my roller coaster aussie christmas

My Roller Coaster Aussie Christmas

My Roller Coaster Aussie Christmas is part of the #WBOYC link party, a regular link up for bloggers discussing their word of the year or what has been on their calendar for the month.  

Why was it a Roller Coaster Aussie Christmas?

As you may recall one of my words of the year is CREATE. The other word was NATURE.

During 2023 I used the word Create to inspire me to explore what creativity means to me and how I can incorporate more creativity into my life.  I also used Nature to help me connect more with the natural environment and get outside.

I wasn’t quite expecting to have to embrace both words so fully in December!

So what happened?

The Christmas build up was pretty normal – lots of running around trying to do Christmas shopping, putting up decorations and thinking about food preparation.

My son in the UK has just started a new job so he told me that he would be unable to come home to Australia for Christmas as he couldn’t take time off work.  I was obviously disappointed but accepted that this is what happens when you live on the other side of the world to each other.

As much as I absolutely love my life in Australia, it does come with compromises, the main one being apart from key family members.

If you have set yourself any big New Goals for 2024, bear in mind that you will have to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you really want to achieve them.  This may well mean radical changes in your life.  However, don’t let these changes stop you from pursuing your dreams.  

A big Christmas Surprise!

Anyhow, said son, in cohoots with my husband and eldest son, kept it a surprise that he was actually coming home for Christmas.

They all set me up beautifully.  I had no idea and had resigned myself to a quieter Christmas with one son missing.  

I had arranged to meet my husband and eldest son at our favourite surf club for lunch, only for the UK son to walk in with them.  My other two sons were equally surprised.  Obviously, it made everyone’s Christmas fun and exciting.  One of the best Christmas presents ever!.

All the fun of the fair ground

We had an amazing Christmas Day all together, opening presents and eating delicious food, playing games and enjoying each others company.  

The big bang – Nature in action

Christmas night however we were hit with a massive thunderstorm.  I have never seen lightening like it.  We are surrounded by huge trees.  One tree had already taken a direct hit a few days earlier, shedding huge wooden splinters and branches across our garden.  I was terrified we might get hit again.

By about 10.30 pm the storm seemed to be moving away from our home and we all settled down for the night, thankful we had survived the storm with no major damage.

By the morning though we had no electricity.

No electricity for us also means no water.  Our rainwater tank needs electricity to pump the water into the house.

In addition, as Boxing Day dawned, we realised that several trees had fallen across our mountain roads making it impossible to get down to the coast.

This is where my need to get creative was forced to the fore. 

We used buckets to retrieve water out of the water tank so we could flush toilets, make cups of tea and have basic washes.  One son referred to our life as being like a medieval peasant, washing with a bucket and a rag!  I later heard another neighbour refer to it as a ‘Pommy wash’.  

We have a small butane gas stove which I set up in the kitchen and a gas barbecue.  

Boxing Day dinner was left over turkey Thai Green Curry.  We soon discovered that we needed to eat our evening meals pretty early, otherwise I was trying to cook in the dark!  I now realise why our ancestors always had their main meal at lunch time.  

Still no electricity on Wednesday, so dinner and breakfast was a massive meat-fest on the BBQ as I tried to use up the meat from our rapidly defrosting freezers.

For lighting we relied on good old fashioned candles and phone torches, although charging phones could only be done in the car.

We also had no internet/4G service for several days so had limited information as to what was going on with our electricity.  

Thankfully the roads were cleared fairly quickly and we were able to get down to the coast for a swim at the beach and then use the beach showers for a proper wash.  We also ate out much more than originally planned but hey, less cooking duties for me!

The weather bureau reported after a couple of days that the Gold Coast had been hit by a tornado.  Huge areas of the city were without electricity, with trees decimated and many cars and properties damaged.  

In addition to this we also had a huge heatwave, with 100% humidity and temperatures of 36C.  No electricity = no fans and no AC and still no showers – sticky!! 

The kindness of neighbours

On day four when one of our neighbours found out we had no generator,  they very kindly loaned us their petrol generator.  This meant we could get running water back into the house and turn a fridge on.  It felt so amazing to be able to have a proper shower!

