Sunday, 20 December 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A few days of heat, I tried not to count but I think it was five days above 38 degrees and three of those at the end were 45 degrees here on our verandah. Our old house did really well at staying cool and we capitulated only yesterday, Day 5, when we turned on the split system air conditioner for a few hours in the afternoon.
The ceiling fans and pedestal fans kept us feeling cool enough to function inside and to sleep comfortably.
Thermal mass, the secret ingredient to comfortable living all year round. They certainly knew how to build houses a hundred years ago and we are once again grateful to own a very old home with thick solid stone walls.
Today has been a very comfortable 26 degrees and all external doors and windows have been open all day to let the fresh breezes through to cool the house down in readiness for another spate of very hot weather leading up to Christmas.

Last week, before the heat, I made a huge batch of Honey Biscuits and three trays of shortbread. During one of those hot days I made up lots of bags of each, tied up with pretty Christmas ribbon, which will be given as gifts and added to small hampers of home made goodies to those few friends  and family who receive gifts from us.
I've avoided the shops and other public places where people ask, with stress in their voices, the same old thing whenever we are approaching Christmas. "Are you ready for Christmas?" and "Oh no, it's suddenly Christmas and I haven't finished all my shopping, now I just need to buy stocking fillers."
Stocking fillers!! Isn't the gift enough? Do we need to add lots of little "stocking fillers" that the receiver will throw away two days after Christmas?
I just don't get it that people are so stressed out financially in order to spend a lavish Christmas and then pay for it for months to follow.
Isn't Christmas supposed to be about families getting together? When did it all become a big showoff parade of who can buy the biggest and fanciest present? Or is it because we feel obligated to give expensive presents in return for the lavish gifts that we've become accustomed to receiving ?
Pfftt.... call me Scrooge but I'm saddened that people dread Christmas and I wish they could just chill out and get with the real spirit. We all have way too much of everything here in our comfy developed countries, so I prefer to give something to those who don't have as much as we have.
OK I may have a weird way of looking at things, but I gain far more pleasure in giving something to a person or community who really needs help.
I understand that this may not suit everyone, for all kinds of reasons, but if you feel like you want to get off the treadmill of Christmas, all it takes is a discussion with your family and friends well before next Christmas.
Talk to your children and make them aware of how lucky we are here in our wealthy countries. Encourage them to give part of their pocket money to a worthy cause and to consider alternatives to buying and receiving large gifts.
Again this year we are giving gifts to each other in our immediate family, and the brief is to purchase from an op-shop, garage sale or to make something with our own hands. The cost must be below $10 and anyone is invited to give a donation towards the charity that we choose to support in an undeveloped country. We had great fun last year with our funny quirky gifts and we also made a sizable contribution to some people who's lives were changed by our small gesture.

 Continuing on from my last blog about creating a cooling illusion with plantings around the house I have taken more photos.
From our kitchen door we can't see the brown paddocks and the dead lawn while the temperatures outside were soaring up into the 40's.

Glory vines and canvas blinds block out the harsh morning sun.
Glory vines on the western side shade the afternoon sun on the driveway side of the house.

Out of fifty tomato plants only three died during the heat wave. We ate our first tomato for the season today. Looks like being a bumper crop this year and we're grateful for the shade cloth covering the vegetable garden.

How will you spend your Christmas?
Do you have any family traditions that you follow every year? Or are you like us and created new family traditions that sit more comfortably with your philosophy of simple living?
 "Living simply so that others may simply live."
Cheers and thanks for visiting.


  1. I try to avoid shops at anytime and especially around this time of the year. As far as I am concerned nothing much beats a home made gift. I really appreciate the effort and time that has gone making it, whether it be edible or useful.

  2. I'm the same with Christmas... we told everyone we aren't giving presents and don't expect any. So there is no financial stress. Just good food and family time :) glad you are keeping cool...


    I just discovered this blog and have added it to my reading list. Georgia sums up exactly what I'm trying to say in a much more articulate way.

  4. Christmas is a family time to share the love and happiness with those your hearts hold dear. May Peace,Joy and Love be your gifts this Christmas with special wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

  5. Christmas is a family time to share the love and happiness with those your hearts hold dear. May Peace,Joy and Love be your gifts this Christmas with special wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

    1. Apologies for the double entry, technology is not one of my strengths. Heather.

    2. Oh kindred spirit of technology-phobe (I just made up that word but it also sums up my abilities, technology related :)) Thanks Heather for your great comments. I was about to apologize for a glitch on this page, thinking that the comments were coming up twice. There was another lovely comment from you yesterday which has disappeared. (??) I do hope that wasn't my fault that it flew away into the ether, as you made some really good points there regarding financial thriftiness not being taught to young ones these days. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas shared with your family and friends. Deck the Halls!! Tra la la

  6. Hello Sally, I have emailed you on gmail. Don't know if you got it.
    Cheers Yvonne

  7. I'm looking at Christmas 2017 right now and feeling sad. I lost my 95yo mum 2 months ago, my husband lost his 90yo mum in February. As for presents, they can go to the stratosphere as far as I'm concerned, lol.

    1. The first Christmas after we have lost loved ones is always the most difficult Brigie. But perhaps some gentle contemplation of times enjoyed in the past with your mothers will be appropriate this year. Gosh, there are some strong longevity genes there in both your families. Lots to be grateful for. XX


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