Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is a little different to the wintery images most people associate with the festive period. We enjoy sunshine instead of snow, chilled beer instead of mulled wine, and fresh seafood instead of turkey with all the trimmings. One thing that does seem to be universal in both hemispheres is that most of the work to bring together Christmas Day seems to fall onto our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers – cooking, cleaning, shopping for gifts. So, this year all of my mother’s Christmas wishes came true when we decided not to partake in the usual Christmas hullabaloo and do things a little different.
The Windsor Hotel is a special place for our family, we celebrated Mother’s Day there last year and have made High Tea an annual tradition. When deciding what to do on Christmas Eve, there were only a few guidelines. Strictly no dirty dishes, no cooking, and no cleaning up the kitchen.
Instead of gorging ourselves on unlimited dinner courses, we booked Christmas Eve afternoon tea instead. The famous Windsor dessert buffet was brimming with delicious treats all finished with a festive touch. The quality of the experience was superb as always, with the finer details of each little morsel carefully considered. This was the first time that my brother joined us for high tea, which until then had always been a sacred ladies only ritual.
Hotel Windsor is a dream for those who love classic architecture, especially the spectacular winding staircase that leads from the lobby to the top floor. Taking some time to marvel at this part of the hotel is a highlight for me every time.
The weather was forecast to be a balmy hot night, so I planned a special evening under the stars at the Moonlight Cinema to see a film about Charles Dickens called The Man Who Invented Christmas. The Moonlight Cinema is held outside in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, perfect for summer.
The film details the writing process Dickens underwent while penning his classic novel, A Christmas Carol. I loved how the characters came to life as the story progressed with Ebenezer Scrooge forcing Dickens to reckon with his past and own personal struggles. The atmosphere of the outdoor cinema was lovely – people had their dogs with them, families gathered on picnic blankets, and we hired beanbags to enjoy the movie in comfort.
We left the next day with full hearts (and bellies) content with our choice to bypass the chaos of the season and enjoy some down time.
The Windsor Hotel
111 Spring Street
Telephone: +61 3 9633 6000
Afternoon Tea Bookings: https://www.thehotelwindsor.com.au/afternoontea