Maria sat on the bench looking at the crowd gathered on the dark street.

She thought back to her old home in England. Last year there had been a snow storm and everything was covered in a glistening white blanket. Maria had joined her friends building a snowman, sledging and laughing during snowball fights. Christmas lights twinkled and lit up the evenings.

There would be none of that this year. Thanks to her Dad’s work move, Christmas was now a summer celebration. No snow, no warming up cold hands by the fire or drinking hot chocolate, no sliding over icy puddles.

The crowd started counting down with their thick New Zealand accents. Maria didn’t join in. Her mother looked over to her and smiled. The countdown reached zero.

The entire street lit up in a blaze of fairy lights.  Dazzling colours covered every wall, roof, fence and path. Some local kids pulling a sled on wheels walked passed. One of them stopped and looked at her.

‘Want to come sledging with us?’ he asked.


photo-20161212155025335
© Maria @ Doodles and Scribbles

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story, in around 150 words based on the weekly photo prompt. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

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43 thoughts on “CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

  1. Funny how these Northern Hemipshere traditions continue, separated from the culture that formed them. Hopefull she’ll be feeling more at home now. Nicely written Iain

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, knowing people who have had emigrated to Australia, it does seem odd that these traditions have gone with them, although I think they do have a Christmas BBQ on the beach, so not quite the same! Thanks Lynn 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you’re right – barbeque is the call of the day, though when my mother in law was out in New Zealand the other year, she said they still had tinsel up and wore Santa outfits, which feels very weird 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The word sledging down here refers to the banter that goes on in sporting events between international sides, as as in cricket matches.
    But you are right in the southern hemisphere at this time we have to use wheels on our sleds, or they may be called billy-carts in my part of the world. Most interesting take on the image Iain.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Moving to a new place is always a challenge . It upsets ones comfort zone, but in her case, as with most…she will adapt quickly with her new friends and one day her new place will be her comfort zone and packed with great memories as the years go by. Great story.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Starting over is always hard as a teenager. Having to leave your old friends and old traditions changed. Perhaps though there is hope at the end with the beautiful lights and the boys asking her if she wants to sled.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a hopeful ending, thinking that she might find new friends and new traditions to enjoy. I had the same reaction to the lack of snow at Christmas when I first moved to California. But now I am very, very used to having lovely weather all year round — spoiled, you might say! Still, I am nostalgic for the kind of Christmas you describe… sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, it’s still “winter” here — cold enough to put on sweaters and coats and scarves at night, at least, so that helps me get in the mood a bit more. And I can *see* snow on the mountaintops nearby as I go for my exercise walk in the morning, does that count? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Iain,
    Thought I’d pop round and read your take on a Southern Hemisphere Christmas. I really enjoyed your taken on the prompt and felt you really created a moving ambiance. I agree with Michael that sledging isn’t the right word. That’s what sport’s players do to razz up their opponents. I’m in Australia and we’d either call it a billycart or simply carting.
    Unlike the other readers, I saw this wheeled sled as the embodiment of how different things were and here was this contraption posing as a sled when it was nothing like the real thing…especially when there’s no snow!
    I have never had a Winter Christmas. I was living in Germany for about 6 months and came home for Christmas. I became so homesick that the thought of spending Christmas away from my family, the beach etc was too much.
    We usually have a cool lunch but still have the plum pudding with brandy sauce and hot custard for dessert. The kids usually spend much of the day in my aunt’s pool.
    BTW, where we live Santa turns up to local Christmas events on a fire engine and when my kids were little and they heard the fire engine siren going (heading off to another bush fire no doubt!), they’d call out “Santa!” I miss that now.
    Here’s a link through to a post I wrote about an Australian Christmas and a guest post on the subject as well.
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

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