I have received several inquires from people around the world as to how Australians celebrate Christmas, because of this I have created these pages with my thoughts and comments of Christmas Down Under, I do hope that you will enjoy them.
For the majority of Australians, Christmas Down Under has all the glitter, tinsel and razzmatazz of a Christmas in New York, London, Paris or Vancouver. The major difference is weather, Christmas Down Under is never white. We have during past Christmas' experienced all the seasonal variations of a Summer Down Under, electrical storms, floods, hailstorms, cyclones and bushfires; but 80% of the time we are blessed with blue skies and depending on our Australian location, temperatures ranging from 30-40 degrees Celsius on the mainland, Tasmania is always slightly cooler.
Christmas is extra special to the majority of Australians as it is our Summer Holiday season, students have finished their school year, schools close for about six weeks and businesses close for Christmas Day and the following day called Boxing Day. Christmas falls just four days after the longest day of the year. Our neighbours, the New Zealanders are actually the first ones to really celebrate the joyous day of Christmas. New Zealand is the first country immediately west of the international date line.
Christmas is a great time for children who prepare for it for a long time. They write to Santa Claus with their "wish list" of presents they want. Many of the larger department stores have a person dressed up as Santa, the children sit on his knee and give their "wish list" in person. It is a fun season with plenty of good will. All the stores play carols through their public address systems and commercialism is rife. Many Australians like to sing Carols at Christmas, each city and major town has a Carols by Candlelight ceremony, due to suitable weather these are held outdoors and are very well attended.
Christmas stockings are being hung in homes, cards galore are being written and posted. Everyone awaits the anticipation is high! Santa visits each house on Christmas Eve, traditionally climbs down the chimney and deposits the presents under the Christmas tree. It is becoming more and more difficult for Santa as less and less houses have chimneys.
There has been suggestions that "Swag Man" take over Santa's franchise Down Under!!! There is a lot of concern about Santa Claus perhaps suffering heat stroke whilst Down Under. "Swag Man" wears a brown Akubra, a blue singlet and long baggy shorts. He spends all winter under Uluru with his merry dingos and then at Christmas time, he gets in his huge four-wheel drive and sets off through the red dust to deliver his presents.
Due to weather, traditional Christmas dinners have been replaced in many cases with family gatherings in the back yards, picnics in the parks, gardens and on the beach. For many, it is the occasion to be with friends and relatives, to share love and friendship and not to forget, the exchange of gifts in the traditional manner. For many, it is of course a time to enjoy and consume massive quantities of food. A typical Christmas menu could include seafood, glazed ham, cold chicken, duck or turkey, cold deli meats, pasta, salads galore, desserts of all types, fruit salad, pavlovas, ice-cream plus Christmas edibles of all varieties such as mince pies, fruit cake, shortbread, chocolates etc.
Because Australia is very multicultural many families celebrate Christmas according to their heritage so there is a great variety of celebrations. I hope that the information you have just read has helped to inform you of Christmas in Australia. Please take a visit to my other Christmas pages and sign the guestbook before you leave.
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