It was my first Christmas overseas and I spent it with Charles and some of his relatives in Sydney. It was pretty much a quiet one and mostly uneventful. It was not too dissimilar to Christmases with my family in the Philippines where everyone wakes up late on Christmas day itself and just spends the rest of the day catching up with each other, eating leftover food from Christmas Eve dinner and preparing for the town fiesta which happens right after Christmas. The fun part in the Philippines really happens on Christmas Eve when everyone attends the midnight mass, then feasts on the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner) and opens the presents which is always eagerly awaited by my young nephews and nieces.
Like in my hometown, most of the shops and restaurants in Sydney are closed during the holidays. We decided to stay home on Christmas Eve, eat the left over pasta I had made for lunch and get to sleep early. It was rather nice though to spend Christmas day with Charles’ grandma at the nursing home and have dinner at her Aunt’s place (a welcome break from my own cooking). To make up for the lazy Christmas day, the next day we decided to watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race which starts every 26th of December. The plan was to catch a ferry to South Head, a good vantage point for watching the yachts as they start their long journey south. We just bought a weekly My Multi ticket that offers unlimited ride for buses, ferries and trains for a week.
Unfortunately, the beautiful weather of Christmas day did not last long – it returned to the dreary rain which had been going on for the last few days. So our yacht race and ferry hopping adventure that we had originally planned turned into a Boxing Day shopping marathon, much to the chagrin of Charles who had never been to a single Boxing Day sale because he abhors the frenetic crowd and the mad rush. I didn’t have any problem at all boxing my way through the crowd though. Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated throughout most of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kinddom and other Commonwealth countries. Other important events that start on this day include the Boxing Day test match held at Melbourne Cricket Ground, a cricket game that may last up to 5 days, as well as the post-Christmas sales.
When you frequent places like Divisoria and Baclaran and even Mall of Asia during the holidays, this kind of crowd doesn’t annoy you so much – in fact I even felt at home. I really don’t need anything for myself because I brought about 20 kilograms of ukay-ukay clothes and accessories that I had diligently collected for the last 2 months . But our almost empty place needs a lot of home wares and appliances so we figured we might as well take advantage of the discounts and clearance sales. One thing is for sure though, it’s going to be Charles’ first and last attempt at shopping on Boxing Day