Rebecca with husband Preben Hansen. Rebecca with husband Preben Hansen.

Rebecca dela Cruz Hansen “Christmas in July” 70th Birthday Party

by Noemi Ognilla

In Australia, “Christmas in July” is a practice observed by migrants coming from Scandinavia, Europe, North America and others in the tradition of a cold, wintry, snowy white Christmas they used to have back home as Christmas in Australia comes in summer here, usually a hot humid day and spend in the beach or backyard.


A dear and old friend Rebecca Hansen, a retired nurse, Club Filipino Illawarra, Inc. member and past president of Australia Philippine Association, Inc. whose birthday was on July 24 had her advance 70th birthday party with the theme “Christmas in July” on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at Ruby’s Restaurant in Mount Kembla, a good reason for some of us to celebrate “Christmas in July”. The celebrant only had a small number of guests around 40 comprising of her family in Australia and very few selected friends. Rebecca, the 2nd of 10 siblings cannot be joined on her milestone 70th birthday celebration by siblings in America, Canada and the Philippines, which they usually do during very important family event.


Rebecca & Preben with sons Rene & Brian and family.


Rebecca was joined by her husband, brother Milo & wife Joy and brother Verman & wife Lilly.



Rebecca was joined by her nephews and nieces.


A group photo of our table with the celebrant.


As it is winter time in Australia this time of the year, it was a very cold and windy day and most of the guests came well wrapped in their wintry red and/or green Christmassy attire as per the celebrant request. The place, Ruby’s which was high in the escarpment was decorated with assortment of Christmas trees, reindeers, Xmas gifts, candles, hats and there’s a heater to warm the place. And of course, it won’t be Christmas without Santa Claus giving everyone a present from the celebrant herself. Rebecca is just a perfect hostess be it a small gathering or a big party and always gives her guests the best.


Preben, Rebecca’s husband did the first roast, followed by sons Rene & Brian, long time friend Mila Gooley & Miriam McCauley. The celebrant, in their speeches was subjected to praises and adoration and humorous criticism, which they know best, to the delight and laughter of everyone. The room was overheated with so much fun with Rebecca as the target of the jokes but definitely the room was filled with love, affection and care for the birthday celebrant.



Another group photo of celebrants with friends.



Another group photo of celebrants with friends.


Rebecca & Preben with their brand new Mazda 6 bought for Rebecca’s 70th birthday.


True to their Danish tradition which Rebecca learned from her marriage and living in Denmark with Preben, we were welcomed with warm, sweeten and flavour Mulled wine upon arrival. It was followed by an entrée of Beef & onion soup or Chicken & roast garlic terrine in between the speeches and singing by more family members. For main there was Roast turkey with cranberry jelly or Stuffed rolled veal, both served with potato gratin, roast veggies and steamed green vegetables. For dessert we either got a Christmas pudding with brandy custard or Sherry trifle and of course tea or coffee.

Rebecca’s youngest brother, the 10th sibling, Dr Verman dela Cruz read a very sweet poem, by Shiv Sharma. Source


“Why I love my sister, The Importance of a Sister, Sister Poem”


Verman read:

“A sister is someone who loves you from the heart, no matter how much you argue you cannot be drawn apart. She is a joy that cannot be taken away, once she enters your life, she is there to stay.

A friend who helps you through difficult times, her comforting words are worth much more than dimes. A partner, who fills your life; with laughs and smiles, all these memories last for miles and miles.

When she is by your side, the world is filled with life, when she is not around; your days are full of strife. A sister is a blessing, who fills your heart with love; she flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove.

A companion to whom you can express your feelings, she doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings. Whether you are having your ups and downs, she always helps you with a smile and never frowns.

With a sister you cannot have a grudge; she is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge. Having a sister is not just a trend; it is in knowing, you can always turn to her, your best friend.”

Indeed it was a very loving tribute to a very dear sister. When it’s time for the cake and the birthday song, Rebecca asked for her grandchildren to be with her, then her children, the daughters in law, the brothers and their wives, the nephews and nieces and then the rest of the guests for photos.

“Christmas in July” celebrated during a 70th birthday party makes the latter more fun and truly different.



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