Tuesday, 4 December 2012

JYC The First Sign of Christmas

I have to admit I was surprised at the first things that popped into my head when I read the Day 2 prompt. I feel like the season is here either when my feet hit the beach in Phuket, Thailand or when we go fruit and pea picking in New Zealand! Neither I suspect are the traditional answers to when you feel the festive season has begun.

I think I may need to take a few steps back to help put these two disparate options into some sort of context. I lived in New Zealand until I was 8 and then in Singapore until I was 15. When I lived in New Zealand going fruit (usually berry) picking before Christmas was a fun family activity before Christmas. When we lived in Singapore, if we did not go home for Christmas we spent the ten days before Christmas Eve in Phuket having a relaxing beach holiday. Both of these things totally scream Christmas to me!

I do not have access to my childhood photos as they are in NZ with my Dad but I do have photographic evidence of the way that we have embraced these traditions in our little family of three. 

We spent last Christmas back in New Zealand.

Grandad and Scarlett picking raspberries

It wasn't hard to find plenty of ripe ones

Taking instruction on the finer points of fruit picking

Scarlett picked all these herself

It was wonderful to see three generations picking together and enjoying the sunshine. The man who owns the place where we pick always tells us to eat at least as many as we buy so it is a pretty delicious way to spend an hour or two.

Christmas 2010 and 2012 will involve a few days in Phuket as we are spending Christmas Day in Singapore. This year will be great as my sister is coming from New Zealand to join us and Tet's brother and his girlfriend will meet us in Phuket too. Our trip in 2010 was much more low key as it was just Tet and Scarlett and me. We stayed at one of the quieter beaches and had a wonderful time. I was thrilled to see Scarlett enjoying just the same sort of childhood holiday that I loved so many years earlier.

It was a hard job spending time under these umbrellas and in the warm waters but we managed to survive

Scarlett loved playing in the sand

She was busy making sand castles at 10 months - she started walking a week after we got home from this trip

The beach air meant Scarlett had lots of great naps

Even though we now get to Phuket the day after Christmas it still feels like our holiday season starts with taking off our shoes and feeling the sand between our toes. I am much more excited this year about going to Phuket than I am about Christmas Day itself.

Do you have any rituals that signify the start of the season? Are they the traditional Black Friday shopping adventures or is there something a little more unique in your family. I would love to know what marks the beginning of your festive season.


  1. What fabulous memories! Where I grew up on the coast of Mississippi, we always had a mild and warm Christmas! Even though I've lived in areas as an adult where we've had cold and snow during the season, I still miss our balmy weather! It's been unseasonably warm in Arkansas right now with tropical type weather (warm and humid) and I'm so loving it and feeling nostalgic for home more than ever this year!

  2. What wonderful memories to have and to continue on with your children. Enjoy this time even if it not the typical Christmas start it is extremely special!

  3. It's so fun to see your "holiday" pictures...the beach!! Here it's usually cold by now, but not this year!!!