The Australian Women's Weekly Christmas 2020

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in this issue

2 min

This time last year I was panic-buying thermal undergarments and packing my bag in preparation for a frosty Christmas with my husband’s family in England. How the world has changed in the 12 months since then. Now the fact we can jump on a plane to Melbourne seems like an achievement – and the only cuddles my daughter will be getting from her beloved English granny will be virtual ones. Planning our Christmas issue also felt a little different this year. We wanted to celebrate the joy of the season – if there was ever a year we needed a boost of festive cheer, it’s this one – but we couldn’t ignore the challenging and distressing times so many endured in 2020. So we went across the country to find stories of…

3 min
news bites

1938-2020 Farewell darling Jeanne AFTER A LONG BATTLE with Alzheimer’s disease, one of Australia’s most irrepressible stars, Jeanne Little, has died. Plucked from obscurity when a Channel 10 producer saw her modelling mad-cap, homemade maternity wear in a newspaper in 1974, Jeanne Little was an instant hit with audiences. Within two years of making her TV debut, she’d won a Gold Logie for her work on The Mike Walsh Show. Speaking after Jeanne’s 80th birthday, daughter Katie told The Weekly, “Mum wasn’t just the life of the party, she was the party – vibrant, always the centre of attention, so generous and so much fun.” She spoke of Jeanne’s bravery and irrepressible spirit. “She waltzed into the darkness with a smile, all happiness and joy, as she’d always done.” Jeanne was…

2 min
girls let ambition be their guide

A SCIENCE BADGE? DRONE FLYING CLASSES? If you’ve never had much to do with Girl Guides, you might imagine it’s all about orienteering and selling cookies, but Guides are encouraged to develop skills and confidence in any area that interests them – and as The Weekly recently discovered, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is becoming an increasingly popular pursuit. Sarah, 12, a Girl Guide from Wagga Wagga, dreams of being a medical scientist, inspired by Florence Nightingale’s pioneering work in the field of nursing. “I want to make a positive impact on the world by learning first aid to help people in need,” explains Sarah, who has a vision of seeing more girls in science. Alina, 13, also from Wagga Wagga, has her eye on forensic science – just like the “godmother…

9 min
christmas with a difference

Kate Ritchie At six years old, Kate Ritchie vividly remembers gazing into the night sky on Christmas Eve, looking hard for Santa’s arrival. To her delight, she spotted a red glow – it was Rudolph’s nose, she delightedly told her mother. Today she is a mother herself to six-year-old Mae and this is just one of many childhood traditions the duo will share this year and for more to come. “Seeing the simple pleasures and joys of Christmas though your children’s eyes is magical,” she says. And that includes the annual Christmas concert – now put on by Mae and her six cousins. “I was the bossy eldest of four and I would direct and produce our Christmas concerts,” the Nova Drive co-host laughs. “If my younger siblings didn’t do as they…

12 min
charlize’s gift

Five-year-old Charlize Gravina is leaping down the hallway of her NSW home in a tutu, exclaiming, “I love the sparkles,” as the skirt flips and floats around her. Big sister Amelia, nine, appraises her from the couch. “She only wears dresses that twirl, so she’s in twirling heaven,” she says. Charlize obliges with a pirouette before running over to the wall where there’s a photo of her twin brother. “What do you think, Zacky?” she asks, spinning again. Taking his smile as a sign of approval, she then bounds across the room to model her dress for her mother, Julie. “She’s very connected to him,” Julie says of Charlize’s twin, Isaac, who died when he was one year and nine months old. “She prays to him to keep her well. She…

13 min
sarah harris “it’s cathartic to talk”

It all started with a stack of Christmas cards. Clad in the gold buttoned, shoulder-padded Rockmans suit she’d spent her hard-earned McDonald’s wages on, 16-year-old Sarah Harris was sitting on the floor of the Channel 7 mail room in Brisbane, determinedly stuffing envelopes as if her life depended on it. It was her first day of work experience and the task was expected to last the Caboolture State High student the entire week. But nobody had reckoned on young Sarah’s determination. “I was so keen to make an impression that I had those Christmas cards stuffed in envelopes by midmorning,” the Studio 10 host laughs throatily today, as we sit amidst another chaotic Christmas scene (albeit one with far more expensive designer outfits). “And so they sent me into the newsroom and…