Australians reside on the world’s largest island but did you know the land down under also happens to be the world’s smallest continent? Many of the immigrants here came from Ireland and England, bringing their Christmas traditions with them.
The best part about celebrating Christmas in Australia is that all the festivities unfold right in the middle of summer! So many Christmas traditions in Australia revolve around activities on the beach.
While people in other parts of the world are used to frosty noses and snowflakes during the festive season, Christmas holidays in Australia are truly unique in a number ways and downright beautiful as well as memorable.
6 Most Beautiful Christmas Traditions in Australia
If you’ve never had a chance to spend Christmas in Australia, then take a read because things are clearly done differently here!
With no snow or quirky take on the holiday season, chances are you’ll find good ol’ Santa surfing with young ones rather than a group of carollers scouting then neighbourhood.
Santa is a surfer, dude!
While traditional Santa's in the US, UK or EU wear bright red fleece suits that are lined with white fur, along with large black boots to keep the snow at bay, Christmas in Australia means that you’re likely to see a boardshorts-clad Santa mastering his surfboard skills!
Even though it’s not an official tradition, chances are you’ll find Santa catching some waves early in the morning on Christmas day.
Carols by Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight has been among the most spectacular and memorable Christmas traditions in Australia since 1938. Norman Banks, the gentleman responsible for coming up with this tradition, once passed by a window which remained lit only by candlelight.
He gazed upon a senior through the window who was by herself and singing along to “Away in a Manger” on the radio. This got him wondering how many folks were spending the holiday season alone and so in the year 1938, public sing-alongs of Christmas carols at midnight with all the participants holding a single candle became the norm.
Santa’s entrance in Australia
Children in Australia love Santa Claus just as any other part of the world. However, being the middle of summer, it’s not at all unusual to see Santa dressed in a generally cooler and lighter version of the signature red and white suit. In fact, many prefer wearing shorts!
Although one very well-known Australian song goes on to say that Santa uses six large kangaroos (white boomers) instead of reindeer's to pull his sleigh, he usually prefers to use reindeer's in this part of the world too.
While the typical fare follows when it comes to kids getting ready for Santa – such as hanging up stockings by the fireplace mantle, decorating the Christmas tree with baubles and writing letters to Mr. Clause – Christmas in Australia means it is customary to leave the big guy a cold beer and carrots for those lovely reindeer.
Christmas meals to love and cherish
Given Australia’s British heritage, you are likely to find a number of familiar dishes on holiday tables. While turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, tarts, gravy, mince pies and rum balls are on the menu, these dishes tend to stand out each year:
- Christmas Damper – A kind of soda bread which has been savoured since the colonial times. Holiday lovers bake it into a shape of a star and enjoy it with honey or jam
- Plum Pudding – Well, nothing new here although a silver coin is left in the pudding for someone to find as they help themselves to a serving or two!
- Pavlova Cake – A lovely meringue cake topped with season fruit and enjoyed as a dessert.
You can read more about it in our earlier article: Christmas Food in Australia.
Bust a move – on the street, that is
Since December is summer in Australia, street parties are all the rage. Many a times on Christmas Eve, impromptu street parties are held and you’ll see the streets chock full of families and kids dancing to their favourite Christmas numbers.
Another one of the Christmas traditions in Australia that we absolutely love is the fact that Aussies are mostly Christmas lunch people!
Christmas in Australia is typically an all-day affair so it’s common to have not only lunch but also breakfast and dinner as well, while both kids and adults enjoy DIY Christmas games like Christmas tree jenga or chocolate and spoon race. The adults mostly, however, prefer a splash in the backyard pool or a spot of cricket.