There seems to be a bit of an urban myth that all Australians spend Christmas at the beach. Well that seems to be what the rest of the world think anyway. In fact I really haven’t spent many Christmases at the beach and I daresay millions of Australians do not spend their Christmases at the seashore either.
I have experienced one actually, and that happened to be in 2017, at the age of 49. I have spent Christmas near the beach but not at the beach.
When the children’s godmother’s said they were coming to Australia for Christmas the first thing that popped into my head was “let’s have Christmas at the beach” I am not sure why, was I insane? I was hardly experienced at organising a seaside festive shindig.
But it seemed the logical thing to say, isn’t that what everyone thinks we do here in Australia? Images of Bondi Beach, the Whitsunday’s and the Gold Coast come to mind, endless white coastlines, sun, sand and surf. So, there is was, they were coming for Christmas and I had to madly think about where on earth we were going to have this quintessentially Australian Christmas.
After much deliberation I found the perfect seaside house at St. Andrews which was a short distance from the beach. This part of the Australian coastline is rugged, craggy and lush with coastal vegetation and stunningly beautiful but not for swimming in. The rips are fierce and the waves can swell to over three metres, only surfers navigate this coastline, there are no lifesavers here.
So, I had to decide between beach view and swimming between the flags and I chose the quietness of this side of the peninsula versus the holiday crowds on the bay beach side. We were not disappointed, it is really very spectacular.
We arrived at the beach house and got ourselves organised for our festivities. We had planned to do very little except enjoy each other’s company, soak in the sunshine and take walks along the beach. It was hard not to be caught up in the excitement that our visitors brought with them, they were ecstatic to be in our country, I had forgotten just how amazing it is to be on the other side of the world in a foreign country.
As a child I would read musty dog-eared textbooks in geography lessons and gaze in wonderment at all of these exotic sounding countries and famous monuments and try to imagine what it must be like to visit them. This seemed a pipe-dream, a fantasy and something that you aspired to do when you were a grown up. But when you actually do it, you have to pinch yourself; you cannot actually believe that you are standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Tower Bridge or walking the cobblestones paths of Rome. You are that child again gazing in amazement and wonder.
They were thrilled to be here and I was very happy to be showing off my country to them, it was a proud moment.