Monday, 22 December 2014

Our Aussie Family Christmas Celebrations

The traditions for our family Christmas celebrations started before I was born, with the first for my family happening just after my parents got married. Their wedding was 21 December in 1957 in Brisbane, so their first Christmas was spent at Fingal Heads in Northern NSW, with my Mum's parents and family. This set the scene for many family Christmas celebrations to come, with many spent at Fingal. Of course, being the middle of Summer, Fingal beach was a favourite place to go.

I don't remember my very early Christmas celebrations, but judging by the photos I would have been 9 months old. Uncle Will made a great Santa, even if I wasn't quite so sure about him. It seems that for this particular Christmas Day we were at Aunty Nettie and Uncle Will's house in Queen Street, Redcliffe.

I look a bit worried about Santa, but I am safely in my Mum's arms.

Santa (Uncle Will) giving Aunty Nettie a gift while Des, (their daughter-in-law), looks on.

I am assuming I got an umbrella for Christmas - luckily it was in my favourite Tartan!

The family gathering at Aunty Nettie's, with Aunty Val (pregnant with Peter), Nellie, Bert Carby, Des, ? behind, Auntie Nettie, Uncle Fred, Uncle Gilbert, in the front row, Uncle Paul amusing me, June, Mum. Jacklyn, ?.

This is how I remember many of our Christmas lunches, in Grandma's dining room at Fingal, with aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Mum and Grandma

Grandpa, Uncle Will, Aunty Nettie, Dad, Mum and me on Grandma's lap.

This year I got a baby doll with a feeding bottle, a beach ball, a teddy and a golliwog.

My new toys all lined up.

We lived in Violet Town in Victoria when I was three, and this photo shows the chimney behind the Christmas tree. This house had two rooms with chimneys. Originally the old lady who lived next door told me I was so lucky that my bedroom was in a room that had a chimney as Santa would be able to come right down. Well, I lay in bed terrified, absolutely sure I could see a black boot at the end of red trousers coming down into the fireplace. In the end my parents had to shift my bedroom as I couldn't sleep all night.

This silver foil tree was in our family for many Christmas's to come.

For 5 years we lived in Mt Isa, and most of the time we travelled south to Fingal for the Christmas holidays, but one year, at least, we didn't and had our Christmas day at home.

I decided I would make a treat for my brothers, and made a Santa marionette. For months I saved up my pocket money and used it to buy little gifts, which I individually wrapped. Santa had a hook on his hand so he could pick up the gifts and give them to Steve and Mal.

This post was inspired by Maria Northcote of Genies Down Under  in her December 2014 podcast Episode 39: Christmas Stuff for Genies.


  1. I admire your inventiveness with the marionette Chris! Looks like a lot of work and care went into it.

    Don't you think presents were simpler then? Do children get beach balls now at Xmas? is it the influx of cheap Chinese imports or higher standards of living?

  2. What a great post, Chris. I love the way you have included some of your memories of Christmases from your childhood among the photos. Makes it all the more real.