For me, Christmas Day has always been one of the hottest days of the year. It means splashing in the pool, smelling the smoke as my parents grill at the barbeque, and eventually moving indoors to escape the sweltering the heat.
Here, Christmas Day is very different. You sit inside, not because of the heat, but because of bone-chilling cold. Powdery snow layers the ground. Christmas lights strung along the houses twinkle in the icy evening air. It truly is a white Christmas.
I grew up in Australia where the winter is warm. We used to sing songs like “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bells,” but singing these words always seemed strange to me. Although, I am sure after baking in the hot summer sun all day, some Australians surely long for a white Christmas.
Now that I live in the U.S., when the snow starts to fall I hear my peers say, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” The snow now has become a symbol of the jolly season to me and sets the scene for all the Christmas movies we have all watched. The children frolicking in the snow, pelting each other with snowballs, and sledding.
Here, the more layers of clothes the better. In Australia, you wouldn’t dare be caught in more than a tank top and some shorts. As American kids build snow forts, Australian kids build sandcastles.
Christmas traditions run thick through all societies. Families come together and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Jenny Deecken, an American student from CCSJ, has many traditions in her family that are very different from those celebrated by my family.
One of Jenny’s traditions is to go to a performance of the life of Jesus Christ, which is then followed by her and her friends eating some fondue and watching a bad Hallmark Christmas movie. According to a recent ABC news poll, 83% of Americans identify as Christians. This strongly influences American Christmas traditions.
However, Australia is not as religious, so the season and traditions focus more on family than religious celebration. My family will get together and eat our Christmas food. We then will exchange gifts and make our way down to the beach to spend the day there.
Although the snow is beautiful, and the idea of the “white Christmas” is very cool and good to experience, I am very happy to be returning home for winter break to catch that summer sun and enjoy my idea of what Christmas is.
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