And welcome to my Melbourne friend Meredith Costain for this last day of 2015. For this day, Meredith shares some very gorgeous Christmas Memories – all about families and very Australian too. It is always a buzz to catch up with Meredith whenever we are in the same city and it certainly is super having her join these 12 Days of Christmas.
Although all the books about Christmas I’d seen showed pictures of jolly red-cheeked carollers in a snow-laden square, surrounded by holly and mistletoe, Christmas-time on our dairy farm was very different! The air hummed with insects rather than carols. The paddocks were full of wiry, leg-scratching yellow grass, waiting to be cut and raked and turned into hay bales for winter feed for the cows. All the same, we spent a lot of time standing outside in the scorching sun, searching the sky for a glimpse of reindeer hauling a sleigh.
Inside, there was a straggly lopped bow from a pine tree from a neighbouring farm, festooned with home-made decorations, and always, a silver angel on the top. The heady smell of the sap and pine needles mingled with the aromas from the kitchen – home-made mince pies and shortbread, the butter often melting in the heat as my mother and I rolled out the dough on the laminex bench top and shaped it into treats.
I had a stand-up fight with another kid in the playground when I was seven over the existence of Father Christmas. Of course he was real – my sister had seen him and heard his jingling bells, creeping past our bedroom window early one Christmas morning! (It was years later that we found out the truth about this – how our dad and older brother had ducked down the side of our old weatherboard farm house, carrying one of my sister’s home-stitched clown dolls with a bell on its cap). The presents filling the pillow-case pinned to the end of our beds were definitely real though. There was nothing more satisfying that waking early on Christmas morning and feeling the heavy weight pulling at the bedclothes. And then racing into the bedroom next-door to share our spoils with Mum and Dad, who patiently oohed and aahed at every gift, just as if they were seeing them for the first time.
For me, Christmas is – and always will be – about spending time with family. I hope you’ve had a good one!
Meredith Costain is a versatile writer whose work ranges from picture books through to novels, poetry and narrative non-fiction. Her books include CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing, Musical Harriet and novelisations of the TV show Dance Academy. Her latest series is the quirky Ella Diaries, which has sold to 15 countries around the world. And her latest books are: Ella Diaries: Christmas Chaos, and coming in January – Ella Diaries: Pony School Showdown.
Meredith lives in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and can be uncovered at her website: www.meredithcostain.com
More on the Carolinas later but Pam Vaughan (official photographer for the New England conference last weekend) has just sent me oodles and poodles of photos … so if you don’t want to see piccies of me in action – then look away now! There are photos of me with friends, of me panelling, photos […]