Some of Santa's favourite families have two mummies

Yesterday in Brisbane, Santa made time in his busy pre-Christmas schedule to drop in on the (second) annual rainbow families Christmas picnic.

There were about thirty families there; mostly mothers, but some grandmothers, donors and assorted ring-ins.

It’s a delight seeing my children respond to it from year to year – this year they were really engaged with the races, and quite excited about seeing Santa, although they didn’t know who he was or what he did – just that ‘Santa’ was something one was meant to get excited about.

At this time of year, difference from the mainstream is highlighted.  The representations are Mum, Dad and two or maybe three angelic blonde children. Hale and hearty grandparents who are clearly still married to each other look on adoringly- no messy running between divorced grandparents between breakfast and dinner.

Pearl gives Santa a careful once-over

From the marketing, I would assume that stepfamilies, separated families, single parent families, people with disabilities, non-Anglo families and gay families don’t celebrate Christmas.

It seemed important to me to start up a Rainbow Families Christmas Picnic. As my children get older and understand more, Christmas will become more and more heteronormative.   Advertising that convincingly reproduces gender stereotypes. Mr & Mrs Claus. Years and years of soppy Christmas special movies yet to come! We’re all gathering to celebrate the quintessential nuclear family – the Virgin Ideal Mother Mary, the macho, protective, strong silent Joseph, and the perfect baby Jesus, ‘no crying he makes’ (how did they know when to change his nappy?). I want my kids to have a moment where they can stop and say, ‘Look, here are a whole bunch of families like mine, all celebrating Christmas’.


Do you feel a need to queer Christmas? How do you make Christmas an event that includes our children? That celebrates families – all families? At the time  of year when family is exalted to ridiculous, unsustainable heights, how do we deal with our messy networks of relationships? Or are you happy to accept Christmas for the odd hybrid of sanitised religiosity and rabid consumerism  it offers?

Radical Christians suggest that Jesus himself lived in an unconventional family as an adult – living unmarried with Lazarus, Martha & Mary would have been highly scandalous at the time.

Jesus had two dads, and look how he turned out!

Santa takes a break with Mrs Claus