December 27, 2008

First Christmas in Brissy

This is my first Christmas in Brisbane ever since I moved here. For the past 3 years, hubby flew to Singapore to spend Christmas. (I wasn't the reason in the 1st year but from there, it became the reason for the 2 years after.)

Christmas in Brissy is a lot more quiet as compared with Singapore. To me, Christmas mood in Singapore is heaps of shopping, Orchard Road lights (even though sometimes they're not that pretty) and many gatherings amongst friends and family. In Brissy, there is also lots of shopping (overcrowded shopping centres pre and post Christmas shopping) but not as packed as those in SG, pretty Christmas lighting concentrating at people's homes and the gatherings. The stark difference is, many shops and eating places are closed on Christmas (we had to drive around to look for places that are opened to have lunch after Christmas service). It also appeared that everyone has disappeared - the streets are really really quiet, you don't see many people and many cars. But the fact is that people spent Christmas either overseas or are gathered in people's homes. Christmas is a family event.

Hubby and I came back from SG just 9 days before Christmas... and the thought of all the gatherings, food preparation, etc and trying to get back to our routined life, etc, made me tired. It was one of those "you need a holiday to recover from a holiday". I am thankful for the past week to rest up and relax after Christmas and before I begin work in the new year... I am thankful that at the end, we had fun with cooking up a storm(s) and many great times of catching up with family and friends.
Believe it or not, never in my life had I put up a Christmas tree. I thought it was cumbersome and time consuming. But now that I have my own place and space with hubby, I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas tree in the house. In an attempt to not spend too much money and not clutter our small townhouse, I decided to make the following tree after we came back from our holiday!

Christmas tree for under $4 with tinsels and stars. How easy is that? :)

Next up, we decided to give a go at making turkey since we learnt it during our recent Singapore trip. Hubby did most of the preparation and cooking on Christmas eve since I was working in the morning that day. But for 5.5 hours of oven baking, we would baste the turkey together every 30 minutes. The result - very yummy and tender turkey (even though it wasn't evenly browned) and heaps of stuffing! I also made our whole cranberry sauce with that same recipe. Made a total of 1.7kg of frozen cranberries over 2 lots and gave most of them away as Christmas gifts :)

Bottled cranberry sauce

This turkey may not look very glam but it really tasted yum!

Extra stuffing that went baking in the oven in 2 loaf pans

Christmas log cake. I made 3 of such cake for 3 different occasions. It was easy. Just buy chocolate swiss roll, make the icing and spread over the roll. Top it up with Christmas decor.

Out of all the Christmas gifts that we received, 2 of which stood out:

Brandied fruit cake baked by SIL W. This was really delicious and not those usually disgustingly sweet fruit cakes

Waffle maker given by BIL D and SIL G

G remembered that hubby love waffles and I love to make them but we didn't find a good reason to buy a maker. When she saw it, she thought it would make a great gift for us... and it is true! I've since made some for family NY gathering, church's NY picnic and will be making them for a friend's son's 2nd birthday party. And I've also plans for at least one waffle party, where people can come make their own sweet or savoury waffles. What a good ministry tool it can be! Don't blame me when you are eating too much waffles from some gatherings that I go to too... I have to make this machine make its worth!

Anyway, to sum up about Christmas, I do miss some bits of Singapore's Christmas but at the same time, I enjoy the quietness and rest over this period that hubby and I had. Of course the next best thing was Boxing Day shopping sales! :p

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