Afternoon Inquisition

AI: White Wine in the Sun

I’m in Denver for the holidays and this was about the closest I’ve ever been to a white Christmas of the postcard, festive song variety.

I grew up in Sydney, where Christmas is a summery affair. Some people still try to maintain the western traditions of a baked dinner, but most are sweating into their salads by the pool, or licking melting ice creams at the beach. The Australian Christmas is probably best captured by Tim Minchin’s White Wine in the Sun.

What kind of Christmas do you have?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. Being in Boulder I’d say my Christmas was remarkably similar to yours. :-) What’s funny is I’ve lived here 15 years and this is the worst winter by far in terms of the amount of cold and snow… and it’s not even January yet. Ugh.

    I remember the Christmas I spent in Melbourne and it was bizarre. Grilling out in shorts and a tshirt in December is just plain strange after growing up in a place where winter meant no sunshine and no temperature to speak of. It was hard to get swept up in the holiday spirit.

  2. My Christmases are usually spent on a mountain in Tennessee at my parents’ place. I’ve seen many “White Christmases,” but the “white” usually means fog rather than snow. :(

    Although it did snow a little this year: little dandruff flurries on the afternoon of the 25th!

  3. Childhood xmases in NZ meant champagne breakfasts, (with BBQ), hot roast lunches, and sunsets fishing at the beach.
    Now that I spend most of my time in the Northern Hemisphere it means hunkering down with whatever riff raff is around, lots of whiskey, and sharing traditional dishes from around the world. Not so sure I like the ice and snow though.

  4. I’ve lived in California and Texas so this is the first year that I have ever had a white Christmas. Due to a freak blizzard a foot of snow dropped on my little north Texas city on Christmas eve and is still on the ground today. I think Wichita Falls owns 1 snow plow. Most Christmases are warm enough that I can wear a short sleeved shirt. Sometimes even shorts. Usually we open presents, and eat a huge meal. We were able to do that this year but just barely. Ended up sleeping on my parents couch because I couldn’t get my car out. It was acutually a great Christmas this year. And my apple pie and lemon meruinge pie were fantastic, two of my best.

  5. This is my last winter in Canada for a while, so I am happy to say that it has been a beautiful white christmas. Up here in the mountains of BC, with the Olympics mere months away, we are excited to see any amount of snow! I appreciate it all the more knowing that I will be spending the next few Xmases on a tropical beach…

  6. The 2 extremes occurred in 2 consecutive years, 1961 & 1962.

    1961, 3 feet of snow between 4:30PM Dec 24 & 7:00 AM Dec 25.

    1962, 64 degrees Fahrenheit, bright sun similar to what our normal weather would be in May.

  7. Fabulous snowy holiday this year. Out skiing on Christmas Eve and making a giant snow fort on Christmas Day with all the family who lived close enough to make it (we only had 21 people instead of 34).

    I can’t imagine a Christmas that isn’t cold (or at least a balmy 40 degrees). Most of my Christmas memories include some winter sport. (Skiing, ice skating, pond hockey, sledding, ice fishing…ok maybe that isn’t a sport.)

  8. I am also from Colorado (Glendale at the moment) and have enjoyed snowy Christmas’s almost every year. We usually show up at the relatives’ house at around one, start working on a few bottles of wine, eat way too much and then play board games until the early on the 26th. Sometimes someone will pop in their Star Trek or X-files dvds and that could distract us for a few hours…

  9. Seeing as I am in Sydney, my Christmas was expected to be the usual hot and summery affair it normally is. However, this year it was raining and a little chilly (20C). It was really lovely not to have to sit through the roast turkey dinner my in-laws made in the blistering heat.
    I would much rather have a northern hemisphere wintery Christmas than the summery Christmas we have down here.

  10. I live close to the border with the USA, but it never snows here. Sometimes we have slightly warm christmas time, but this year we had a cold one, due to the waves coming from the recent blizzards up north. We were +8 Celsius in my town, which is uncomfortably cold!

    Most of both families were away, so we went to my in-laws and then to my parents’, where my wife and kids had a second dinner (I saved myself for only the latter).

    So we visit relatives and spend some time indoors dinning and chatting.

  11. I am not a big fan of white winters. Here in the desert of Arizona in the southwestern US, our winters are invisible, and I’m okay with that. You don’t have to shovel a heat wave.
    Christmas day was clear and beautiful, enough for a nice all-day hike. I spotted what looked like two bald eagles (many spend the winter down here and hatch their eggs in the warm springtime). It’s pretty special.

  12. I’ll describe my kind of Christmas in six words: home fries sauteed in duck fat. Boom. Winner. Roast duck with potatoes and veg, then leftover fat used the next day for the breakfast home fries.

    Oh yeah, and family, friends, blah blah blah. :)

  13. I’m pretty solid on not celebrating Christmas, even though my family does. We all like to take a trip somewhere. This year we went to Key West. We’re not really into purchasing things. My family is pretty irritating, but we has selected good times fishing, rescuing a sea turtle from a lobster trap (true!) cooking. I pretty much had to be never not drunk in order to put up with the folks though.

