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We would wake up and rush to the tree to see what Santa had brought overnight. He was always good to us as my parents had us leave him a nice cold beer (instead of the traditional milk or juice) and cookies. Our Christmas tree was always an artificial tree as using a real tree was not very common at all. In fact the first time I saw artificial trees on sale was sometime in the late 1990's.
After opening the gifts left by Santa it was time to get dressed and get ready for church. Most Christmas services were on Christmas Day in the morning so you could attend a service and still be home mid morning to open presents. We always celebrated Christmas at our grandparents house and they had plenty of food to share. The food we enjoyed was mostly cold food like deli meat, different types of salads and fruit as it was usually extremely hot outside. There were a few hot items but it was mostly finger food like party meat pies and mini sausage rolls. Christmas is in the summer time in Australia and the temperature was usually at least 90 degrees. No sleigh rides or snowball fights to be had here.
Once lunch was consumed we didn't have anything definite planned. We figured the best thing to do is try to stay cool since it was so hot. Some years we got water pistols as gifts so we would go into the backyard and spray each other with water. If it wasn't too hot we would play cricket, ride our bikes, or play another game outside, but that wasn't too often. One year it was so hot the only way to stay cool was to go swimming. The only problem was that the local pool was closed and the river was only about 9 inches deep so our choices were limited. Luckily I was old enough to drive so a few of us got in the car and headed 30 miles out to go for a swim in the lake. There were signs warning about a blue green algae outbreak in the water but it was so hot we took our chances. Thankfully, none of us go sick that day.
That is what a typical Christmas day was for me growing up in Australia. It is a big difference to the hot meals and cold temperatures that is common to many in America. We used to have Christmas in July parties in Australia so we could experience a cold Christmas. They were a lot of fun and something that I will have to do here one day so my mates here can experience a nice, hot Christmas - Australian style. I'll even be kind and leave the vegemite sandwiches off the menu.