The electricity provider had set out a suburb by suburb plan of when people could expect their electricity to be returned.  We were listed for Saturday 30th.  As we headed into New Year’s Eve there was still no electricity and another storm.  Thankfully at around 10pm our electricity came on – yay!

The roller coaster ride wasn’t finished! 

New Year’s Day morning was spent playing computer games and enjoying turning everything on!  But our happiness was short lived when the electricity went off again at midday.  

We had another 24 hours without it before it came back on.

Fingers crossed it’s all OK now but there are still hundreds of residents without electricity. Some have been told they won’t get theirs fixed until at least the 5th January. 

Lessons Learned:

  1. It is so easy to take our everyday lives for granted:  Electricity, water, transport, internet, food.  Everything we all enjoy every single day.  Our situation really hit home how awful it must be for people in war zones and under developed countries.  
  2. Relying on one source of power is a bad idea.  I know we need to make changes to slow climate change, but without fossil fuels (petrol and gas) many communities will be totally stranded and isolated.  Petrol generators were essential to so many people in this situation.  If you have an electric car, how the hell will you charge it in a situation like this?  
  3. Be grateful: Whilst our Christmas period was not as I would have wished, I am absolutely so grateful that we had no damage to our home, everyone was safe and together.  I’m also grateful for the kindness of others.  
  4. Be prepared: We need to prepare ourselves for adversity, to be resilent, adaptable and creative.  
  5. The power of nature: the thunderstorms we experienced over the last week or so were extreme and intense and were followed by a heat wave and torrential rain.  No one should underestimate the power of nature. 

Going Forward:

Once life has settled down again I shall be sorting out our emergency supplies.  

It’s impossible to buy a petrol generator at the moment but once I can, I will.

I’m going to get some battery camping lights and restock on candles.

I will also stock up on more butane gas for our camping stove.

I need to buy a huge tarpaulin in case windows or the roof are damaged by storms. 

I’m going to sort out a battery operated radio so that we can get news and weather updates.  Phones only work if there is electicity to the mobile masts!

So, overall my Christmas was full of highs with some lows but I’m still immensely grateful for everything in my life. 

Let me know in the comments if you have experienced a weather disaster and your tips for preparing. 


Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this link party HERE .  Thanks to my fellow bloggers for setting up this link party.

Deb from Deb’s World

Jo from AndAnyways

Donna from Retirement Reflections

Sue from Women Living Well after 50

By the way if you would like regular updates from me, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE

my roller coaster aussie christmas

6 thoughts on “My Roller Coaster Aussie Christmas”

  1. Hi Janine, this was happy and sad to read! The surprise of your son coming home must have filled you with joy and then all those awful storms impacting your family must have been dreadful. I hope things are getting back to normal for you and like the fact that you’ve taken on learnings from this force of nature.

    1. Overall it was a very happy Christmas- it was so lovely to all be together as you well know. I’m just very thankful that we had no damage to our property. Certainly learnt a lot though about mountain living!

  2. Sue from Women Living Well After 50

    Hi Janine, what a wonderful surprise from your family to have your son visit. I remember when my daughter and her husband had moved to the UK for a year, I missed her dreadfully. It was my 50th birthday and they walked into my workplace and I couldn’t believe it was them, coming home early to surprise me. The storm must have been very frightening and I’m so sorry for all of you who have been affected. Take care and hope you are all back to a relatively normal life soon. xx

    1. It was a wonderful surprise. I’ve done similar things to my mum over the years but didn’t expect to have it done to me! Thankfully life is back to normal now but there are still hundreds of homes with no power particularly at Mount Tambourine. I really feel for them as they must feel at rock bottom.

  3. Oh wow!!!! Nature & creativity in full force! It will certainly be a Christmas you don’t forget in a hurry. But I can just imagine how you felt when your son walked in !

    1. I think my family thought I would jump up and down and scream when my son walked in but I was so shocked I was just speechless! It was a wonderful surprise

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