How we’re spending Christmas

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Dan Kuseta
My Christmas has always been divided into three parts: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Party. On Christmas Eve my dad’s side of the family, the Croatians, always meet up. There’s lots of garlic prawns, eggnog and the Neil Diamond Christmas Special on loop. Christmas Day is a big lunch with mum’s side, about 30 uncles, aunts and cousines and there’s a riot if mum doesn’t bring her signature scalloped spuds. Bon-bons, bad jokes and backyard cricket follow.

At night my friend Yuri has an awesome Christmas Party where a few hundred people rock up to let off some Yuletide steam.

Trish Gallagher
Champagne, caviar (well – black jarred roe from Woolies… it’s tradition) smoked salmon, prawns, oysters, leg of ham, porcetta, turkey crown, roast veggies including brussel sprouts and lots of them, beer, white wine, more champagne, Christmas pudding with brandy custard, butterscotch schnapps, mince pies, a token box of ‘roses’,  red wine, toasted turkey and cranberry sandwiches, negronis.

And there’s only the two of us.

With family interstate and friends mostly abroad, Christmas at the Gallagher household is just a pig-fest for two. We spoil the dog senseless but he has absolutely no idea what’s going on, especially when the strap-on puppy antlers come out. As far as gifts go, I’ll be re-wrapping the satellite navigation system that remains in its box from last year.

G. Raymond Leavold
The day will start at 6am when I get up to put the beers on ice. Apart from setting the table before lunch, making sure the beers are nicely chilled is my most important job for the day. My dad would say that the first beer is to be consumed a bit before midday, but that’s usually just said and not adhered to; a hollow statement that makes us look a little less like alcoholics.

We’ll probably have our first beers at around 10.30am. I don’t have a problem, dammit, it’s just Christmas! Heaps of food will be eaten, a nap will be taken, and a sandwich from all of the left-overs will be made later that night. The night’ll probably end with a glass of cognac.

Hopefully I get that smoking jacket I’ve always wanted for Christmas so I look the part. At some point during the day, I’ll be watching this and this on YouTube.

Brett Hamm
Since my side of the family is all in Canada, my wife and I have it pretty easy Christmas-wise. This year we’re doing the main event on Christmas Eve at her parents place in Moonee Ponds. Since Christmas is all about the kids, and only my oldest brother-in-law has any (the four-year old show-pony extraordinaire Wesley), this year will probably amount to Wes running around like a cousin-starved, sugar-hopped, overly-stimulated lunatic while the rest of us slowly tire of humouring him and get quietly drunk on mojitos.

At least I hope there’s mojitos.

Sheamus Duggan
Aside from spending time with family, my only other Christmas plans involve drinking beer and watching cricket. Thankfully, this year I have television reception. Last year the only pub I could find open on Boxing Day that was showing the test match was The Tankerville. Nobody should have to go through that.

Ellen Fraser
The Fraser clan tend to lean toward an outdoorsy scene for Christmas. This year there’s a serious bocce movement happening, with whisperings of ‘extreme bocce’. Extreme bocce generally just means obstacles like trees, hills and beloved family pets get involved. Food-wise there’s seafood, and because grandma isn’t all that into seafood there’s also ham, which I’ve recently learned costs like $200 a leg? She’s knitting me a maroon sweater too, which is going to be off the hook.

Rebecca Chan
The End Game: slipping into a food coma.

Getting to that stage requires a lunch at the parents, where they have carefully planned out lunch AND dinner, each comprising of 10 courses. The trick is to say you’re full when you’re half full, so that by the time you’re stuffed like the turkey you just ate, they’ll finally stop complaining that you ‘peck like a bird’.

Then it’s on to the friend’s place, where they have marinated at least five different types of meat in twice as many sauces for DIY barbeque. Thankfully, they don’t force you to eat – they only make you listen to Il Divo to get into the Christmas spirit before launching into late night Kinect.

Matt Wilson
Before Christmas I see my Dad’s side for a catch up, and in the lead up to Christmas I’ve got a
work dinner at a Turkish restaurant, complete with a belly dancer making people join her. On the big day itself I’m getting together at an RSL for lunch with my Mum’s side for a three course meal. Splendid!

Kristian Hatton
Santa is a vampire, don’t invite him in.

Lehman B. Smith
Carolling, ham-glazing, setting up booby traps, saving Ernest, accidentally killing Santa then metamorphosing into a fat man with white beard and a heart that beats the rhythm of “jingle bells” until I eventually accept my fate as the new Santa Claus.

Taryn Hunter
Our family Christmas tradition usually starts on Christmas Eve, with mum and I watching/making fun of Carols by Candlelight, singing at the top of our lungs while my sister yells at us to shut up. I might be nearly 30 but that hasn’t stopped mum filling up my Santa sack, and we still gather round as a family on Christmas morning to open presents. While we insisted on all three meals last year, 2012 will encompass a big boozy brunch; followed by dinner with all the trimmings- our pudding even includes scratchies this year!

Michael Avery
I’ve always found Christmas Eve to be a suspicious day: whoever plans anything on Christmas Eve? With that in mind, I’m going to watch a film that has reputably been named the greatest of all time (Tokyo Story, you better be good).

Then there is Christmas lunch, perhaps more accurately ‘morning tea’ for my family. With a mother who is too nice to say NO to working on that special day we have to make certain accommodations. This all under the assumption that there won’t be an apocalypse by the way…

Sarah Ing
My first Christmas away from my homeland (good ol’ US of A) promises to be anything but traditional.

Food: traditionally, my mother cooks a huge Christmas Eve dinner for the family and upon completion, we roll ourselves onto the living room couches. This year, I will raid the refrigerator for last week’s leftovers and my boyfriend and I will take turns sitting on our one chair.

Presents: usually, heaps of gifts are exchanged by the fireplace. For Xmas 2012, a trip to St Kilda may be in order. I will treat myself to a margarita and the beach.

Bedtime: Back home, everybody snoozes by 11 pm. In Australia? 11 pm. Some things don’t change.

Caitlin McAtomney
Most people wouldn’t elect to move house in the week prior to Christmas. But I’m a sucker for punishment, so I’ll be doing just that.

As such, this will be the first year in my life that I won’t be joining my large family for their Christmas festivities in Brisbane. They usually have a stylish, loosely-themed lunch party which is planned months in advance and involves good wine, great food and laughter aplenty.

This year the theme is “retro island/luwow”, which seems a bit obscure, but less-so in the context of the lunch being at my Aunty’s new beach abode on Russell Island. I’ll pop a hibiscus behind my ear and Skype-in at some point. Meanwhile, I will be enjoying a very relaxed orphan’s Christmas in Brunswick with the family of a dear friend.

James Zarucky
Since Dad’s half of my family is Russian I technically get two Christmases: the first on the 25th, with the second a few weeks later on the 7th January. Both celebrations will be similar, if not identical to that held by most. Lots of family members, plenty of food and drink, and now being a student in my early 20s, Christmas presents taking the form of things I genuinely need but am too poor to acquire otherwise.

Merry Christmas,Happy Hanukkah/Kwanza/Solstice/HumanLight, and a joyful Public Holiday Observance to all!

Sarah Carty
I’ll be heading home to Australian’s own Apple Isle over Christmas. I’ll be heading along to the Taste of Tasmania to sample some of the state’s best food and visit MONA FOMA. I’m most looking forward to catching up with old friends and my family who I haven’t seen in months, whilst taking a break from big city life.