The world expectation is that Christmas is white and pristine – everywhere!
Not so in Australia! For us Christmas is about hot sunny days and getting cool in the pool. It’s the hottest time of year for us and most Aussies dream of having a ‘white’ Christmas.
Most of us that live in Australia enjoy slightly warmer weather over the Christmas holidays!
Enjoy, hmm perhaps that’s an over-statement! How does anyone enjoy 40 degree days I hear you asking!!
We love the idea of icy cold weather, throwing snowballs, building snowmen, and warming up by the open fireplaces while toasting marshmallows.
However, it’s far from our reality!
Australia is an island
Aussies are traditionally beach lovers, and the majority of us live around the edges of our big island. The rest of us head to the beach for our holidays whenever we can!
For us, there’s just something special about waking up of a morning to the smell of the ocean, early morning walks on the beach and chilling out watching the ocean waves roll in.
Aussie Christmas cards
Shopping for Christmas cards in Australia is a bit tricky. Christmas cards usually feature pictures of holly and mistletoe, snowy white mountainous landscape, Rudolf the Reindeer leaping off snow covered roofs, children in mittens, huge coats and wrapped up in overly long, Christmas cheer coloured woollen scarves.
In Australia, it’s difficult to find Christmas cards that reflect our reality.
We particularly love the idea of Santa riding a surfboard in his santa-suit pants rolled up to his knees or paddling around in a canoe. There’s not many other images that depict the seasonal experience in Australia of hot humid days, glaring sun and in most parts of Australia, we have a great shortage of chimneys!
A typical Aussie Christmas day
Christmas day usually starts off with excited children clammering onto your bed to tell you what Santa Claus deposited in a Christmas sack (usually a pillowcase) on the foot of their bed overnight while you feign surprise and try to reach consciousness.
Breakfast follows but usually the attention span is limited as the kids are hyped and begging to open the presents under the tree. Once the presents are unwrapped the pressure is off while they explore their Christmas treasures.
The obligatory Board games come out and the family feuds start over Monopoly as siblings and cousins squabble about the rules! Some family traditions bring out the slot-cars and hold mini-grand prix with the ‘big’ kids traditionally having more fun then the younger ones!
Christmas lunch – Aussie style
Lunch is usually not a hot Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham followed by traditional Christmas pudding that we Aussies dream of for our Christmas. The main meal of the day is lunch on Christmas Day and this often kicks off early afternoon.
I suspect, just like everywhere else everyone eats far more than they need!
Often it consists of a cold based lunch banquet with way too much food and usually includes a fresh seafood platter of lobster, prawns and oysters and platters of cold cuts of ham, pork and chicken and the meal finishes with a beautiful homemade trifle and pavlova to follow!
Wine and beer are usually part of the day’s celebrations, sometimes we make a sangria or a fruit punch and almost always we spend the afternoon in the pool relaxing in an over-stuffed blimp-like state.
In Australia the day after Christmas Day is celebrated as Boxing Day. It’s a designated public holiday but has no special meaning for us (however we’re very grateful for the additional public holiday!).
Traditionally in England and Europe, Boxing Day was the day after Christmas day when affluent households gave gifts to their staff and allowed them to have a day of leave to spend with their families.
Most shops are closed however recent trends have changed and the Boxing Day heralds the start of the Boxing Day sales where bargain shopping begins with vigour and a great deal of competition!
Boxing Day is also the day that the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race commences which is quite a tradition for Aussies! It’s a spectacular day on Sydney Harbour for many boating enthusiasts as the yachts sail through Sydney Heads towards Hobart, Tasmania.