  14. I’ve lived in Phoenix AZ most of my life. So Christmas is usually in the 60’s and bright. Sometimes we get some rain on Christmas, but that is about all. We did get some snow in the winter of ’77. An inch or so. For months, t-shirts saying “I survived the blizzard of 77” were all the rage.

  15. I grew up in Parker, Arizona, in the middle of the very hot desert — right on the California border, basically in the middle of nowhere.

    Some winters are warmer than others. This winter was pretty cold (for us lol) — highs in the 60s. Some winters, however, are much warmer.

    When I was a kid, my grandmother would sometimes visit. From Grand Forks, North Dakota. Which isn’t known for it’s warm winters.

    If it was warm enough and not windy, we’d have Christmas dinner outside.

    This used to tickle my Grandmother. “Christmas dinner! OUTSIDE!”

    Of course, if she visited during the summer, where 120+ temps are the norm, she wouldn’t go outside unless absolutely necessary.

    This Christmas in Parker was actually pretty chilly — I was driving back to my parent’s house before dawn on Sunday morning after a night out with old friends, and it was 33 degrees. Fuh-reeeezing.

  16. Oh and not to be all Spam-a-lot, but I must share this with you! We didn’t have a chance to visit this year, but usually my dad will follow me to Quartzsite, AZ on my way back to the I-10.

    Usually we’ll visit the swap meets that line the roads, but we also visit Paul Winer, owner of Reader’s Oasis bookstore in Quartzsite.

    He is very old, very wrinkly … and doesn’t wear any pants.

    He’s the naked bookseller and he’s very popular amongst locals. He basically wears a little string bikini bottom and nothing else.

    He’s awesome, really — he’ll answer questions, take pictures. He promotes local authors. He’s a quirky, old, naked hippy that even the conservatives love. I LOVE his book store — it’s stuffed to the hilt with used (and some new) books and lots of other interesting stuff.

    If anyone ever takes the I-10 W from Phoenix to Cali, you MUST stop off at Quartzsite, AZ to visit the Reader’s Oasis!

  17. I work. I always work. Because I am a “cultural” Jew. Thus I work. We have a tiny gift giving thing in the morning on Christmas day … and then I work.

  18. Well, we got 4 days off for Christmas, so I did a lot of loafing. Went to my ex’s to feed the fish, since she was down in Clear Lake getting her tattoos touched up. On Christmas day, I played with my nieces. But a lot of loafing.

  19. Most of our family traditions are a combination of my families Scandinavian traditions like having a big party on Christmas Eve and opening some gifts at midnight along with my wife’s English traditions. I was in Australia for Christmas about eight years ago when my in-laws still lived in Tamworth. It was a smoking hot 43c (110f) and we all stayed inside with the air-con blasting while my English mother-in-law insisted on baking a turkey.

    This year my wife and daughter are in the UK for Christmas and my son and I have seen a few movies and had friends over for Christmas dinner where I was given the present of finding out said friends are 9-11 truthers. :-(

  20. My family is either Scotch-Irish or Irish-Scot depending on how much we’ve had to drink at any particular time. Several generations since we came to this country.

    My family (and extended family) lives in LA and I live in Wisconsin, but iChat allows us to get together and drink too much just like normal. Up until now, money has kept me in Wisconsin during Christmas, but beginning next year (2010) I plan to have the whole clan united at least for Xmas. By united, I mean of course me going back to LA for Christmas.

    Drinking is our major accomplishment for Thanksgiving and Christmas (after presents on Xmas and overeating on Thanksgiving) and we generally think of them together with New Years as one big holiday. Wine, beer, various liquors and concoctions we’ve heard about from our various drinking friends or off the internet or wherever (including stuff one of us thought up while drunk)

    I tried drinking for Easter once, but had too many weird dreams about rabbits.

    I’m sure the local liquor stores have us flagged as “major contributors” and probably mark their calendars accordingly. There are currently six of us (plus cousins and one aunt and one uncle) and not one DUI in the lot… ever (and I believe I’m the second youngest of my brothers and cousins at 42 so added up that’s a lot of years). I believe that qualifies us for some kind of medal or possibly a holiday in our honor (which we will honor by drinking several toasts of course) The police have never been called (that we know of) and no one has woken up with anyone or anything they weren’t supposed to (at least they haven’t admitted to it), so we are not just drunken louts.

    We are responsible drunken louts who love each other very much.

  21. White Christmas for once, rib roast for Christmas dinner on Christmas eve, opening presents Christmas eve. No communication with the outside world on Christmas Day, just playing MarioKart and Ticket to Ride – Europe with mom and dad. Family gathering with dad’s side of the family on second day, mom’s side of the family on third day. And today, more MarioKart with mom and dad.

    Right now dad’s playing Monkey Island on the Wii…

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