Have you ever wondered what Christmas is like in Australia? The answer is it’s probably pretty much like Christmas anywhere, except there’s no snow here, and it’s too hot for Christmas jumpers, ugly or otherwise.
Australia is a large and diverse nation, so Christmas celebrations vary, but here’s a little look into how I celebrate Christmas.
Christmas really starts for me on Christmas Eve, with our family tradition of watching ‘Carols by Candlelight’, which is what I think of as an Australian institution. It’s a televised Christmas concert where various Australian artists perform carols by, you guessed it, candlelight. In my house, we eat dinner, and then sit down and watch the carols by the light of our Christmas tree, and usually with the air conditioning on full blast. Check out Kate’s post all about the Carols here.
By this time, the presents are under the tree, wrapped and ready for the next day, and Christmas Eve night is all about relaxing and spending time together. Watching the carols is the sort of tradition that still brings back the same feelings of bubbly excitement in me that I used to get when I would watch it as a child, waiting for Santa to arrive. By the time the carols finish, we do any last minute preparations, and pack off to bed.
Christmas Day starts with a bit of a sleep in, now that I’m an adult. It, of course, used to begin as early as possible – because I could never stay asleep for the excitement. Once the whole house is awake, we open presents together by the tree. We make sure that the lights on the Christmas tree are on, and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas album is playing in the background, and then we get to opening.
It’s Christmas-breakfast time now, which is a new-ish tradition in our house. Growing up, we used to each grab something to eat on the go, but now I like to make something special for breakfast, and we all eat together at the Christmas table.
By this time, it’s late morning, so we all get ready for the day and then start to get Christmas lunch ready. This is when I duck out to my local cafe for my Christmas-day-coffee. That’s right – in Melbourne at least, some cafe’s open on Christmas day – which I find amazing – and my local cafe is one of them. They only open for takeaway’s, but it’s enough for me to get my coffee fix for the day.
After this, I pop back home and help with getting the veggies ready, or cutting up the bread, or setting the table. I’m not a huge cook, so I take care of the barely-cooking tasks.
Now we’re getting onto early afternoon, and we sit down to our Christmas lunch. The food is probably the biggest part of an Australian Christmas – with the food on Christmas table’s across the country varying from seafood, to roasts, to cold meats and salads. For our lunch, Mum makes a roast with veggies and bread, and salad. Lunch-dessert is Mum’s famous ice-cream pudding, which is my favourite Christmas food. It’s layered ice-cream moulded into the shape of a plum pudding, flavoured with pistacchios and berries, and it’s perfect for a hot day.
After lunch, we usually sit down and either watch a film together, or take a food-induced nap on the couch. After this, we usually use the afternoon to take our dog out for a run at the park. It’s nice to get out in the fresh air and go for a bit of a walk after eating all that food! This year, we’re even thinking of taking Cody down to the dog beach in the afternoon, which is a pretty typical Aussie way to spend Christmas day.
Once dinner rolls around, if we’re hungry at all, we have some cold meat and salad, and then we hang around the house together for the rest of the night. We might watch a Christmas movie together, or play a board game, or make plans for Boxing Day.
That’s our Christmas Day here in Melbourne, Australia. I’m sure it’s not so different to how you spend Christmas, aside from a few little Aussie touches. Make sure to let me know in the comments how you celebrate Christmas, I’d love to know!