Unlike other countries, Christmas is celebrated rather differently in Australia. For one, it comes smack in the middle of summer, although a number of traditions in the Northern Hemisphere continue to reflect the winter celebratory schedule.
But what else makes Christmas unique in the land down under? Here are 10 facts about Christmas:
Fun facts about Christmas you may or may not know
1. Christmas comes early
Christmas comes rather early in Australia compared to the rest of the world. In most cases, decorations start going up around late-October, because there are no major events or holidays here leading up to Christmas – such as Thanksgiving in the US, for example.
This might result in ‘Christmas burnout’ for some people as they must repeatedly listen to the same Christmas tunes and carols in shopping malls!
2. School holidays in summer
Among the many interesting facts about Christmas in Australia is that Christmas typically occurs around the same time as the longest set of school holidays: the summer school holidays.
While the exact dates differ in regions around the country, schools have around 6 weeks of holidays, which start approximately a week before Christmas.
3. Extended business holidays
More fun facts about Christmas here: it’s a popular time for most businesses to shut down for up to a month. Businesses in Australia typically shut down between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s also during this time that holiday lettings, inns and hotels increase their rates as they get visitors from all over the world, and even locals who enjoy travelling to make the most of the holiday season.
4. Let there be light(s)
Christmas lights in Australia are kind of a big deal when it comes to interesting facts about Christmas in Australia.
Quite often, the stringing of Christmas lights turns into a major neighbourhood affair, where local newspapers and radio stations have a competition for the best Christmas light display. Traffic jams around this time are a common sight as people from all over the city flock in to check out the lights.
5. Christmas Eve activities
Oddly, not a whole lot happens on Christmas Eve in Australia because the main celebration is reserved only for Christmas Day.
However, it’s not unheard of to see friends or families getting together for a quiet round of drinks. In fact, those of European descent still celebrate Christmas Eve.
Church-going families attend a Midnight Mass, although service on Christmas morning is equally popular.
6. Early celebration
For the majority of families with young ones, Christmas celebrations start quite early, which are one of the best known fun facts about Christmas here. It’s not uncommon to see kids anxiously waking up their parents at around 5am.
Christmas day kicks off with giving away presents in the living room. Everyone will enjoy a good breakfast although the majority of the celebration is reserved for lunch or dinner.
7. Traditional dishes on Christmas Day
For the most part, the main Christmas meal on the big day happens in the early afternoon hours, although some families do prefer to get everyone together in the evening. However, there’s no traditional dish as such, other than the typical turkey or hot roasted meat with roasted vegetables on the side.
With that said, since Christmas is in summer, many families enjoy cold Christmas meals like cold roasted chicken, seafood and cold ham.
8. Seafood haven
Seafood is extremely popular at Christmas, and Aussies love having prawns by the dozens. The last days leading up to Christmas, you’ll find lots of seafood stores and places open for longer hours. In Sydney, in fact, the famous Sydney Fish Market remains open for 36 hours straight – right up until Christmas Eve on December 23.
9. Aussies love their dessert
More interesting facts about Christmas in Australia: Christmas pudding or mince pies are a common sight, with Pavlova being a local favourite – a dessert allegedly invented by Aussies and Kiwis.
Other popular Christmas desserts include trays of summer fruit like strawberries, cherries, watermelon and pineapple, as well as a wide assortment of ice cream.
10. A hot and sunny holiday season
Heading to the beach on Christmas Day is something everyone loves doing. You’ll even see the majority of folks wearing their swimsuits in a red and white colour combo. You might see Santa taking a dip every now and then too!