Christmas is often described as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Many people look forward to exchanging gifts, spending time with family, giving back to charities, making cookies, and spreading holiday cheer during the Christmas season. Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday find enjoyment in the festivities of the season. While curling up by the fireplace with hot chocolate and watching the snow fall outside during the holiday season certainly has its charm, have you ever wished you could celebrate Christmas—or any of the winter holidays for that matter—during the summer, when it’s nice and warm and you don’t have to worry about shoveling the snow or cleaning out the chimney?
As it turns out, you can! Just take a trip to Australia!
Australia is located in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, so summer in Australia takes place between late November/early December and February. Thus, Christmas in Australia falls right in the middle of the summer. Christmas in Australia shares many similarities with Christmas in the United States. For example, people hang wreaths on the front doors and in their houses, decorate Christmas trees, go Christmas caroling, and put up Christmas lights outside their houses. Some neighborhoods even have informal Christmas light competitions to see who has the best display. One street in Sydney raises over AU$35,000 for a charity each year from its coordinated Christmas light display.
There are also some Christmas traditions that are unique to Australia. For example, Australians decorate their houses with bunches of “Christmas bush,” a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream-colored flowers. In the summer, during which Australian Christmas takes place, these cream-colored flowers turn a deep, shiny red color, making them perfect for the holiday festivities.
One of the most famous Australian Christmas traditions is called Carols by Candlelight.
Carols by Candlelight are caroling services that take place in state capitals featuring famous Australian singers. These caroling services are broadcast on national television. Australians sing many of the same carols that we sing in the US, though some of the words (for example, snow) are changed around. Instead of reindeer, Santa in Australia has kangaroos as his helpers, and he sheds some of his winter attire for a t-shirt and shorts. Australians also have some of their own Christmas carols, including the famous Six White Boomers.
Other festivities include Christmas pageants, parades, and fireworks shows in local parks. Families generally enjoy a cold mid-day Christmas dinner, which might consist of an outdoor barbecue (known in Australia as a “barbie”) with seafood (most typically prawns and lobsters) and traditional English food. For this reason, you’ll often find the fish markets crowded on Christmas Eve, as people are buying fresh seafood for Christmas dinner. During Christmas meals, people might also find Christmas crackers next to their plates. Christmas crackers are short cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful giftwrapping paper.When you pull the cracker apart, it makes a pop and out comes a colorful party hat, a toy, a small gift, or a festive joke—similar to what one might find in a Christmas stocking.
The fun doesn’t end on Christmas Day. On December 26, Australians celebrate Boxing Day. Also celebrated in other Commonwealth countries, including the UK, South Africa, and New Zealand, alms boxes are kept open in churches to collect items to be donated to the needy. In Australia, people generally leave a tip for their grocers, postal workers, delivery people, and other service people as an offering of gratitude for their hard work throughout the year. While Christmas Day is generally spent with family, many Australians spend Boxing Day with their friends by having barbies on the beach. There is also a famous annual Yacht race that takes place from Sydney to Hobart on Boxing Day.
New Year’s Eve in Australia consists of dinners, dances, and fun parties to ring in the New Year. On January 6 (Twelfth Night), Australians have one last party to bring an end to the Christmas season.
Have you ever been to Australia? Or have you always wanted to visit? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’ll want to join Konversai—a knowledge-sharing platform for one-on-one live video conversations on any topic imaginable. If you’re planning a trip, you can use Konversai to connect either with a native or with someone who knows the place well and can share their experience with you. Konversai encourages users to be both providers and seekers of knowledge, as the platform was built on the premise that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have valuable knowledge and experiences that can be of benefit to someone else somewhere else in the world. Knowledge providers also have the option of charging for their time.
So start your next holiday or trip right by getting the inside scoop from someone who’s been there. Join Konversai today.
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones from all of us at Konversai!