I spent more than a decade living in London, and Christmas was always special. I loved the buzz of the city at that time of year. The crowds, the lights, the excitement, the smell of roasting chestnuts, mulled wine, and fresh fir trees.
I loved buying a tree from our local fruit shop and dragging it home, the weekend before Christmas. But during my many years in England, there were some things that I never got used to – Brussels sprouts, bread pudding and short grey days. I longed to see the sun, to taste a juicy mango, to dive through a sparkling wave. For me Christmas wasn’t Christmas without colour. I’ve now been back in Australia for ten years and I still get nostalgic when I see the poinciana trees in bloom – their flame red flowers signalling that Christmas is on the way.
In Queensland, Christmas is a brightly coloured event – full of the sights and flavours of summer – mangoes by the tray, baked ham and cold salads, stunning beaches, turquoise waters, multi-coloured board shorts and bright blue swimming pools. At this time of year, I wouldn’t be anywhere else.