Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

To all the people who have been following our owls this year....

May we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful, prosperous 2011. For those who don't celebrate Christmas, may we wish you Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year ahead.

People have asked me what it's like to celebrate the festive season in a hot climate, so this is how it's done 'South African style'. December is a time for shorts, t-shirts, summer dressed, and sandals (not Teeny's sandal, I promise!). Temperatures reach 30 degrees centigrade and higher. The sun shines brightly and it is too warm to go outside without a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

South Africans love the outdoors so our festive season is spent with friends and family in the fresh air. Some people like to swim in the sea (the coastal areas get very crowded this time of year). It's always fun to get dumped by a wave and end up with sand in your swimsuit (or as we call it here, a swimming costume).

For those people inland, there are swimming pools and even dams to keep cool. Roads are quieter in Johannesburg, which is great for those who don't migrate to the coast for the holidays. In December in Johannesburg, you can finally travel a 20km journey in 15 minutes by car (normally takes 40-plus minutes in normal traffic).

Christmas is normally celebrated on Christmas Day, unless your family is like mine with a European influence, and then we celebrate on Christmas Eve. Traditional Christmas food includes turkey with all the trimmings, gammon, mince pies, Christmas cake etc.

Because of our hot climate, sometimes it is hard to eat a big, hot plate of food at Christmas time. More people are opting for salads or tucking into big pieces of watermelon.

For those who don't celebrate Christmas, December is a wonderful time to relax and be with family and friends. Most annual leave is taken during December, and schools are out for 6 weeks over this time.

Throughout the country, there is a definite 'year-end-wind-down' feeling, and businesses close or cut back on the hours during the day.

For sporting fans, December marks our cricket test series over Christmas and New Year with International teams coming out. This year, we have the Indian cricket team out.

Hope this gives you an idea of how we will be celebrating the festive season.

Merry Christmas everyone and keep safe and happy!


  1. Thanks for sharing your culture with us! Nobgobblin69

  2. Tracy e Allan Merry Christmas and happy holidays
    from Italy

  3. Happy Holidays Tracy to you and your family! From Lori in Georgia USA

  4. A very happy, merry, relaxed Christmas to you both, and if you see "our" owls, please wish them the same. I cannot imagine celebrating Christmas in heat like yours - I need a pine tree that is decorated with Christmas baubles, and snow, and skating with chldren, or making snow men. But the festive food sounds the same. Have a wonderful time and may your New Year be filled blessings, success in saving the wetlands, and all kinds of other good things.
    Merry Christmas!
    Helen in Canada

  5. I like to know how can be Christmas time in such a different country as yours, thanks!
    I wish to you both and to all the creatures living in the wetland lots of good things.
    Have wonderful, peacful holidays, enjoy the hot weather of your beautiful Summer.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Italy!

  6. Here in Florida, USA, we often have warm days in December but cool nights. Last week it was 75 one day, so I get to wear shorts and sandals too. I used to live in the Midwest US, in Iowa, but I don't miss the deep snow, icy roads and cold of those Iowa winters. I love Florida, but I still celebrate Christmas with a decorated tree, a Christmas eve dinner and gift exchange with my family here.
    I enjoyed hearing about your winter and holiday. I've missed seeing the photos of your owls growing up, but know they are becoming adults and maturing. Thank you so much for sharing them with all of us.
    Merry Christmas to both of you and all your loved ones. And a peaceful prosperous New Year!

