EVERY family has its own traditions at Christmas time.
The Smith family is no different.
I’m not talking about the charity – though, by the way my Nan cuts the Christmas ham into translucent-thin slices you might be fooled in thinking we’re feeding an army of Smiths en masse – but Christmas in our household is extraordinarily ordinary.
And what makes it so, are the little traditions that you forget about until the big day rolls around each year.
I’m talking about sneaking the mounds of dreaded minted peas our Nan would serve onto our plates into the table vase full of flowers. As kids, we’d always have a comrade in our Pa who hated them just as much as us.
It’s the other little quirks that characterise a Smith Christmas – but ones that I’m sure are familiar to most other Aussie families.
It’s going back for seconds and thirds at the lunch table, stuffing yourself as full as the turkey in front of you.
But somehow, you always found room for dessert.
Often it wasn’t worth the wait if it was Aunt Joan’s fruit flummery. But if it was our grandma’s homemade Monte Carlos, it was a different story.
The only way to then beat the food coma you’ve inevitably brought on by over-indulging is a compulsory afternoon nap.
It’s a tradition that we hated as kids.
We’d have much rather been outside running around, and over at the beach digging up pippis for bait we’d use fishing later, or catching crabs for some midnight races.
But the only way to get children to go to sleep, we quickly learned, was the promise of backyard cricket at the other end.
Now that was worth the wait.
Us Aussies are a competitive bunch.
Forget the Ashes. No game holds such displays of cut-throat competitive rivalry than a backyard cricket game with family.
For me, it’s these little things that make a Christmas special.
As you get older, you learn to stomach the minted peas and fruit flummery. You come to love – and even crave – that afternoon nap. You learn that it’s not the end of the world if you get bowled for a duck in backyard cricket.
It’s the time spent with loved ones – whether its friends, children, siblings, parents or distant relatives you forgot to send another Christmas card to – that I love most.
Ella Smith is a Fairfax Media journalist