Christmas in 30 degree heat is certainly a world away from the frosty, holly framed images that have been etched into our minds from our northern hemisphere roots. Although half a world away from a white Christmas, we do take on a number of similar traditions, albeit with a distinctly Brisbane twist.
The jolly fat man in his most impractical fur lined suit for this clime, is of course, a major part of the Christmas experience all over the world, here in Australia being no exception. The kids have been lucky enough to bump into him a few times in the lead up to the 25th.
One favourite meeting we have made a tradition for the past 4 years, has been aboard the Santa Express. This specially decorated train put on by Queensland Rail, transports Santa and Mrs Claus across the network, riding the rails, handing out candy canes and smiles to commuters and children alike. With my boys’ infatuation with all things rail, this is always a great experience, although on previous years the boys have been a little terrified of the big man himself. This year, we were pleased to note no terror-stricken children.
In order to capitalise on our train ride into town, we took a wander through the Christmas sparkle in the Queen Street Mall. The department store Myer had 3 lovely animated Christmas windows based on the book Little Dog and the Christmas Wish. The mall itself had the same decorations as last year (giant tree ornaments) but the boys remembered them and were looking forward to revisiting the steam train one (what else?!).
And no trip to the city would be complete without a visit to the tree in King George Square. In 34 degree heat, it was time for a quick photo and then on to seek some shade. It’s no wonder the tree has a solar powered star atop.
We did have the chance to see the tree lit up, this time while waiting to see the Myer Christmas parade later in the week. (Yes, it does seem like Myer sponsors Christmas in this part of the world.)
We thoroughly enjoyed this half hour parade that runs through the mall towards King George Square. This year was based on the 12 days of Christmas with the geese and lords-a-leaping, particularly amusing. John only seemed to be scared of the swans. Result!
Had we not been exhausted and had a baby that needed feeding, we would have stayed on afterwards to watch the light projections on City Hall. City Hall never looks so good. Perhaps another year, we might stay on too for the nightly fireworks along the river. But as my father used to say, you have to leave something for next time. And so it was home to bed, one sleep closer to Christmas.
Finally, Christmas in Brisbane is not complete without road trip through the suburbs to see the best residential Christmas lights. Lots of twinkles in the kids’ eyes that evening, especially when at one house, the ‘snow’ started falling.
So on second thoughts, there was a bit of a white Christmas in Brisbane after all.