Bush Kids

Children and Nature

Tag Archives: Christmas in Australia

Light on the River

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The lead up to Christmas in our part of the world is busy and full, just like anywhere else. But year after year, I am thankful that our experience of Christmas is made up of a round of meaningful celebrations and community gatherings, and that we are able to avoid getting caught up in a commercial Christmas frenzy.

At home, much-loved seasonal traditions continue to generate much excitement. The kitchen table is constantly  covered in scraps from various Christmas crafting, baking and making, and behind closed doors there are numerous secret little projects going on.

At our local Christmas party, held in an old timber hall in the middle of a paddock, Santa arrived this year on horseback and families sit down to a shared dinner while the kids climb the water tank and play in the shallows of the river.

I steal out for early runs while little people are still asleep, and drink in the scent of eucalyptus in the brief cool and quiet of morning, before the heat of a summer’s day arrives. At the end of another day of Christmas preparations we all pile into the back of the ute, and head to the dam for a swim to cool off.

At this time of year I am profoundly thankful for the abundance of our lives. I am thankful for the generosity and kindnesses of neighbours and friends. I am thankful for the joyous wild life my children lead, and for the great love within our home and our family. I am thankful for this place we live and for its beauty. I am thankful, too, that amidst all this I can stop for a moment, and watch the last of the evening light fade on the river.

Peace and love to you this Christmas!

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Bush Christmas

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis year, after many years of hosting extended family Christmases, it will be just us at home together, plus one set of beloved grandparents. We have completed the round of end-of-year events, and gifts were purchased a while ago when there was time to ensure we could source considered and, if possible, beautiful things (plus the odd bit of outdoor equipment!). Whilst it is still a busy time of year for us, because we live remotely we do not get caught up in the commercial frenzy of frantic buying and stress.

Instead, we have time to immerse ourselves in Christmas traditions, which are a cherished mix of old and new – some that we have created as a family together, and some passed on by the generations. There is time for baking and making, preparing home-made gifts for teachers, friends and family. We attend Christmas celebrations at an old country hall, where after a quick service and some rousing carols, the kids play in the creek and climb the water tank and race around the paddock. We host a Christmas party for the neighbours of our area around a big open fire under the stars.

Every evening we light another candle on our advent spiral, counting down the days until Christmas Day. And the children enact the story of the nativity with our beautiful wooden figures, gifted to me one-a-year every year by the family I stayed with on exchange in Germany when I was 18, until the baby Jesus is placed in the manger on Christmas morning. Sometimes we go for short rides/walks together at dusk, because it is school holidays and there are no bedtime pressures. Along the way we gather wildflowers – there are so many after all the rain – and flowering gum. I love to fill the house with gum at Christmas – with its fresh scent of eucalyptus, green leaves and delicate white blossom it is the perfect ornament.

Traditions like these generate much excitement and build the Christmas magic in our home. Most importantly, there is time to consciously celebrate light and love – of Christmas and of family.

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