Australian Christmas celebrated the Aussie way
Well first of all, as the Aussies tend to shorten every longer word they can, it’s not Christmas, but rather Chrissy!
Coming from SA we are used to the warmer kind of festive season, but there are still some major differences in the way Aussies celebrate Christmas.
Shrimp on the barbie
While I was living in Europe I always heard people crack jokes about ‘throwing a shrimp on the barbie’ when meeting an Australian. Well this is pretty far from the truth on any given day of the year when beef and lamb are usually on offer at most bbq’s I’ve been to.
BUT prawns are actually a very popular dish to be served on Christmas or boxing day! The traditional turkey and ham are also firm favourites but I have noticed seafood to be a lighter option for hot summer Christmas days.
On Christmas eve, fish markets are bustling with shoppers buying their fresh seafood for Christmas day.
Light deserts are opted for
As for desserts, Christmas cakes and puddings are available to buy but I don’t think they are as popular as they are in Europe given how ‘heavy’ they are.
Aussies tend to opt more for the lighter option of the delicious pavlova…topped with fresh mango, strawberries and whipped cream or ice cream! Yummy!
Some can’t be bothered
A large portion of Aussies simply can’t be bothered with the whole preparation and clean-up of a traditional Chrissy meal and simply book in for a roast Christmas lunch at their local RSL club instead.
These meals are great value for money and the atmosphere is usually pretty social and festive.
Santa’s visits at the mall
Apart from food, the number one activity most Aussie families look forward to leading up to Christmas, is to have their family Santa photo taken.
This tradition involves having either just the kids, or the whole family sit alongside Santa in a shopping centre and LOOK HAPPY!
Well I’ve seen many howling babies and toddler not wanting to go near the big man in red, and some pretty funny failed attempts to get the perfect photo!!
Surfer Santa loves it at the beach
Another, and I think nicer, option if you live close to the beach as we do, is to have the family photo taken with Santa on the beach.
Our local surf club supplies a big red sleigh prop and families queue up to have a snap with Santa in his boardshorts!
Australian Christmas carols
In each state capital city on Christmas eve, there is a large Carols by Candlelight service with famous singers performing which are televised live.
Many towns and cities and schools also hold their own Carol services with choirs and bands performing traditional and local Christmas songs.
Since it’s Summer in Aus, some songs about snow and Winter are changed to special Australian words!
An original Aussie Carol
‘6 White Boomers’ is about Santa giving his reindeer a rest in Australia and using 6 white kangaroos to pull his sleigh instead!
When do you receive your presents?
I recently learnt from my Afrikaans born husband that not all families in SA open their Christmas pressies on Christmas morning as my family did.
He says his family gathered together on Christmas eve and gifts were handed out to all the cousins to be opened then.
On Christmas day there is more focus on the religious aspect of the day. Later, the family get together for a traditional Christmas feast!
Here in Aus, children leave out carrots for the reindeer and a beer or milk and cookies for dear old Santa on an Australian Christmas eve and wake up to the sheer excitement of a pile of gifts under the previously bare Christmas tree!
Once the pressies have been opened, possibly a church service attended, and a nice lunch enjoyed by the family, then it’s off to the beach we go……and a cold ‘leftovers’ dinner enjoyed thereafter.
An exciting Boxing day follows
Boxing day is usually spent visiting friends or travelling to holiday destinations, bbq’s on the beach, watching the Boxing Day cricket test match or watching the famous start of the world famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race!
Merry Australian Christmas everybody.
You can learn more about Australia food here.