you!

  21. Growing up we had a pine tree in a pot that got dragged in every year, until we got tired of the ants invading the Christmas presents, and the pine needles shedding all over the carpet. I am however tempted to revive this tree-in-a-pot tradition with my own family, with something a bit more aussie.. wollemi pine maybe? I’ve also heard of people finding beautifully/interestingly shaped gum tree branches and using those as Christmas trees. I’d be way tempted if I could get my californian husband to go for it, but after 8 years he’s still unhappy about a plastic tree so I don’t see him going for a leafless-non-pine-branch any time soon. As far as non winter decorating, we put fairy lights up outside, and use gold and silver ribbons inside. But apart from the tree and a nativity scene, we’re not big on decorations.

    • Yes, I want to try to get my hands on one of those little potted Norfolk Pines I see sometimes this time of year but have never managed to actually buy. They sell out so quickly.

      The gold and silver sounds pretty. If I could find a really simple and no-thought-from-me required felt nativity set, I’d be all over that. Maybe I should have a look around Pinterest… ;)

  22. I bet you cried when you got your bit of home. I got teary for you reading this post, but then you already know how homesick I am (I will be home at the end of February for good). For some odd reason the strongest christmas memory for me is sitting in the dark at night with all the windows and doors open (it’s cooler with the lights off) watching ancient christmas shows. My favourite was a stop motion animation that I can’t remember the name of but Burl Ives was the voice of Santa. When I was last in Los Angeles (the christmas before last) I stayed with some friends who had it on DVD and we sat in the dark, drank martinis and watched it together like a bunch of middle-aged kids. I don’t do much for christmas now I’m old, but I always make a special christmas dress and Molly gets a new set of antlers that she wears to every party. She is a very patient dog. The most christmasy thing I do each year is choose a colour scheme and wrap all my gifts in that. Last year it was purple and silver. I’m on a bit of a black and silver art deco kick at the moment, but I am also partial to chocolate brown and gold. Like everyone else, I can’t wait for Tiramisu. Thank you again for this wonderful thing you are doing and all the hard work you’ve put into it.

    • I did tear up when I realized what she’d sent. And when I was writing this. :) You know me! hehe.

      End of Feb! Nice! We’ll have to meet up, I’ve been making it a goal to get down to Byron more often, something about the waters in the bay and the feeling of the place and Julian Rocks on the horizon and the craggy mountain range as a backdrop on the land side just really refreshes me… My brother is visiting in Feb, too, I was planning to take him out kayaking or snorkeling or something rad.

      It IS cooler with the lights off… :) And more than ever, I’m thinking we should hang out after hearing about the martinis-and-christmas-shows night with your friends… hehe.

      I love the work, but there’s no way I’d do it without y’all. :)

  23. Thanks for such a wonderful, evocative Christmas post. Having grown up in Australia, I do dream about the white christmas and all the special things that entails. That said, I love the occasion, spent with my family, opening presents in the morning with freshly brewed coffee, followed by breakfast of pastries, yoghurt and fresh fruit, and drunk with champagne. Lunch of cold meats and seafood with more champagne and finished with a good, solid nap.

  24. I’m a believer in creating your own traditions once you leave home. I moved further north and live in Alaska. I hear the snow plow going by right now, must make this quick–the shovel is waiting for me.
    The most important traditions are the family gathering. I make all of the decorations and add new ones each year. This year I am making new table runners and napkins to match.

    • Yes… I think I never got around to figuring out my own grown up traditions, but that’s a really important thing for a parent to do, isn’t it?

      Oooh tablerunners! I wish I could see them! :) What design?

  25. Christmas is complicated for a lot of people. I love Christmas day, being the oldest I had to hold onto a lot of childish Christmas traditions well into my teens because it made Christmas special for my brother. End result of that was that in my 20’s, I would be the one waking my brothers up because I wanted to get the show on the road.

    Now, I don’t know. I try, I really do. I get excited the day of but it’s just complicated and I can see how a change of climate would make it surreal.

    It’s almost like an advent calendar of bags you’ve got there? I’m glad to hear such enthusiasm in your voice.

    • Yes. Very complicated. :) You know.

      Yes, advent calendar in a way! There aren’t 24, but I have some other plans to add on. I am inclined to think it was planned that way… To get me started.

  26. I love Christmas and summer, so having them come together is heaven for me (and normal, I don’t know any different).

    I don’t particularly think of conifers referencing cold-weather Christmas, because I’ve always loved Australian pines. I usually have one of those in a pot for my tree, and after Christmas either try to keep it alive on the balcony or plant it in the garden. There are bunya, wollemi, norfolk and hoop pines among others native to Australia.

    Then I throw on any tacky ornament I darn well like! If you can’t have kitsch at Christmas, when CAN you?!

    • I’m finding it! It does seem like Christmas is a good thing, summer is a good thing, so it should work.. :)

      I do enjoy occasionally dabbling in kitsch, myself… hehe. It’s such fun.

  27. How sweet of your Mom! Sounds like she just made this one special Christmas.
    Lila! What a gorgeous little girl! Looks like she is full of spunk! Her photobombing was pretty adorable.

    • So sweet! I’m really enjoying opening the ornaments. And (she knows this) I’ll pack them back in the bags and into the flat little box that will slip under a bed and then use them next year… hehe.

