The thought of spending Christmas at Bondi Beach makes most people swoon. Imagine relaxing on the golden sands, soaking up the sun, drinking a cold beer, and opening your Christmas goodies. Sure, we may have to replace the good old turkey dinner with some Australian BBQ, but it’s something we can get through.
I was really excited to share this dreamy Christmas experience and had my Santa bikini ready and waiting. I couldn’t wait to call my family stuck in cold old England and tell them how wonderful my Christmas day had been.
Unfortunately, nothing like that happened…
You don’t want this guy coming down the chimney
This dreamy Christmas experience is all about being hot and sunny, but what happens when it rains? And that’s exactly what happened at Bondi Beach during Christmas 2009. It rained all day!
In true British style, we headed to the beach in the rain. I was hoping for a miracle where the cold drizzle would magically turn into 30 degree sunshine. It was what was promised by every stereotype of Australia. I optimistically wore a bikini under my hoodie, but there was no chance of me going anywhere near the ocean.
We huddled under a shelter, exchanged presents (all bought at 100 yen stores), and locked ourselves in a criminal box, which the police quickly confiscated. So much for Christmas cheer!
We were hanging around the beach, trying to be festive and have fun, but something was wrong…this wasn’t Christmas.
The day was long, cold, drunk, sandy, and surprisingly un-Christmas-like.
Around 11pm, I received a call from my parents wishing me a Merry Christmas. Her mother was the first to speak, telling how she would wake up at 6 a.m to make minced meat, build a big coal fire all over the house, and roast turkeys.
My father was shoveling snow from the driveway in preparation for guests, and my brother was throwing snowballs for the dog.
As my mom talked, I could hear Christmas songs in the background. I heard her father open the first bottle of champagne (one of many in the Stott household). And I could hear my family laughing and shouting before they took turns opening presents. I wish you a Merry Christmas over the phone.
It actually sounded like a scene from Home Alone. Only my family was home and I was the only one who left.
I could almost smell the mince pies. I felt the warmth of the fire and the tingling sensation in my fingertips that you only get from throwing snowballs for too long. I could hear the excitement and anticipation for Christmas dinner and taste the champagne everyone was drinking. But the worst of all was hearing the sadness in her mother’s voice. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, and we both knew that if I was there, I would be able to come into my own, taking part in all the festivities.
During this conversation, I was sitting alone on the steps of my hostel, snacking on soggy kebabs and drinking cheap wine from a plastic beaker. I was still a little damp from the rainy day at the beach and feeling more homesick than I’ve ever felt in my life.
I think this was the only time I felt homesick during my trip, but I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I was gradually sobering up and my head was pounding. I was tired and cold and wanted to stay home. I just wanted it to feel like Christmas.
If you peak a little early or peak early, there’s always someone who gets abused for it by everyone in the hostel
That’s why I’m so excited to be home for Christmas this year. Last weekend, I went back to my parents’ house to decorate the tree. All the presents have been purchased and all wrapped and waiting. After two years on the road and two Christmases away from my family, I’m looking forward to a good old family Christmas.
my christmas tree this year
Have you ever felt homesick or had a disappointing experience while traveling? There are some things you think could be different and wonderful, but in reality, the traditional experience is much better. You can see that