Christmas in a Warm Climate

My first Christmas in the southern hemisphere took place in 1973 when I arrived in  Cape Town after journeying overland from London via India then a ship from Mumbai to the port of Durban. Arriving in South Africa instead of Australia, which was where my destination was meant to be, was a bit of a shock. Having to pay for a ticket by boat out of the country was another shock and left me with very little money.

In South Africa, Christmas is in summer of course. Arriving in Cape Town after several days of hitch-hiking and seeing decorations including snowmen, Christmas trees and robins decorating the city was somewhat strange. Blue skies and sunshine with snowmen felt at odds. It was the strangest of times as I have explained before, in that I was working at a hotel in the city in the florist department, making table posies and helping with the suite decorations. I was staying with my travelling companion’s family until Christmas Eve when it was decided that I didn’t ‘fit’ and was told to leave.

My first Christmas in a warm climate was spent working in the hotel and then returning to the youth hostel where I had been lucky enough to find a bed. And on arriving back at the hostel I was invited to share the Christmas dinner that had been created by other ‘inmates’. It was not the best of days until then, as I was feeling very homesick, but I was made welcome and introduced to some lovely people, including a couple of New Zealand girls that I was able to spend time with in the coming month.

On that particular Christmas there were no presents, no turkey or Christmas pudding or even carol singing and no friends or family. So I am no stranger to an unusual Christmas such as many of us are facing this year.


But there were other Christmases in the sun as I remained in South Africa for many more years. Usually Christmas Day was spent on the beach, having a braai (barbeque) at home with friends or cold meats and salads (at the in laws in the Eastern Cape where it was even hotter). We still had a fir tree and decorations. And once I even cooked a full English Christmas dinner, but it was hot work!

But Christmas in a warm climate never really ever felt like Christmas.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #128 |So this is Christmas

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

48 thoughts on “Christmas in a Warm Climate”

  1. Merry Christmas Jude! It’s definitely been a hot one here in Perth this year, though I know we are really fortunate here at present in many ways. My UK family are finding things very hard. Take care and wishing you all the best for 2021 xx

    1. Yes, my lot were playing with water slides and water bombs over in Brisbane. All so very different. Have you got all your family with you now?

  2. I always wanted to try an ‘extreme’ Christmas. Either in Iceland, or somewhere tropical like Singapore. Doubt it will ever happen now though.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  3. Living back in Germany now we celebrated Christmas in South Africa, In Saudi Arabia and in Spain. You are right it is somehow very funny to have a snow man in these climates. In South Africa the wax candles melted on the tree. In Saudi Arabia we have been in the desert with a group of expats. Everyone sang “Silent Night” in their own language, which was very special. Each Christmas abroad is a special memory.
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Sounds like you have had some memorable Christmases. Al the best for 2021 Traudel and thank you for all your lovely photos this year.

  4. I remember the story of the Christmas Eve eviction and it annoys me just as much this time as last time. Horrible woman. I have never had Christmas in a warm climate, but once visited Singapore in November and found the inflatable snowmen rather incongruous. Hope you are having a lovely day. I am relaxing in the company of two snoozers 😴. Exciting!

  5. This week can be warm even in the northern hemisphere: in Austin we reached 28°C a couple of days ago, a record high here for the date. It has since cooled down.

    Even in the linked post and its comments you never quite explained why you changed your mind about continuing from Mumbai to Australia. I’m guessing it was because your traveling companion convinced you to go and stay with his family in South Africa.

  6. Are you still in touch with anyone from those days, Jude? 🙂 🙂 I don’t want to be here for Christmas but it has nothing to do with the weather. I find the longer I stay in a warm climate the harder it is to think about cold.

  7. Well that must have been quite an adventure Jude! Good for you for making the best of it and finding positives in hindsight! We’ve traveled north every Christmas except of course this year. I don’t mind a few days of cold, but only at Christmastime and never more than just a few!!

  8. Merry Christmas! I sometimes think it’s helpful to have a bad/worst case baseline to judge other times against. If that’s the case 2020 might come to have some use in retrospect.

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