To be clear: 'Staycation' isn't the unreleased instalment of the famedNational Lampoon's Vacation franchise where Chevy Chase lives in a tent in his own front yard, whilst fighting the local council over a neighbours illegally constructed gazebo.
A 'Staycation' is defined as a holiday where you don't actually go anywhere, you just stay at home and do day trips. It is how people would holiday before the invention of planes and cars. They knew the simple joy of setting out for the day, travelling as far in one direction as possible and then turning back around for home before you lost light or Uncle Albrecht's leg to gangrene.
With Staycations becoming such a cultural phenomenon and I having no money in the savings account after our recent Bali holiday, our family decided to spend our Christmas holidays at home !
On Staycation... and what a great experience it was!
Before the invention of the term, we would have just told people we weren't going on holidays. Society would have shunned us like lepers and we would have found ourselves walking in gutters instead of the footpath. Thanks to the modern evolution of language to match our modern propensity to aggrandise every minute detail of life, we weren't doing nothing- we were Staycationing! At Christmas parties people still seemed interested in my plans- I even managed to hold weight in a conversation about Llwellyn's planned Moroccan fishing expedition by talking about my plans to indulge eat fish and chips on the beach and chase the seagulls afterward.
Our Staycation started off triangulating the central core of the state on Christmas day in search of quality cream-based deserts. Our trek returned varying results. We then spent a few more days staying with family, but a Staycation is much like a marriage and it isn't really a proper one unless you sleep at your own home.
Getting back to our own base, all the moderated, budgeted and localised fun could begin! New Years Eve was a Latin house party with friends (read- we ate fish tacos while listening to the Chef soundtrack on Spotify). We took in the family-friendly fireworks (the type that don't swear or show too much skin) and celebrated the New Year two and half hours early! The kids loved it. Watching their happy, mesmerised faces, I reflected on how simple bright, sparkly explosions in the sky appeal to the child within us all. Then Istarted to wonder if I have pyromaniacal tendencies that I need to deal with or would it be easier to just join the army? But before I could announce my New Year's resolution to enlist, we were off. The kids feel asleep in the car, our friends decided to drive back to the city before midnight and so wifey and I welcomed in 2016 jumping on the trampoline in the backyard (it is an old Inuit tradition).
We live 20 minutes drive from a stretch of coast that is some of the best Australia and the World has to offer. We spent a few days heading to different spots, swimming, sunning ourselves and eating burgers.
Food was a constant. When you live near the coast, the one thing you can count on in summer is visitors and never having to pay for sand again (there are houses near us the have TWO sandpits!). We hosted many family and friends for dinner, but the best one was what will now be known as 'Salzar'.
This newish tradition started in 2015 as a New Years Day gathering of my brothers and sisters and their partners at our house. It took shape this year as we bought to life the occasion with some key ingredients - Pizza and Nerf guns. Earlier that day, my son Archer and I had hit K Mart and armed ourselves with some basic Nerf weaponry. We spent the rest of the afternoon having shootouts around the house, so when our guests showed up they were all ambushed.
We'd decided to make homemade pizza. My brother went to grab the ingredients from the supermarket he also came back packing foam-heat in the form of a Nerf six-shooter. I spent the rest of the night eating slices and dodging foam darts, not realising the origins to this event had lay in my subconscious since the early 90s.
Austin Salzar was a kid in my grade 5 class and despite his glasses, he came with plenty of street cred. He was American and this was a time when NBA, Ninja Turtles and Pizza Hut were taking Australia by storm. His Dad was in the Army so he was only here for a short stay but he threw a 10th birthday party i'll always remember. Held in the basement (his parents must have found the only house in the state with one, as Australians don't believe in basements the way the English don't believe in baths) it was a Nerf and pizza party! The day blew my small town mind in such a big way I can still taste and feel it 20 plus years on.
From now on my family will honour this tradition and the memory of a young, partying trailblazer from the States as we celebrate 'Salzar'. It will form a big part of what is now going to become a family tradition in itself - the Christmas Staycation (which in no way infringes on the copyright of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc as they don't own Christmas).