Christmas is a time of joy and celebration around the world, and Australia is no exception. From traditional festivities to unique celebrations like ‘Christmas in July’, Australians have developed their own way of celebrating Christmas during the summer holidays. So join me as I take a tour through one of the most exciting places to experience Christmas: Australia!
Australian Christmas Traditions
Unlike many other countries, Australians do not celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. Some Australians may go out for Christmas carols singing, and watch Christmas movies, while others do last-minute Christmas shopping and food preparation. But apart from that, Christmas Eve seems just like a normal day.
Australians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. Most Australians spend Christmas Day with the whole family gathering together for a Christmas lunch and outdoor activities.
The enthusiasm for outdoor activities translates well into Christmas celebrations, where many families opt to cook up a big BBQ feast for lunch instead of slaving away in a hot kitchen. Summer activities such as swimming, surfing, fishing, and sailing are also popular on the day.
Temperatures in the southern states are usually much warmer than in other parts of the world during December, making outdoor gatherings more comfortable and enjoyable for guests.
Snowy Santa Footprints
One popular tradition for parents is creating ‘snowy Santa footprints’ on Christmas morning. This fun activity makes use of the hot and dry Australian climate by using sand and white paint to mimic the effect of snow on Santa’s boots. To start, parents place flour or baking soda onto a large plate and wet the bottom of a boot with water. Then they press the boot into the flour until the whole sole is covered with white flour. To make the footprints, they press the boot onto the floor.
When their children wake up on Christmas morning they will follow a trail of snowy footprints around their home until they find a special present left by Santa Claus himself! This creative activity can be made even more magical by sprinkling small pieces of glitter or wrapping paper confetti into each footprint as an extra touch that will truly wow your little ones.
Boxing Day Tradition (the day after Christmas)
Did you know that Boxing Day is called Boxing Day because it was traditionally a day when people gave gifts in boxes to their friends and family? It usually falls the day after Christmas.
Boxing Day is a major event for Australians and is celebrated with grand festivities. On Boxing Day, many Australians take part in traditional activities such as backyard cricket, swimming, fishing, sailing, and surfing. In addition to these fun outdoor activities, they also partake in sales and shopping at retail stores across the country.
Boxing Day is also known for its massive sales that take place throughout the country. Popular stores offer discounts on products such as electronics and apparel – giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase items at discounted prices. Commonly seen in cities are long queues of people lining up outside stores waiting for their chance to shop till they drop!
Australian Christmas Food
Unlike the typical traditional Christmas dinner, Aussies tend to celebrate Christmas with a unique and vibrant set of dishes that are distinct from traditional Christmas cuisines in other parts of the world.
The most common foods eaten during an Australian Christmas are grilled meats such as barbecued, cold meats, roast turkey, hams, and lamb.
Fresh seafood is also popular, with prawns, lobsters, crayfish, and oysters being popular choices. Barbecue shrimp, stuffed flounder, and grilled snapper can also make for tasty additions to the dinner table. Side dishes typically consist of salads made from fresh local ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce. Potato salad is also a popular side dish for an Australian Christmas meal.
Desserts usually include pavlova (a type of meringue-based dessert), plum pudding (made with dried fruit), trifle (a layered dessert), and fruitcake (often served together with custard). To wash it all down, many Aussies enjoy some locally produced cold beer or wine. Liqueurs such as Baileys Irish Cream or Amarula are also often enjoyed at the end of a meal.
Australians like to have Christmas crackers with their meals.
Gift Exchange Traditions
Christmas in Australia is a time for gift exchanges, as it is in many countries around the world. Though there is no universal tradition for how these exchanges work, some popular methods include Kris Kringle (also known as Secret Santa). Kris Kringle requires each person to draw names from a hat and purchase a gift for the person whose name they picked. The identity of the giver remains secret until the day of exchange when all participants reveal who gave which gifts. This particular method of exchanging presents is often seen during Christmas time at offices and workplaces, making it an especially popular tradition down under.
Australian Christmas Decoration
When it comes to Christmas in Australia, decorations are a big part of the holiday. The most popular decorations include classic symbols like Santa Claus, reindeer, and snowmen, as well as more regionalized decorations such as kangaroos or koalas.
Australians often use traditional Christmas colors like red and green, with many homes adorned with vibrant strings of lights and colorful garlands, creating a spectacularly festive atmosphere.
