After another tumultuous year of the pandemic, families separated by lockdowns across Greater Sydney are looking forward to being reunited at Christmas.
For Aboriginal elder Aunty Janice Kennedy, from CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains’ Aboriginal Catholic Services (ACS) in Emerton, she cannot wait to be able to celebrate with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Christmas is all about family,” she told Catholic Outlook.
In previous years, Aunty Janice would attend a special Indigenous Christmas Mass at the nearby Holy Family Parish, Emerton, and would celebrate a meal with her immediate family at the ACS building, which would be festively decorated.
This Christmas, Aunty Janice will be visiting her daughter’s house and having Christmas dinner with family from around Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast.
Aunty Janice explained that some of her Christmas traditions include making homemade custard and different types of salad, which her daughter now looks after.
“I don’t have to cook anymore, so I just give the orders,” she joked.
One tradition that she hasn’t quite handed over as of yet is making a rag pudding every year since she was young. She describes that as a 17 year old, she learnt how to make the pudding from an older indigenous woman who she called Gran, tying it in cloth and hanging it from a branch in a tree until it was ready.
Even though she tells me that her kids don’t like the pudding, it remains close to her heart as her late husband loved it.
When asked what she is most looking forward to at Christmas, Aunty Janice said spending Christmas Eve at her granddaughter’s house and seeing the joy in her one-year-old great-grandchild’s face when she opens her presents.