Reinventing the Blog – Please Bear With Us!

JULY GUEST:

07/22 – MICHELLE MONKOU’S TROPICAL ROMANCE

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eh? What's this 'holiday story' thing?

I confess, when I first heard the term 'holiday story', I did some puzzled head-scratching. A story about people going on holidays? School holidays, maybe? Huh?

See, you may not realise it, but the term 'holiday story' is an American thing. Where I come from, 'holiday' doesn't mean Christmas or Easter or whatever - it means what Americans mean when they say 'vacation'. Sure, those days are 'public holidays' - but it generally just means 'take a day off'.

And of course, we don't take the American holidays, such as Independence Day. We have our own. We've got Australia Day, January 26th, which generally involves barbecues and beer. Not much of a story in that. There's Queen's Birthday, which isn't actually on the Queen's birthday, but hey, it's the thought that counts, and Liz won't care so long as there's gin.

Melbourne Cup Day. Enough said.
And of course there's Melbourne Cup Day. Yeah. A day off for a horse race. WIN.

But Australia isn't known as 'the land of the long weekend' for nothing. We love our extended weekends, and we get a bit miffed when the government decides to enforce a public holiday on the actual day, instead of the closest Monday or Friday.

Unless it's Melbourne Cup Day, which is always a Tuesday. It shall not be moved. Wash your mouth out with soap, you holiday-mover you.

As for Christmas stories... well, you have to understand that Christmas down under is a little different. Having lived in Alnwick in northern England for nearly two winters now, I get what a northern Christmas is: it's an escape from the long chilly darkness. We cook up a feast, hang coloured lights in the trees, burn candles and sing songs about reindeers and dashing sleighs to take our minds off the freezing cold, the icy roads, the 18-hour nights and what a miserable bloody time we'd otherwise be having.

Christmas lights in Alnwick (Photo by Kevin Temple)
I've gotta admit: people in the UK give Christmas their all. It's truly a magical season. As fabulous as my beloved summertime Christmas is? It misses the point entirely.

So Christmas stories? All that snow, twinkling lights, mistletoe and sex on bearskin rugs... ahem, I mean mulled wine and mince pies? I'm not feeling it, not in Australia. Give me the beach and a barbecue and the Boxing Day Test match (that's cricket, for those sorry souls who don't understand).

So if you want a cuddly winter romance? Stick to the north. Aussie winters are mostly just wet and boring. Then again, if you want a Christmas tale about hunky surfers or brave firefighters? Come on down, crack open a cold tinny (that's a can of beer) and grab a snag (a sausage. Not a shrimp; no one barbecues shrimps, and they're called 'prawns' anyway) from the barbie. Beats mulled wine and fruit pies any day!


8 comments:

Shobhan Bantwal said...

Erica,
I loved this post because it made me laugh out loud! Having been born & raised in India, a country ruled by the British for many centuries, I too used to think of a holiday as merely a day off, not a festive occasion. Now that I've been living in the U.S. for forty years, I'm totally into the "Holiday" spirit of Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, and all the rest of those fun "Holidays." Here's wishing you & yours a sunny, warm, & merry Christmas!

Paty Jager said...

Erica, I think it would be fun to read a Christmas story from "down under". Just to see the differences. I know what you mean. My husband's family all live in Netherlands and they say holiday for what we call vacation. Fun post!

Erica Hayes said...

Any kind of holiday is good by me! As in, the fine British idea of 'bank holidays' - no excuse, no reason, let's just take the day off!

Sarah Raplee said...

Fun post, Erica! I learned a thing or two about life Down Under.Best of all, I had a good laugh!

Deanne Wilsted said...

What a wonderful post Erica! And I can relate t being confused by the term 'Holiday" only for me it was the other way around. It took me ages to get it straight when I lived in England for a while. Every time someone said they were going on Holiday.... or there was a bank Holiday... I associated it with Christmas. Very confusing.

Thanks for sharing your perspective, and especially the humor behind it. And hope you have a Happy Christmas:>)
Deanne

Judith Ashley said...

Erica - you busted my "shrimp on the barbee" vision of a hunky Aussie wearing a Crocodile Dundee type hat and a pair of shorts, beer (tinny) in one hand (it must be Fosters?) and tongs in the other flipping shrimp - nope prawns on a grill.

I'm all for bank holidays in the US...they remind me of 'mental health days' when I took a day off (although to get paid for that day I used a Vacation Day) to rejuvenate.

I had my first mulled wine on Samhain and really, really liked it...but maybe not so much on a warm day.

Thanks for the smiles and reminding us why we are committed to diversity at RTG. How else would we be reminded or learn that the not everyone sees the world through USA eyes.

Shannon said...

What a fun post! I laughed ou loud too! (sorry, dog, for scaring you.)
Thank you so much.

Darlene Panzera said...

Thanks for this fun post, Erica! It makes me want to visit Australia, although I do love our Christmas traditions here in the States!