THAT?S THE LIFE
By EMMA CORNFORD
FROM swimming in the Clarence River to building sandcastles at Yamba, a relaxed time of good food and keeping cool was the order of the day for Christmas.
Traditional Christmas celebrations were well supported, with churches in the Valley reporting a good turnout to Christian services.
The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Grafton, Rev Dr Peter Catt, said Christmas services, particularly those on Christmas Eve, had been well-attended.
"We had a children's service on Christmas Eve with around 130 there which was a wonderful form of chaos ... and an absolute hoot," Rev Catt said.
"Midnight Mass was wonderful with around the 200 mark and (Christmas) morning was good but it was the smallest service ... because people tend to do church on Christmas Eve now so they have Christmas Day free to spend with family, which works for a nice balance between family and church."
At Yamba's Main beach there were fewer beach-goers on Christmas and Boxing Days, compared with previous years.
Yamba Surf Life Saving Club patrol vice-captain Wayne Sutton attributed the downturn to the wind and poor swell.
"We've had about 80-100 people here (on Boxing Day) this afternoon ... but there hasn't been as many as usual," Mr Sutton said.
"There's no swell so it's been really flat and Christmas on a Saturday has also kept numbers down."
Mr Sutton said he expected a swell in numbers today, especially with the start of the Big Swim 1.2km surf swim competition at Yamba.
He said people had generally been staying between the flags and swimming sensibly at the beach.
"They all seem pretty keen to do the right thing which is good and means there's been no major dramas down here."
People have been behaving themselves elsewhere, with ambulance crews in Grafton, Maclean and Yamba reporting an extremely quiet Christmas.
Police reported only a few incidents over the festive week- end, including alcohol being confiscated off a number of youths in Yamba Street, Yamba, on Christmas Eve; a bike being stolen from the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort; and a Pegasus Motel sign smashed in the early hours of Christmas morning.
Meanwhile, police are urging people to take extra care to secure their houses and property over the Christmas and New Year period.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin, corporate spokesperson for crime prevention, said everyone can take simple precautions to help reduce property crime.
"Break-ins have an enormous emotional and financial im- pact," he said.