The approach of Christmas is an exhilarating time, and December reigns as my cherished month of the year, brimming with festive merriment. Even in Australia, where a ‘white Christmas’ is not the norm, our nation’s distinct and delightful ways of celebration never fail to captivate. Amid our trove of time-honoured family traditions – grilling two plump chickens and exchanging playful prank gifts – my heart resonates most with our annual pilgrimage to the grandest nursery in our state, a voyage marked by its distance yet enriched by its significance.
The sprawling nursery, a treasure trove of potential arboreal companions, calls for a lengthy expedition. Its emerald aisles cradle a kaleidoscope of trees, standing tall upon the earth, awaiting the touch of discerning souls to become holiday heralds. While my mother aspires to scale the heights with the tallest contender, my father’s preference veers towards modest stature. As arbiters of balance, we ultimately converge upon a choice that embodies harmony.
Emerging from the verdant sanctuary, our journey leads us to a hardware store based near Bentleigh, a haven of raw materials and paint. Here, the next tradition unfolds – crafting the tree’s foundational base from scratch. United in purpose, my brother and father mastermind a wooden vessel, tailored to cradle the tree’s trunk. The canvas is then enlivened by each family member, a symphony of strokes painting our cherished Yuletide designs.
Dawn of the morrow heralds a visit to an electrical supplies store near Cheltenham, an essential expedition for adorning our festive emblem. This year’s addition, a string of resplendent, intermittently twinkling lights, acquired upon the suggestion of a genial store attendant, finds its place. Not to be outshone, my father arms himself with commanding, luminous globes, destined to illuminate our sprawling garden and towering adornments. While the dazzling array infuses our abode with splendour, the element of surprise often catches me off guard – a colossal inflatable Santa materialising on my return from school. The juxtaposition of awe and trepidation is a testament to the grandeur of our Yuletide preparations.
In reflection, the true essence of Christmas emanates from the embrace of cherished traditions and the bond of a family united in festive fervour. As I count my blessings, I am reminded of the profound privilege of sharing these joyous moments with loved ones who mirror my adoration for the season.