05 December, 2014

Looking forward to an Australian Christmas season

Today is the last day of school for the school year for our younger two. Our eldest son finished last Thursday. I've been a bit shocked at how quickly this has come and how far it is still until Christmas.
We usually celebrate Christmas on our
own in Japan. This is our normal.

I guess I'm too used to Japan, where they finish school much closer to Christmas.

I'd also forgotten that this is the end-of-year combined with Christmas party season in Australia. Every little group closes up shop for Christmas and the end of the calendar year. In Japan we're immersed in two different cultures, each with different "end of years".

Japan celebrates New Year at the beginning of January, but their school and business year doesn't align with this, that happens at the end of March.

America (the culture of the school where David teaches and the boys study) celebrates Christmas and New Year too, but it doesn't mean the end of the school year, that is May/June. They only take a two or three week break from school at that time.

So in Japan we don't have end-of-year parties at this time of year. We have Christmas parties, but things aren't finishing up for the year. Certainly not for the two months summer break that we're working on here. Late December and January are fairly "dead" times for any church groups. Hence we'll have six weeks without deputation events in churches.

But in a sense Australia gets it easy, combining and end-of-year party with a Christmas party reduces the number of parties you have to do in a year!

It's been five years since we last celebrated Christmas in the summer. Our 9 ½ year old has only had one Christmas in Australia in his life and he's never celebrated that at my parent's house on Christmas day. It's been 10 years since we've done that.

So, I'm looking forward to a hot sweaty Christmas. One that involves time with family, lots of cold food, summer fruit, cricket and wearing shorts and t-shirts. Seems strange to most people from the northern hemisphere, but it's what you are used to!

I'm looking forward to nearly two months of not having to shove the boys out the door at school time. Of having a more flexible schedule. And, to not be putting on my missionary name badge and sprouting my stuff in front of groups (after this weekend).


Hippomanic Jen said...

The whole, "Which family are we Christmassing with?" decision must be really hard when you're only here every now and then. Everyone must want to see you!

April said...

To clarify what you wrote, Americans only take a 2-3 week break at Christmas. Their "between school years" break, what they call "summer vacation," is usually longer, like 2-2.5 months (except university students, who have a slight longer summer vacation).

Wendy said...

Jen. It isn't too hard. The cycle is just longer. Once every five years we're home. 2004 we were with my family and 2009 we were with David's, on Christmas day. The family that "misses" out gets us on another day. Our Central Qld Christmas will be the weekend before Christmas. When our parents are past hosting and things fragment a little more, I don't know what will happen, though. Our families have gotten used to us just telling them when we are available. Maybe that's the key?

Wendy said...

April, I think most people who know anything about the US know that they have long summer holidays in the middle of the year. It comes into a lot of American children's fiction, for example :D