Although it may seem odd, Christmas trees can also be found in many Australian homes, decorated with baubles, tinsel, and other ornaments. Many Australians also hang wreaths on their doors for the holiday season. Some families even create homemade decorations using paper mache or wooden cutouts painted in festive hues. Many towns hold annual parades that feature floats with bright holiday themes and characters from favorite stories.
Australians use fake snow for Christmas decorations to make it look like it is winter, even though it is summertime in Australia during Christmas! Fake snow helps to create a festive atmosphere with decorations that look like the real thing.
Christmas Lights Displays
Christmas in Australia is often celebrated with spectacular lighting displays that can be seen everywhere around the country. Many Aussies decorate their homes with glowing Santas, reindeer, and snowmen to bring a festive touch to the holiday season.
The beaches of Australia become especially beautiful during the holiday season when they become adorned with bright strings of all types of lights reflecting off the water. In cities across Australia, such as Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra, local councils set up massive Christmas light displays along streets or in public parks for locals to enjoy and take part in festive activities such as caroling or ice skating.
Every year in Sydney, one house, in particular, sets out to light up the season with its coordinated Christmas display that takes months to plan and set up. What makes this display so special is that it serves as a fundraising effort for local charities. Each year, this event is able to raise money from donations from both passersby and more generous benefactors. This money is then donated to organizations such as the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, and more.
The organizers of this event have been running it for almost 30 years now, which just shows how much Australians love celebrating Christmas. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the setup process by contributing decorations – whether that’s baubles or full life-size Santas – that add to the festive atmosphere along the street. Plus there’s always plenty of food and Christmas carols when it comes time for the unveiling of the display every December!
This event truly embodies what Christmas means in Australia: bringing people together while giving back to those who may need extra help during these times and festivities.
Christmas charities are a huge part of the festive season in Australia. Every year, countless Australians dig deep to support some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities and individuals. From providing meals for those in need to helping fund homeless shelters and medical research, there are plenty of ways for people to give back during the Christmas season. Charitable organizations such as Lifeline, The Salvation Army, Uniting Care, St Vincent de Paul Society, Mission Australia, and World Vision all receive an influx of donations around this time of year.
Christmas in July
As well as celebrating Christmas Day itself in December, Australians also celebrate ‘Christmas in July’, which is usually celebrated on the 25th of July each year. This event takes place during the Australian winter (the middle of July) when a traditional roast dinner is served with many of the same trimmings as usual Christmas celebrations including crackers, Christmas pudding, and mince pies. It’s a chance for friends and family to get together when it’s cold outside to enjoy some festive cheer – albeit six months early!
The origin of this celebration of Christmas in July is unknown but some believe it originated in the mid-1900s when snow was a common occurrence for many Australians living in the high-altitude regions of New South Wales and Victoria. To take advantage of the rare chance to experience a “white Christmas”, locals held parties that included roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and pudding. Today, many ski lodges still host annual events with similar fares to mark the occasion!
Australians often use this midsummer opportunity to exchange gifts, decorate the tree, and practice their carols for the upcoming holiday season. There are even holiday-themed events held throughout the country such as beach parties, concerts, and shopping festivals with special discounts.
Even though it’s celebrated a few months early, Christmas in July still offers a unique chance for Australians to enjoy all of the familiar traditions of winter festivities – complete with snow (even if only fake!) and merriment!
There are many traditional Christmas songs that are popular in Australia during the festive season. Examples include ‘Six White Boomers’, which tells of a group of kangaroos bringing Santa’s presents to children on Christmas Day.
Another Australian favorite is ‘I Still Call Australia Home’. This song was first released by singer Peter Allen in 1980 and has since become a beloved anthem for Australians living away from home during the holidays. The lyrics tell of missing family members back home and wishing they could be reunited at Christmas time.
Similarly, ‘Home Among The Gum Trees’ is about an idyllic rural countryside where birds sing and families laugh together around a festive dinner table. It is considered one of Australia’s most iconic songs, and its upbeat tempo makes it perfect for singing along to at family gatherings during the holiday season.
While they may not be as widely known outside the country, there are many other classic Australian Christmas songs that have been embraced by locals over the years. These include jovial tunes such as ‘Aussie Jingle Bells’ – an adaptation from the original US version – and humorous numbers like ‘Santa Never Made It Into Darwin’. Both these tracks celebrate life in Australia over Christmas, making them firm favorites for any festive gathering!