A giant and brilliant Christmas bauble lies in wait for you near the Park Pobedy Metro station in Moscow.
Photograph: TASS/Barcroft Image
Aussies are a bit deluded at Christmas time. Shop windows are adorned with fake snow and images of Santa Claus rugged up in his fuzzy red suit and big boots, leading reindeer who don’t gasp with heat exhaustion.
We can’t quite let go of this alien concept of a “white Christmas” even though playing cricket on golden sands while overlooking sparkling, azure waves is way better than frozen water.
Even Americans and Britons agree that sunny, casual Christmases are superior to their own.
A survey of 2000 people from the US, Britain and Australia found that Australia was seen as the best country of the three to celebrate Christmas.
Christmas lights in London’s Oxford Street. Photo: IR_Stone
Survey respondents liked the idea of being able to go outside and the more relaxed vibe.
In Australia households spend, on average, less than two hours preparing Christmas dinner while our poor northern counterparts spend over four hours.
Last year was the first Christmas I spent outside of Australia and I can confirm the survey has got it right.
Christmas is possibly one of the happiest and most joyful times of the year for many people.
Beautiful decorations, bright lights, presents and, of course, cozy time with your loved ones – what could be better?
But not everyone is excited about the holiday season.
And I’m talking about pets.
Even though their owners are happy these two animals just do not feel the Christmas spirit.
See more great images via 10+ Pets That Hate Christmas More Than Anything | Bored Panda
Grace Lander loads up with presents ahead of Christmas Day where she volunteers to hand them out to the homeless. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian
Santa will take on many forms this Christmas and, for 2,700 people, that person will be a woman with an arm full of gifts making sure “there’s not one person who doesn’t have one”.
While most people are surrounded by gifts in their living rooms, Grace Lander will be surrounded by thousands of presents for people she’s never met at Wellington Square Park.
But, for some of the recipients, it might be the only gift they open this Christmas.
As gift coordinator for Mission Australia’s Christmas Lunch in the Park, Ms Lander will be part of an army of 600 volunteers who will be preparing meals, gathering the mountain of gifts and waiting on tables from dawn until dusk on Christmas day.
The guests will include the homeless as well as the poor, those who have experienced tragedy and those who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas day.
For Ms Lander, the preparations start months earlier when she rallies businesses, friends and “anyone who’ll listen” to donate a gift.“There’s no failing, you can’t fail, I’d dip into my own money before that happens,” she said.
By 5 am Christmas morning, the first volunteers are poised ready to stuff hundreds of Santa sacks for their thousands of guests, based on their age and gender. Volunteers deliver a specially-catered feast and, once the plates have been cleared, the presents are finally delivered to their grateful recipients.
Ms Lander said there was no feeling like that of giving to people who might have spent their Christmas day like any other day of the week. “You probably couldn’t put into words what a tremendous joy it is,
it gives you a sense of wellbeing.”
“It’s the greatest gift. You can’t do a day like that and not feel like you’ve made a difference to a person’s life. There isn’t a better way to spend Christmas is there?
Soon it is going to be 2017 in OZ and probably in a lot of other places too. Oh! The horror of it all,
BUT, You still have to battle your way through the Christmas Day heat, stinking hot barbies, booze, family blues, gluttony, technicolour yawns, screaming grand kids and those bloody annoying flies.
AND then there is the giving of totally inappropriate or useless Christmas gifts to the chosen ones.
AND then there are those bludgers who you grudgingly feel obliged to give a present to.
But don’t really want to…
My dear old Mum had a good trick and that was to leave the local reject shop or marine disposal price tags on.