Waif and Stray on a Hot Christmas Day: Lawless Reflections

The Activist History Review

by Dr. Ann Lawless

Australian Decembers are often hot—really hot—and sometimes best spent at a beach or shady park cooling down; or in chilly air-conditioned indoor spaces for shelter from the swelter; or spent adjacent to a cooling pool, billabong, dam, lake, or river. There may well be swimming, splashing, paddling, and water fights. One should dodge the sunburn and heat fatigue yet glory in the Australian outdoor culture. And December the 25th?

Christmas day is readily conflated and confusing: it is both a Christian festival, a national public holiday, and a family gathering. As a holiday it is rarely regarded as a chance to rest, recover, and recuperate from the exhausting build-up period in the hot hazy days before Christmas.

Christmas is a hot topic indeed in Australia. It has both public and private domains, family insiders and outsiders, freeloading and reciprocity, and the joy and pain of…

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