For anyone who’s spent the silly season in the northern hemisphere, it’s clear we do things differently here. With the lack of snow and a quirky take on the holiday, it’s more likely you’ll see Santa surfing than a group of carolers wandering the neighbourhood.
While no two Christmas tables look exactly the same in Australia, a pretty typical Christmas is sure to have at least a few of these things.
Traditional Santas wear bright red fleecy suits, lined with white fur and big black boots to fight off the northern winter.
In Australia, it’s summer at Christmas time so you’re much more likely to see a board short-wearing Santa on a surfboard.
So where will you see a surfing Santa? It’s not an official tradition by any means, but if you find yourself on a beach on Christmas day, you’ll probably catch an early morning surfer in a Santa hat.
While our British and American friends are feasting on roast turkey, baked potato and hot chocolate, Aussies are packing up the Esky for picnics or setting up folding tables to eat outside. Most families in Australia will send someone to do a ‘prawn run’ in the morning. Most seafood stores will be packed on Christmas morning with grumpy parents, or bored teenagers who have been sent on the prawn run. It’s such a special time of year.
It’s summer in December in Australia, so street parties are very popular. Sometimes in the evening on Christmas Day, impromptu street parties happen. Most people visit relatives on Christmas Day so the streets are full of families and kids.
Quiet roads on Christmas Day also usually mean impromptu games of cricket, with the wheelie bin as stumps of course.
If we believe everything we see on television, it would appear that most Christmas meals happen at dinner time. Not in Australia – we’re mostly Christmas lunch people.
Unless you have to spend Christmas with more than one family, in which case you’re likely to have Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner. Christmas is an all-day affair in Australia, with lots of eating, and time spent playing fun Christmas games for kids and big kids.
Christmas lunches in Australia are relaxed, mostly casual affairs which can include breaks for a spot of cricket or a splash in the backyard pool. Christmas crackers are a must – as is the need to wear of colourful paper crowns and telling of bad-jokes from the goodies found within.
Festive road trips
Depending on where your family lives, Christmas Day may involve a long road trip. It’s an accidental tradition at best, but lots of Aussie families’ Christmas celebrations include a drive with the kids jammed together in the back seat.
Lots of Australian children spend many hours squished in back seats with piles of pillows, siblings, presents, the Esky and a basket of food around the Christmas holidays.
Whether you’re visiting loved-ones that live far away or you’re solidly on vacation-mode and heading up some of Australia’s favourite road trips, it’s inevitable everyone in the family will be reacquainted with each other after this.
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