5 Things You Need for a Traditional Australian Christmas Celebration
Christmas has always been one of the most popular holiday periods in Australia. Some Australians celebrate the occasion twice: once in July, when the weather is cooler, and again in December.
There are many Christmas traditions that Australia shares with the rest of the world, however, there are also certain traditions that are unique to Australians. If you want a traditional Australian Christmas, here are some of those small things to help you make it a uniquely Australian holiday season:
For many countries, Christmas is synonymous to snowy weather. It means wearing warm, fleecy jumpers and drinking hot chocolate by a roaring fire. However, in Australia, particularly, in the Southern hemisphere, Christmas happens in the summer.
That’s why instead of a bright red fur-lined coat, black boots, and reindeer, Australia’s Santa Claus sports surf shorts, thongs, and maybe even a surfboard. So for that ultimate Aussie Christmas feel, consider decorating your home or office with at least one surfing Santa. You can even make it your costume for parties!
If the conditions allow, you can also troop to the nearest beaches to cool down and take on the waves with a Santa hat on. Bondi Beach in Sydney is a particularly popular spot.
Singing Christmas Carols by Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight was popularised in 1938 by radio announcer Norman Banks. Since then, Australian cities have hosted their own versions every year. Usually, the events are held in parks or other outdoor venues. There are also celebrity performers to help draw in the crowds, and the proceeds are donated to a charity.
If you can’t attend the Carols by Candlelight organised by your city this year, you can hold your version at home with your family or your closest friends. Since it’s called “Carols by Candlelight,” make sure to get a few of the best scented candles Sydney residents love to light up for the full effect. Try floral-scented or vanilla candles for a warm homey ambience.
For the music, choose some traditional Australian ones such as First Hymn for Christmas Day, Nine Christmas Carols, and A Christmas Hymn. Then, pack up a picnic basket and share a meal outdoors. (Don’t forget the insect repellent!)
A Chocolate Calendar
One of the most quintessential elements of an Australian Christmas is a chocolate advent calendar. It’s essentially a countdown to Christmas day, with each window of the calendar hiding a small piece of chocolate inside.
The chocolate calendar is especially popular with children, which is why you’ll find them usually decorated with cartoon characters and other kid-friendly themes. However, everyone deserves a sweet treat, especially on Christmas. That’s why there are also Advent calendars designed for adults, with unique designs and flavours. Some even forgo the chocolate altogether and instead feature small samples of whisky, gin, or tea.
A Hearty Christmas Lunch
In other countries, a Christmas meal means a sumptuous dinner. In Australia, a Christmas meal means a hearty lunch. Of course, Christmas celebrations don’t stop at lunch, but it is traditionally the most significant meal of the day. There are also a lot of games and fun activities involved, such as a friendly match of cricket or a bit of splashing in the pool. This is particularly true if you’re celebrating with children.
Some of the must-have dishes include turkey, potatoes and gravy, savoury and sweet tarts, and mince pies. Pavlova is one of the most popular desserts in an Australian Christmas lunch, along with plum pudding. In some cases, a silver coin is embedded into the pudding and whoever finds the coin is said to have good luck.
Fresh fruit like kiwis and berries are also served as dessert. To complete the tradition, Christmas crackers or bon bons are a must (as are the bad jokes found inside). Paper crowns are also an essential part of the festive attire.
Barbecues on Boxing Day
Australia’s British heritage means that there are plenty of shared traditions between the two nations. Aside from the British dishes for lunch, Australians also have Boxing Day. The day after Christmas entails yet another round of celebrations, although the atmosphere is considerably more relaxed.
Most of the time, people celebrate Boxing Day with their closest friends (because Christmas Day is for the family). Beer and barbecue are definitely involved, along with viewings of cricket games or the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. If there are no sports enthusiasts present, it’s also part of the tradition to simply ignore the games completely.
Another part of Boxing Day in Australia are the Boxing Day sales. Because of the discounts, there are many who choose to do some more shopping for gifts before the year ends. Still, there are some enjoy to just staying in relaxing with their loved ones.
Many Australians look forward to Christmas. After a whole year of jam-packed schedules and hard work, it’s the perfect time to take a break and fully enjoy the company of loved ones.
How about you? What are you looking forward to this Christmas? What are the traditions you love to partake in with your friends and family?
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