Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is a little different to the stereotypical images most people associate with the festive period. Given that our Christmas takes place in summer, we enjoy sunshine instead of snow, chilled beer instead of spiced mulled wine, and fresh caught seafood instead of turkey with all the trimmings – however, one thing that does seem to be universal in both hemispheres is that most of the work seems to fall onto our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers. So this year all my mother’s Christmas wishes came true when we decided not to partake in the usual Christmas hullabaloo and do things a little different.
Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor is a special place for our family, we celebrated Mother’s Day there last year and have made High Tea an annual tradition. So, 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 elected to have afternoon tea and scones served alongside the famous Windsor dessert buffet, which was brimming with an array of delicious treats all finished with a festive touch. The quality of the experience was superb as always, with the finer details of every little morsel carefully considered. This was also 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. These staircases kind of remind me of the constantly revolving ones at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, although I can confirm that these stairs are the muggle variety and disappointingly stationary and non-magical.
The weatherman had forecast a balmy hot day just perfect for enjoying the tranquility of one of Melbourne’s gorgeous parks, so I planned a special evening under the stars to enjoy the warm night, only to be met with light rain. The Moonlight Cinema was playing a film about Charles Dickens called The Man Who Invented Christmas, which detailed the writing process Dickens underwent in 1843 while penning his classic novel, A Christmas Carol. I absolutely loved the film, especially how the characters came to life as the story progressed with Ebenezer Scrooge forcing Dickens to reckon with his own personal struggles and backstory. The Moonlight Cinema was a beautiful (rain excepted) and unique experience, lying on the ground in the botanical gardens watching a movie on the big screen. The atmosphere 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 city late on Christmas Eve with full hearts (and bellies) content with our choice to bypass the chaos of the season and just enjoy some down time.