Ezy Reading: Home For The Holidays…

Evan Kanarakis

Well, the past twelve months have certainly zipped by, as ever, and it was a mad year in many ways, from hurricanes and riots to political scandals and the ongoing war in Iraq to name but a few. On a personal note it was a little mad for me as well, moving from Australia to the United States, and looking outside at the snow on the ground and feeling the chill of minus fifteen degree days it’s clear I’m a long way from home.

Still, with Christmas now fast approaching I won’t be alone at the holidays by any stretch, and am looking forward to the opportunity to spend time with my extended family down in Boston. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I still get as excited about Christmas now as I did when I was five. Sure, it’s near impossible to recapture the absolute joy and sense of perfection that drifts in memories from my younger days and yes, especially in a country like America it can be easy to drown in an ocean of commercialism and easy cynicism during the season. It’d be ideal if people actually gave a shit about each other for all of the year, as opposed to just three or four weeks or, in some people’s case, three or four hours in the month of December, however I’ll take your three hours cheer as better than nothing, and hope it wasn’t just because you were digging for a decent present…

For the first time ever, I seem to have actually gotten all of my Christmas shopping done early, however this was largely by default because I had to make sure I posted gifts in time to be mailed to family and friends back home in Australia (and, ahem, some may actually still not get to see anything until the New Year. Sorry, folks…). Normally, if I was in Australia at this time of year I’d be currently braving about a five week stretch of Christmas parties and never ending hangovers in the run towards the 25th, before heading home to Bathurst for the annual, beloved argument with my mother while setting up the Christmas tree in the living room (lots of pine needles, lots of awkward tree adjustments, too much twine to rig things up, and short, but festive tempers). The calm quiet of Christmas morning is broken each year by my mother’s choice (perhaps as revenge for the tree incident a few days earlier) of the shrill chorus, at full volume, of a thirty year old vinyl record of Greek Christmas carols which, perhaps against their nature, tend to induce crankiness when forcing people from slumber. It’s also hot in Bathurst in December, but we’ve always gone the more traditional route of turning the house into an oven and having roast turkey with all the trimmings rather than opting for many Aussie’s preferred, cooler summer choice of a big barbecue or seafood luncheon. Given it’s just the immediate family of my father, mother, and sister, we’ll normally have a pretty low-key time of it on the big day, unwrapping a few presents, eating well, and relaxing in the afternoon, but we do alright. Bottom line, screeching Greeks on the stereo and kitchen temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius included, it’s all good, and I love it.

This year of course, I’m away from home and things will be different to what I’m used to. Heavy winter coats and roaring fireplaces, eggnog and gridiron on the television are about the last things you’d encounter at Christmas in Australia. It’s a new experience and a new adventure though, and I’m sure it’ll be as happy and festive and memorable as any Christmas back in Bathurst.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season, and will see you back here at the Cud in 2006.


Ezy Reading will be back on January 9th.