Saturday, 17 December 2011

An Aussie Christmas

As many (probably four) of my readers are from overseas, I thought it would be nice to give you a glimpse into what the Australian Christmas entails. I imagine it would be rather different than the cold Christmases of the northern hemisphere. While you're huddling around the open fire, we are searching for ice cubes for our drinks that haven't evaporated yet.

Here are a few things that I think would be different:

Carols by Candlelight

As Christmas in Australia is usually characterised by sweltering heat what better way to celebrate the occasion by gathering in a park after dark and singing along to Christmas carols? This happens all over the country from small local productions to massive crowds like the photo above. Popular with families and young children the night includes guest singers and fireworks at the end. I imagine if this was done in the northern hemisphere you would all freeze your little butts off!

Cold Meats and Pavlova

Another weather orientated tradition. Because it's so freaken hot outside there no chance that we'll be cooking a hot roast for Christmas lunch/dinner. Instead we have cold meats like ham and chicken and seafood, accompanied by salads and bread rolls. Best of all, dessert is pavlova. A fluffy meringue full of sugary goodness with fruits and cream. Doesn't matter how much food you've eaten, there's always room for pav!

Christmas Crackers

Simple tradition, but one of my favourites. When everyone sits down to Christmas lunch or dinner, they take a Christmas cracker (or bon-bon) and pull it apart. The one who gets the large end gets the prize. Usually some useless figurine, a lame joke and a paper king's hat. It is very normal to see everyone having lunch all wearing these paper hats. Maybe not the dog though (just an excuse to post a cute puppy photo).

Boxing Day Cricket

After an exhausting day of dividing yourself between multiple family events on Christmas Day, there's nothing better than spending Boxing Day (26th December) getting up late, eating left over Christmas food, putting your feet up and watching the Boxing Day test match. Doesn't matter if you like cricket or not, this is what you do.

I'd be interested to hear what others do over the holiday season . . . . 


  1. Kate you forgot the most important Boxing Day tradition: Watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race!

  2. You are right Guy! Although I literally only watch the beginning with the infinite boats in the harbour. The rest is a little tedious . . .

  3. I always love to learn about traditions from other countries! Fireworks on Christmas would be so cool!

    We have a lot of family traditions. We usually start the day by having a big family breakfast. Sausage gravy and biscuits, french toast, pancakes, etc. Then we open presents. Even though the youngest of my parent's children is 21, they still address the presents and write "from Santa." Opening presents takes forever because we open the presents one at a time. This wasn't so time consuming when we were kids, but now there are me and my three siblings, four significant others, a nephew, and a niece to rotate around the circle. Afterwards the cooking starts. The last few years we have had lasagna for Christmas dinner. Later in the afternoon/evening, we go to see a movie as a family.

  4. We celebrate a semi-Italian Christmas eve with my side of the family. When the cousins were all kids we gathered at my grandparents home for hours of fish (7 fishes is Italian tradition), pasta and antipasto(Italian meets and cheeses all chopped up with olives and hot peppers) We waited so (im)patiently to open gifts and there were tons! Nowadays, just the "kids" get, but we always manage to sneak in a "couple gift" for the cousins... sometimes a bottle of wine or lottery tickets, nothing HUge, just thoughtful. After midnight, Chris and I exchange. SOmetimes just the stockings, other times just the gifts. This year we did the gifts and cards and left our stockings and June and Haze's gifts and stockings 'til Christmas morning. Every year that changes too... sometimes we go to my inlaws, others I cook...This year I made lasagna and brought it to my inlaws.
    I LOVE fireworks and usually see them on Independence day and New Year's only.... on Christmas, that would be SPECTACULAR!!

    Someday, my dream is to be in the bahamas for Junkanoo on Boxing Day and New Years.....

    Merry Christmas!!

  5. As one of your American readers, I'm proud to say I know what Pavlova is! I saw Curtis Stone make it on Take Home Chef several years ago:)

    My family is actually from a few different parts of Latin America including Mexico. So when my grandma was alive, we always made Tamales this time of year. They are so much work that they were usually reserved for Christmas. Now that my grandma has passed, I try to make tamales anytime I'm with my mom, my aunts, and my sister-in-law around the holidays. We all sit around the table like a bunch of old hens gabbing and rolling tamales. And then when they're done my dad tastes them and always says they're good but they're not the same as my Grandma's. Nothing is as good as she made it.

    As for gifts, I love giving Christmas gifts so I always break all the rules and buy for anyone and everyone I want to. My family and my husband's family both open gifts on Christmas Eve. And now that I have little munchkins of my own, Santa always pays us a visit and fills up their stockings so they can tear into them the moment the wake up Christmas morning. Sharing in their excitement is the best part of Christmas for me!

  6. Very impressed that you know of pavlova Amy! Although I did have to google 'tamales'. :/

    Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!