  7. Merry Christmas Tracy & Allan. Have a wonderful time over the holidays in your beautiful sunny & warm home :-)
    It is below freezing here -17c in some parts of Great Britain & plenty of snow! :-(
    Have a great time! :-)

  8. Thank you for sharing the details of Christmas and the holiday season in your country. The traditional foods sound similar to ours, although I had to look up gammon. I've learned something new!
    Today is our Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The weather newsperson said sunset is at 4:28 PM today, here in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Dark and gloomy. For you it must be the longest day of the year.
    We definitely want to visit your country, and I will keep in mind to visit during our Winter and be able to enjoy your Summer. I looked at the map (I'm a bit of a map weenie) and noticed that while we are north of 40 degrees latitude, Johannesburg is north of 40 degrees south. It's not far to travel at all, simply a north and south Atlantic away!
    I would love to be able to watch a zebra and her foal nap in the late morning sun, like last week at Africam. Or better yet, go owl watching.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Summer Solstice to Tracy, Allan and the Owl family. - LandofAnne

  9. Tracy and Allan,

    Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year from freezing New York! Can you send some of your warmth and sun here, plz?? :)

    Ronni - Paphappy

  10. Happy Festive Season!! Last year, we arrived in South Africa on this day and learned so much about your beautiful country and its traditions! Swimming on Christmas Day in Port Elizabeth was a treat, wearing shorts, enjoying the bright sun: all of those things made a very different Christmas than we have at home. There's lots of snow in Northern New York already; it's snowed softly all day and warmed up into the 20s F! Tonight, we'll have our regular single digits: we have a very serious winter, which we also love. Best to you and your family!

  11. Tracy and Allan,
    May the blessings of Christmas be with you
    today and throughout the New Year.
    We are to have a white Christmas here in Maryland USA - The older I get I would prefer watermelons
    and swimming pools!
    Peace to you and your families.

  12. Holiday Blessings to you. We have enjoyed your unique bird nest and your revealing to us how you spend your Christmas holidays.
    We will have a 'white Christmas' here in WV. USA
    Love the snow if it is only 1 or 2 inches...covers up all the dirt and trash:)

  13. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year: hot or cold climate I'm near New York City) the wishes are the same!
    Thanks to both of you for sharing your part of the world, and the owls of course!

  14. Blessings to you both!!! What true angels you are. It is 23 degrees(Fahrenheit) and snowing like crazy here today as we hurry to finish the last of our holiday tasks. Hope you have a restful, happy and peaceful Christmas.

  15. We also are gonna have a white Christmas this year. The southern part of our country expects up to 8 inches in the coming night. ;)

    Merry Christmas to you both, Tracy and Allan, and the best wishes for 2011. :)

    The Netherlands

  16. Merry Christams and very best wishes for 2011. Thank you Tracy and Allan for being angels for our owls. You deserve to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Janet Irene

  17. It is Christmas Day and snowing like crazy here in Virginia. My thoughts keep going over to Johanesburg, SA and wondering if PPO, Poppa, Indie, Jelani and our beloved Teeny are celebrating Jesus' birth in their own special way. My prayer for you, Tracy and Alan, are for excellent health, good fortune and all of Gods blessings to be bestowed on you both in 2011. You are both true protectors of Gods creatures and for that, THANK YOU. Much love, hugs and kisses to you both and when you see our beloved owls, blow them a kiss for me. PattiinVA

  18. Dear Tracy and Allan,

    I would like to wish You wonderful, Happy New Year, lots of love, health and only the BEST in everything around You.
    This couple of months, "I have spent on your balcony" was a miracle in my life!
    I think about You guys many time - and always send you my love from so far away!
    Thank You so much for everything and I really hope to see you in 2011!
    Please "give my warmest hugs and kisses" to the babies, PPO and Pappa if they fly around sometimes.
    Take care and may 2011 bring You everything You ever wished for!!!!
    Lots of love,

  19. Happy New Year to you Tracy and Allan and to all fellow PPO cam watchers and bloggers. Hoping the owlets are still continuing to visit and are looking good.

    Fi xx

  20. Happy New Year Tracy and Allan. I hope all is well with you and your New Year is a sunny one. I also hope that Pot Plant Owl, Pappa, Jelani, Indie and Teeny are having a good summer of hunting. I miss seeing them very much!

  21. Happy New Year Tracy and Allan! I hope you are enjoying your summer on a CLEAN patio lol! xx Bigsis/Robin