Indulging in wonderful winter traditions

Aug 02, 2022
Mulled wine and Christmas in July. Source: Getty

Living in our wide, wonderful land of Australia amongst our often-sun-drenched shores, there are a fair few of us that won’t be enjoying snowflakes on our noses and eyelashes at this time of year.

But, let’s indulge ourselves and live vicariously through our colder States and Territories just for a moment.

While our European friends are sweltering through record-busting temperatures, we are smack bang in the middle of our winter.

Putting our heating on when we can afford to, or throwing on some extra jumpers, warm socks and perhaps lighting a fire to sit around to warm our hands, or maybe even throw in a snag or toast a marshmallow (I still don’t really understand what a smore is… but friends’ grandchildren rate them highly).

So, spirited postulant, Maria has my vote when it comes to ‘apple strudel’ as a favourite thing.

In fact, I’m very happy to celebrate all things foodie for ‘Christmas in July’ and to enjoy what are normally northern hemisphere gastronomic indulgences.

The whole turkey, ham, and all the festive trimmings followed by some rich indulgences for pudding (usually several times) are fine by me during winter, while the weather is cool enough to make long, cosy lunches much easier to digest than in the middle of a baking hot summer’s day.

This is also all made so much easier by the clothes we wear at this time of year.

Well, perhaps that is just me.

I’m very happy to pull out the big baggy jumpers, and comfortable trousers which allow for a few extra kilos to remain nicely hidden.

And makes eating large meals a lot more enjoyable and forgiving than summer clothes allow.

It’s the one time of year, I get out the winter coat, pull on the scarves, warm hats and even on rare occasions, gloves.

A recent visit to Canberra reminded me of the bitterly cold winters in Scotland as a child, where we longed for snow, so we couldn’t catch the out of action school bus from our rural location.

This meant not only a day off from school, but excited and energetic sled action in the golf course next to our house! Also, memories of sitting as close as possible to a radiator in multiple layers of clothes (but still somehow burning my back), trying to warm up.  It’s a miracle I didn’t get chilblains.

Some of us are lucky enough right here in Oz, to go skiing in the Snowy Mountains or in Victoria’s famous snow fields at this time of year. Friends tell me Falls Creek is a winter wonderland.

I’ve been known to drive to the Blue Mountains from my home in Sydney, to walk in the snow just for the fun of it.

Happily, also embracing some local hospitality along the now popular and aforementioned Christmas in July winter festive fare.

Let’s also not forget the joys of mulled wine (gently warmed red wine, a smidgen of brandy, cinnamon sticks, and perhaps a little orange juice is a family favourite).

For those of us, who can only dream about ‘snow’ and icy temperatures to move around in (hello NT), a less exciting but apparently very beneficial activity is COLD SHOWERS.

I say this in CAPS because let’s face it, cold showers are shocking.

Obviously, for some of us, baked dinners and warmth might be slightly preferable, but there are certainly benefits for those that want to embrace the cold, if not readily accessible through our local weather patterns.

A 30-second cold water icy blast, at the beginning or end of your normal shower, can help (according to a good amount of reliable research):

  • relieve depression
  • strengthen the immune system
  • reduce muscle soreness
  • increase your happy hormones.

You can also get the same effects from cold water swimming, which is rapidly growing in popularity globally. We have plenty of rivers and seas to indulge our passions right here in our part of the world.

This, of course, stresses the body, so not for everyone, and always build up to any new exercise or pastime of any sort!

But there are year-round swimmers here in Manly, NSW, where I live, that jump in the ocean every day and tell me that the benefits are wonderful.

As for me, I’ll stick with my comfort food (your body does burn more calories in the cold), so that’s a good enough excuse to wrap up warm, rug up and crack open the tv boxsets after a long, lazy, indulgent lunch in July – and daydream quietly about the warm, sunny months ahead.



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