CHRISTMAS and the summer holidays are almost here, bringing with them a festive spirit, the joy of traditional celebrations and the opportunity to renew long-time friendships, to reminisce, share fun, food and laughter.
It's a time for preparations and planning for family gatherings, get-togethers with friends and work colleagues and break-up parties celebrating achievements and the passing of "yet another year".
For children, Christmas is a particularly special time - a time to "be extra good because Santa may be watching", posting letters to the North Pole and enjoying the annual school break-up, traditionally a picnic with watermelon and ice blocks.
A hundred years ago, during the Christmas holidays of 1916, Maroochydore was so crowded that the Salvation Army camp provided additional tents for the campers and the School of Arts provided a holiday lending library opening in December of that year.
Most of the visitors to Maroochydore used a combination of tram from Nambour, connecting with one of the boat services operating on the Maroochy River.
It was complicated to get to Alexandra Headland for a holiday.
Firstly the train had to be taken to Palmwoods, tram to Buderim and then motor transport down the steep hill of Buderim to get to the beachside township.
During the busy holiday season, Near North Coast volunteer surf lifesavers would hitch-hike to the Coast or arrived by train and bus from Brisbane to help patrol the beaches.
Caloundra at Christmas time in 1925 brings memories of good deeds done when two girls became lost after gathering Christmas Bells on the Caloundra Plains.
Locals and visitors became anxious and search parties were organised.
Groups set off with lanterns and Mr King searched the region, even as far as Bells Creek, on horseback.
A wild storm during the night did not deter the searchers.
In the early morning light, the two friends finally got to Pumicestone Passage where Ernie Rinaldi of Caloundra had been searching.
The girls were found and brought home in Ernie's early motor vehicle, which was an adventure in itself.
Many coastal visitors have special memories of camping holidays, of tents lining the coast reserves and wonderful sunny days with children playing, swimming and participating in sand garden competitions by decorating their sand creations with pretty shells in the hope of winning a prize.
The hurricane lamp provided some light in the evening for cooking and ice from the ice works kept perishable foods cool.
Some families stayed at the beach for six weeks during the Christmas break.
Mum and perhaps an aunt or grandmother minded the children, while dad worked on the farm or in the city and returned to the Coast on weekends.
Opportunities for simple pleasures and celebrations continue to abound on the Sunshine Coast and for residents and visitors alike they form a special part of the festive and holiday season.
Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council's Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.
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