December 26, 2003


Mentioned in my latest column for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (actually, the first column I’ve done for the Telegraph in three years): Danny Green, Peter Beattie, Peter Batchelor, Mark Latham, Safety Dance Day, Phillip Adams, Alan Ramsey, George W. Bush, a plastic turkey, the baby Jesus, Kerry O'Brien, Saddam Hussein, Michelle Withers, Judy Finch, and Screaming Bloodshed Torture Mayhem Day.

There's more in the print edition, including: "Remember: a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. So go back to the lake and get those puppies out of that sack right now."

Posted by Tim Blair at December 26, 2003 10:54 AM

After reading your column I have a few questions:

1) What does Boxing Day mean to an Australian? (Google searches only give so much depth)

2) There are Amish in Australia??

3) Pennies in Christmas Pudding?

It's probably pretty obvious but I'm a Yank and would appreciate the info.

Thanks in Advance

Posted by: levendus at December 26, 2003 at 11:19 AM

Boxing Day is pretty well explained here.

I don’t think we’ve got any Amish in Australia -- apart from me and my pony, Billy.

People used to put pennies in Christmas puddings, but not so much these days. Children would hunt for them.

Posted by: tim at December 26, 2003 at 11:29 AM

Where have they hidden the author's name? ;-)

Posted by: AStext at December 26, 2003 at 11:40 AM

I know this is off subject,but why an inflatable Robert Fisk,why not a real Robert"If I were you Saddam,I'd be doing this to me as well"Fisk?

Posted by: Peter UK at December 26, 2003 at 11:44 AM

Blair, stop marginalising Australia's Amish Community!

Posted by: john at December 26, 2003 at 11:52 AM

Huge ! roared with laughter.

We always had pre-decimal silver coins, threepences or sixpences; but we had to give them back to mum to use the next year after they went out of circulation

Posted by: pencil at December 26, 2003 at 11:57 AM

Re the author's name -- yeah, they've left it off in the online version. And they've omitted some quotation marks in the second-last paragraph.

Posted by: tim at December 26, 2003 at 12:06 PM

Our family pudding is still made in the ultra-old fashioned style. Suet from the butcher, whack in the old silver pennies, boil it to death, hang it up in calico, etc etc...and on the day douse it in brandy and light it! Pretty cool.

And it's my mob's way of preserving a nice old Anglo-Australian tradition. Leftover turkey and pud, cricket and the yacht race on telly, and Boxing Day.


Posted by: Alex at December 26, 2003 at 05:11 PM

Traditionally, people did not put pennies in Christmas Puddings. People put SILVER coins in, most often a silver 6d. Good luck for the person who found it, naturally.

Australian 3d, 6d, 1/- and 2/- coins were silver and suitable to put in cakes and puddings.
UK "silver" coinage prior to 1947 was silver: after that date, copper-nickel.

Copper/Bronze pennies, and copper-nickel coins, are not suiable as the copper reacts with the acid in the fruit, and causes a green discolouration, and very bitter taste.

You can put other coins in food if you wrap them in aluminium foil.

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 26, 2003 at 05:20 PM

While I think of it, is it actually PC to wish someone "Happy New Year"?

The divisive AD/CE Gregorian system we now use was put in place by a dead, white, Christian (well, Catholic) male, patriarchal hegemon, Pope Gregory XIII.

It must be said in his favour that he was not Anglo-saxon, did not speak English, and had at least one illegitimate son.

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 26, 2003 at 05:46 PM

We prefer to be known as Anabaptists.

Posted by: Saint Peter of Monaro at December 26, 2003 at 05:54 PM

"Remember: a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. So go back to the lake and get those puppies out of that sack right now."

Not too dissimilar from Shan Micallef's idea that: "A puppy is not just for Christmas, it can also be for a birthday or anniversary. In fact, you can eat them all year 'round".

Posted by: Rick Squane at December 26, 2003 at 08:36 PM

I'm with Peggy Sue! I am sure that many members of our culturally diverse nation find offensive the mandatory deliniation of years in terms of the birth-year of an insignificant minor prophet. I am sure it would be far less racially divisive to measure years from an important social and cultural event, such as the Prophet Mohammed's exodus from Mecca to Madina. Especially in Sydney's south-western suburbs.

The year 1381 was a great year, and I'm sure we will kick even more arse in 1382.

Happy holidays, all!

Posted by: Thorn at December 27, 2003 at 08:25 AM

Thanks for the info. But now I'm wondering why the US is the only country in all the Anglosphere that doesn't celebrate this holiday. All we do is return gifts and shop the after Christmas sales. What a gyp:)

Posted by: levendus at December 27, 2003 at 09:50 PM