Robyn is the fourth person we interviewed. A grandmother of six and a longtime fashionista, Robyn leads a very active life by the beach. Robyn makes the most of her retirement life, making sure she has some form of social gathering every day… or at least that’s what her husband tells us. Whether it’s a lunch with the girls, a Mahjong session, a visit to the grandchildren or a little croquet, Robyn’s life is jam-packed.
Rae is the last lady we spoke with. A macadamia farmer, Rae often spends an ordinary day on the tractor, slasher (a farm-sized lawn mower), or on the farm keeping the books. Rae’s three grown children live nearby and often pass by for a quick catch-up. When not on the farm, Rae enjoys caravanning in rural and regional parts of Australia.
Now that you know the ladies, let’s get to the questions:
When do you think is the right time to install your Christmas tree? What about your other Christmas decorations – Christmas lights, trinkets and other Christmas decorations?
Petrina is a Christmas person through and through, she shared, “Before setting up the tree was a fixed task on December 1, but now I’m doing it around mid-November. This year the tree climbed during the first week of November. It’s getting earlier and earlier from year to year.
Nat’s family begins building their elaborate display of Christmas lights in early November. Usually the tree will go up in mid-November, however, Nat shared that this year has drifted away from the family, and so the tree will be in place today.
Rae’s family traditions agree with the above, with Rae saying the Christmas tree and all decorations are to be installed on December 1. Rae also shared that December 1 every year is a very festive occasion, with all of her Christmas baking making, meal planning. , and all the decorations that rise on December 1 as well. Rae’s family made the decorations together from rolls of crepe paper and glue. Bending, cutting and gluing tree decorations, paper chains and paper lanterns, Rae explained that the garlands were a symbol of health and that the fairy lights on the tree were the greatest status symbol of all.
When is it okay to press play on Christmas carols?
Petrina thinks there’s nothing wrong with playing these Christmas carols as soon as the tree is in place, but it’s best to listen to them while doing Christmas things.
Rae explained that she enjoyed playing Christmas carols as she got ready for Christmas – putting up the tree or the decorations, wrapping gifts or preparing the food. However, her family often tells her to “turn this shit off”. When this happens, it increases the volume. The joy of Christmas is seasonal and must be shared!
When do you start planning gifts for loved ones? When do you buy them?
Petrina shared, “In a perfect world, I would start planning early – during the winter – just to avoid the last minute panic. However, if you are a mom like me, you will start planning in November and aim to finish by the very beginning of December ”.
Anna said she usually leaves Christmas shopping until Christmas week, but has a specific list of what she wants to buy for each person before she goes shopping. Anna also shared that she had them wrapped in the mall the day she bought the gifts, to save her time and hassle.
Nat explained that she usually left the planning and buying gifts until school holidays (because she was working). However, this year, due to the threat of stock shortages, she arrived early, having already planned and purchased most of her freebies.
Robyn enjoys buying gift cards for her family. This means that they can get exactly what they need, and no one ends up with something unwanted or unsuitable that they don’t really want. Robyn normally supplements these gift cards with something small and starts thinking about what and where to get the small items and gift cards at the end of November.
When do you start to prepare the Christmas menu? What’s on it?
Petrina shared, “I start planning the menu at different times depending on where the family is. Ham is usually bought first; we always have a big leg of ham, smoked and glazed with fig and macadamia nuts. I think this is a Better Homes and Gardens recipe that I found about ten years ago. We always end up eating leftovers until January, no matter how bad or good for you. Ham goes with everything; Ham and eggs, ham sandwiches, all with ham. plus loads of little desserts: Pavlova, Mars Bar Slice, chocolate crackers, cheesecake and rocky road, plus a Christmas cake. “
“I don’t think much about Christmas lunch before school holidays,” Nat shared. Nat’s Christmas menu was quite similar to Petrina’s, however, her enthusiasm for the holidays intensified at a different time. “The end of school and a Christmas party in the street are a great way to start December for us. We are preparing a small amount of themed food for this holiday and for last week’s work.
Robyn’s family always have a leg of ham, but also fresh shrimp, baked potatoes and an assortment of delicious desserts for Christmas lunch every year. Robyn shared that this year, after many years of hand-making her own Christmas cake, a family recipe that probably comes from the classic CWA cookbook, she bought her Christmas cake from Aldi and is delighted to make other things with those free hours. she now has between now and Christmas.
Rae is a passionate chef and loves planning and preparing the Christmas menu, often planning the meal and its signature dish well in advance of the festivities. She explained that her family normally had a macadamia glazed ham, a hand-rolled turkey, and plenty of sweets for afterwards, including a plum pudding that takes eight weeks to fully mature.
What does Christmas mean to you? Has it changed?
Petrina: “Christmas is a time for the family. A moment to have fun, meet up and enjoy each other’s company with a tingling of fruit [cocktail] by the swimming pool.
Anna: “Christmas is about catching up with your family and reconnecting with your faith. I am a Catholic, so for me Christmas is a time for new life, regeneration and reconnection with those who matter most to you.
Robyn: “I think it’s a good time for the family to reunite, if it’s possible.”
Rae: “Christmas is family time and great food. Spend time with your children and their families.
So, are the new angles of Christmas and the seemingly uninterrupted holidays changing the fundamental basis of the holiday season?
It seems that the meaning of Christmas has not been lost, as new age Christmas ideas are becoming fashionable. Christmas is always synonymous with good food and good company; spend the day with those you love. It’s not about the lights you put on your tree or the amount of money you spend on gifts. Despite the commercialization of this holiday, Christmas is always, in his heart and in the hearts of these five women, a time for the family and to have fun together.