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My friends overseas still find it strange how some of us celebrate Christmas in the summertime. I admit that I would find it weird if it wasn’t how I grew up. But I would also be really curious to check out an Australian Christmas and see how locals in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate. So I thought I would put together a fun list of the things you need to make an authentic Aussie Christmas.
Christmas in Melbourne city
I mean, you say celebration, Australians say alcohol. But there is no spiked eggnog or warm apple cider on the menu. Instead, we opt for ice cold beer, cider and wine. My family’s personal favourite is beginning the day with a non-alcoholic punch, which becomes alcoholic after lunch with a little bit of Midori. YUM.
Yes, you should be drinking a lot of water in between beers. We don’t want you getting heat stroke. But every Christmas I have celebrated at home has included some form of water. This might include rain (boo), the beach, the backyard pool or even just running around under sprinklers. But there is always water.
By the water on beautiful Maggie Island
Ever since we moved to Queensland when I was 9, Christmas has involved spending time recovering from the tropical humidity outside with the beautiful creation that is air-conditioning inside. No one wants to sweat while opening presents, am I right? But a little bit of air-con time is what Christmas is about.
Christmas carols on TV
There are two big Christmas carol events in Australia. Firstly, Carols in the Domain in Sydney, which is usually on the Saturday night before Christmas Day. Then, Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne on Christmas Eve. It is tradition in my family to watch the carols on Christmas Eve. It definitely gets you in the festive spirit. Even if you are watching them in the air-con.
How we celebrate Christmas in Melbourne
One of the biggest days in Australia’s sporting calendar is cricket’s Boxing Day test. It is held yearly at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and many Aussies can be found watching it on Boxing Day. I for one would rather not, and fortunately my dad agrees. But if you want to have an authentic Australian Christmas, cricket is an important ingredient. Bonus points for actually playing backyard cricket too.
A lot of Australians really get into decorating their houses with Christmas lights (National Lampoon style). I love playing Christmas carols and cruising around my hometown marvelling at the lights. There are certain houses and neighbourhoods that truly shine every year. Sometimes you can get out and walk from house to house, while others you can just drive by and Santa hands you a chocolate.
Insane Christmas light display in Melbourne
My family usually has a traditional Christmas dinner with all of the meat on Christmas Eve. But come Christmas or Boxing Day, there will always be seafood on the menu. It is mostly in the form of prawns, which sell like crazy during Christmas Down Under. A seafood meal is definitely one way to have an authentic Australian Christmas. Just don’t put any on my plate, cos I am not a fan. Add this to the list of reasons I am a bad Australian…
Boxing Day sales
Because Black Friday doesn’t really exist in Australia, our biggest sales of the year begin on Boxing Day. When I worked in retail, I hated Boxing Day sales. But now as just a consumer I love them. It is a great time to buy summer clothing, especially swimwear.
Or you could spend Boxing Day here?
When I was a kid, we never left Santa milk and cookies. Oh no, when Santa gets to Australia he needs something stronger. Like a beer, of course. Because he had such a busy schedule, he never finished his beer, but always took a sip.
When I see people on social media with their pretty, real trees, I am a little envious. We have never had a real Christmas tree in Australia, and I don’t even know if it’s a possibility. Our Christmas tree came out of the same box my entire childhood.
So even though we celebrate in the sun rather than by the fire, an Australian Christmas can still be pretty special. I hope everyone gets to celebrate a summer Christmas once in their lifetime, just like when I experienced my first white Christmas.
May you all have a Merry Christmas, wherever in the world you are.