Regular contributor, Lynn, shares how she makes Australia Day a celebration of community. In doing so, she hopes to create a family culture of mindfulness around our national holiday.
The Australian spirit that I choose to embrace on Australia Day is one of community, sunshine and shared food.
So every Australia Day, I try and work out how we can do this.
Some years, we’ve celebrated the traditional way – invite a bunch of friends around the house for a BBQ and a pavlova, with plenty of cold drinks all round.
We have also aimed for community by inviting “outside the box”.
One year it was a chance to make a more meaningful connection with our neighbours who had newly arrived from overseas.
Another year we invited a friend’s elderly neighbour and a few of her friends from the nearby retirement homes.
Some years, we’ve found ourselves unable to host and lacking options have sought out charity and volunteering opportunities – working at a “lost children” booth at a community event and being supplementary helpers for a meals delivery charity.
Volunteering has become harder since having children of our own, of course, but as our children grow, we’ve started small with gestures such as delivering a bouquet of native flowers to a reclusive neighbour and picking up litter at our local park. We hope to instil in our children that we are so fortunate to be able to live in this country, and we should make it a better community by our actions.
After the madness of family at Christmas, and friends at New Years, we’ve tried to create a sense of mindfulness around Australia Day which will hopefully become a part of our family’s culture. We are often reminded by the media just how lucky we are to live in a peaceful and tolerant community – and our efforts on January 26th aim to reflect and contribute to this.