Friday, 9 December 2011


“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” - Audre Lorde

After an extremely busy week and a day full of meetings today, which went until 5:45 p.m. we had our Christmas Party at work. It was held rather early this year, no doubt because the closer one gets to Christmas, the busier the venues become and the more expensive it is to book into them. As it is Summer, this year it was decided to have it at a Lawn Bowls Club in the City. This venue is situated in the Flagstaff Gardens, which is about two block away from our Campus. For a little while in the afternoon we though the event would be completely washed out as a cool change moved in from the West and clouds rolled in to cover the sky. Nevertheless the rain held off and the event proceeded as planned.

There were quite a few of us there and the atmosphere was festive as the clubhouse was decorated for the holidays. An open bar, an invitation to try out barefoot bowls and a barbeque all contributed to a good event. We drank and joked, tried out the bowling, laughed about our collective ineptitude at rolling balls on the lawn and finally sat down to a barbeque dinner.

This was catered for by the club and there were two chefs in charge. The typical “Aussie Barbie” fare consists of a selection of barbequed meats, salads and finally a cool dessert of some sort. This is often the scenario for Christmas lunch that one may have on a beach, at a picnic ground in a park or in the back yard if one stays at home. Christmas in Australia is in Summer of course, so relatively few people have the traditional Northern Hemisphere roast dinners with turkeys and hams and pork and puddings and so on.

This evening, we had a selection of dips, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses and pita bread for starters, followed by the barbeque: Hamburgers, sausages, satays of chicken and grilled onions. A selection of freshly cut salads complemented the meats: Green garden salad, coleslaw and potato salad. The food was plentiful and quite tasty. The best barbeque of course is one where one does not have to cook personally, and having the club chefs take care of everything was excellent. Trifle for dessert provided a nice cool and light touch to finish off the dinner.

As a rule, most people don’t particularly like work Christmas functions, however, as far as our organisation is concerned, they tend to be low key affairs and people enjoy them, especially as everyone is fairly well-behaved. I have read that this year there is great reduction in the number of organisations that have Christmas functions for their employees. Many have blamed the GFC (especially in the USA), others have justified it by indicating that Christmas celebrations are culturally insensitive in a multicultural society and the more honest have said that it is because of cost-cutting measures in the company.

In any case, our College continues to organise these functions and the staff expect them and appreciate them. As they are low-key and relaxed most people enjoy them and they are a way of thanking staff members’ contributions to the activities of the College throughout the year.


  1. Sounds like a great day :) Happy holidays!

    Great big roast meats, boiling hot and stuffed, would indeed be inappropriate for the southern hemisphere at Christmas.

    But I also think that traditional British Christmas celebrations would be culturally insensitive in a multicultural society like ours.

    Everybody deserves a end-of-year party with music, speeches, food and wine, but if a quarter of our population are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and assorted other non-Christians, why alienate them?

    Your party catered very sensitively, I think. Dips, lots of different salads, cold meats (as well as the BBQ), different breads and cold sweets.

    By the way, did your end-of-year party have lots of holly, mistletoe, a sweaty father christmas in a fake beard, spray-on snow, a Christmas tree in the corner with empty presents below it etc?

  2. Yes, indeed Hels, it was a party that pleased all. I forgot to mention there were even some veggie burgers for the vegetarians.
    There was no holly, mistletoe, Christmas trees or Santa, but there was some tinsel for the tack value...

  3. How nice that sound, Nicholas. All the best for the holiday season.