  28. I absolutely adore Christmas! I live in Kentucky, so it’s usually always cold around the holidays, here. Sometimes the snow falls, other times it doesn’t, but when it does come on Christmas, I feel like the happiest person in the world. I get in this sort of mode in the latter months of the year just waiting for Christmas to come. It’s so magical and fun–exciting and cheerful! I build up this great emotion for it, loving every minute, but often times my expectations are far to great to be fullfilled. I always dream about the perfect Christmas: snow falling outside, toasty warmth indoors, everyone merry, great food… It seems like it never meets what I wish for the most though–the joy of the season penetrating every person’s attitude (including my own). I don’t want the holiday to be about presents; I love gift giving, but what can you buy at a store, really? What would make me happy is a gift someone put love into–something handmade that didn’t cost him/her. One of my older friends told me that her family always exchanged homemade gifts around the holidays. I wish I could have that. I feel like that sort of sentiment is what really does put that spirit in each person, that is, when the person in question is into that sort of thing. I don’t really like talking about my personal life on the internet, but for me, personally, my religion is another big part of the holiday, and I hate how we often get away from that. I feel like I should really be giving thanks on that day. I actually read something interesting the other day about the Queen: she and the Royal Family exchange gifts before the actual day, and Christmas is actually devoted to Christ, for them. She believes that that should be the focus for that day. (I wonder, sometimes, if I don’t have an unhealthy fascination with her!)
    Anyway, I find those warm Christmases you all celebrate to be so strange! I’m sure you do feel it a great deal, coming from the states where it’s usually always somewhat cold (if only in comparison). I hope that, one day, you’re able to fly home every year for some Christmas time with your family. Home sickness is a real bummer, and the opportunity to go back home while feeling that way seems euphoric in one’s mind–like a “Tara” moment in Gone With The Wind. I am glad, however, that you’ve gotten back into the Christmas spirit! There is just nothing like it!
    I really can’t say what I would do in your position, as far as decorating goes. I hardly know what on earth I would do if I were decorating on my own! All I know is that, when I have my lovely home,and when Christmas comes around, I want green everywhere–real trees in every room, garlands across every doorway, mistletoe in every doorway… (We actually have quite an abundance where I live. It’s rather comical in the winter time when all the trees are bare except for these green balls in all of the trees!)Of course, I plan on staying where it’s cold for Christmas. Warmth would make me feel wierd, as I’m sure it makes you feel.
    Merry Christmas! What a long post!

    • Long but really good reading! Thanks for taking the time, your spirit is so infectious!

      I didn’t know that about the Queen, but it sounds SO her. :)

  29. Oh the wonders of a Mama who knows you need something to sparkle amidst the lack of snow. Isn’t she a gem.

    ‘Tis a funny season, weather and climate notwithstanding and it wasn’t until we had kids (and they turned about 3) that Christmas got some sparkle back. We decorate the tree together, talk about stuff we’ll do over the summer holidays, plan festive baking exploits and so on.

  30. Lovely post, great parcels. Grappling with the same issues myself. 4 years of hot Christmases now, 1st was the biggest shock as I arrived from frosty UK on christmas eve. Have always been travelling on the next 3. Now my eldest daughter is 2 and a half and I have 9 people coming to stay so think I need to make an effort. I don’t want to replicate a cold Christmas because it just feels wrong and as for a tree…… we’ll see what I come up with, shame my red bottle brush have come to the end of flowering, very christmassy in an Australian way.

    • Oh, arriving on Christmas Eve! That would be odd.

      Yes, I got that “I should make an effort” feeling when Lila was about that age… Luckily, little kids are super easy to impress and dazzle. ;)

      Last year around this time I did a little photo project of all the red flowers in bloom with green foliage. Might do something similar this year, it was fun and pretty…

  31. I used to love Christmas — we waited all year for it, and in the week before Christmas Day, people started putting up their trees and hanging lights outside, and putting one electrified white candle in each window. We made special foods that were only for Christmas. Stores got in great crates of citrus fruit. Now, stores start advertising for it in July. You can buy citrus fruit the year round.

    I now work for a church. The planning, cajoling of volunteers to help with decorations and cooking, the constant onslaught of callers asking if we can “do” Christmas for them (breaks my heart), complaining from all quarters that worship is not like they remember from their childhoods 70 years ago, etc., etc. has driven me into the I Hate Christmas Club.

    • I think you hit a very tall nail on the head there, Lin. How to make it a special time when you can get the foods year round and when Christmas is dragged out for months on end? Seems a shame to do that to a nice holiday. It’s too bad we can’t petition the stores to wait until December 1 to start the Christmas stuff… Oh well.

      I worked retail in a large mall in a wealthy area when I was a teenager/university student. It’s really awful. It’s probably the worst work I’ve ever ever had. One year I worked at Gap, then three or four seasons as a barista at Gloria Jeans. People are mostly really snappish and kind of mean, and your bosses expect you to work 10+ hour shifts. It’s nuts and enough to kill anyone’s “Christmas Spirit.”

      I completely, completely understand why you’d feel that way. *hug* New Year is just around the corner!

      • Thanks for the virtual hug! It gets better after Christmas Day, when we can relax and just enjoy the other eleven days of Christmas. Have resorted to visiting my brother in Florida, who decorates every room in a three-story house, plus his porches and the lawn. Nice to enjoy his handiwork without the bother of dragging out boxes of ornaments — or putting boxes of ornaments back in storage later.

        I sympathize with your bad retail work experience. We should all try to be extra specially nice to “the help” all year round, but especially during the mad rush of Christmas shopping. A simple “Thank you for your help today” goes a long way to sooth the troubled brow of the shop clerk who checks you out at the counter. Well, if you say it sincerely, and not snarl in derision, lol.

        The very interesting comments from so many places in the world remind us that the reason for Christmas is so much more important than European traditions from the 1800s.

  32. What a sweet gift from you mum – so thoughtful. I’ve never thought about how funny it must look for a northern hemisphere’er to see all the fake winter decorations here – lol, it’s actually quite ridiculous when you think about it! I hope you have a very merry Christmas. And, CONGRATULATIONS on your printed pattern arrival and shipments – yay!

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