Christmas in Australia is never a white Christmas as it is celebrated in the first month of southern summer when the entire continent is parched by the blazing sun. Even though Christmas in Australia falls during summer, the traditions and celebrations are perfectly in accord with the Christmas celebrations elsewhere. Despite the blistering sunny days, the Aussies make it a point to recreate the Christmas spirit by depicting Santa, snowflakes, snowman and other winter icons in their decorations, celebrations and greeting cards. Christmas is a time people to gorge, splurge and spend time with families, relatives and friends. 'Merry Christmas' is the traditional Australian Christmas greeting as the country does not have an official language of its own. Bondi Beach, located in Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, is the most popular getaway destination for the Aussies during this time of the year. They enjoy the evening by camping grounds, dinning by the beachside, swimming and surfing, bingeing on 'barbie', going for picnics and so on.
The traditional Australian Christmas feast is replete with meaty delicacies like roasted turkey, baked ham and stuffed chicken along with plenty of cold salads, barbecued steak, seafood, drumsticks, wings and chicken breasts. However, the major attraction of an Australian Christmas feast are its desserts that mainly comprise of traditional meringue based pavlova, fruit salads, trifles, panna cottas, Anzac biscuits, shortbread, mince pies, fruit cakes, steamed puddings and chocolates. The Aussies like to enjoy their food outdoors, which explains why Christmas picnic is a huge rage during summer time.
Christmas decoration primarily constitutes of traditional European wreaths, although 'Christmas bush' and 'Christmas bellflower' take up a huge chunk of the festive decoration. Being a summertime celebration, Christmas decorations in Australia involve plenty of bright hues and summery fragrances with Christmas tree, nasturtiums, wisteria, honeysuckle, Poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and pinecones being the major Christmastime attractions. Colorful garlands, wreaths and lights adorn the doors and mantels, while images of kangaroos and koala bears draped in Santa hats and red scarves is used to beautify the greeting cards, gift tags and centerpieces.
Christmas festivities in Australia begin in late November and continue through the first week of January. Schools and church groups stage Nativity plays and people greet the holidays by singing carols. On Christmas Eve, families attend 'Carols by Candlelight', a carol concert, where people from all across the city gather in huge numbers to sing and listen to joyful carols by the candlelight. It is believed that Christmas Eve celebrations in Australia are incomplete without this tradition. The major highlight of Australian Christmas is the traditional holiday midday dinner that mainly includes roasted ham or turkey and special Christmas plum-pudding soaked in brandy. Like the British and the Irish, even Australians celebrate Boxing Day on December 26. On this day, they tip the grocer, domestic help, milkman, postman, and other helps, as a sign of gratitude for their services. Christmas celebrations in Australia end on the 'Twelfth Night' on January 6, with dinners and dance parties.
Australia, the land of diverse and colourful flora-fauna, celebrates Christmas in a spirit befittingly fun, outdoorsy and happy. Australians sure know how to party! Merry Christmas!
Read about Christmas and its traditions in Australia and Australian Christmas customs.