12 Fun Facts About Christmas in Australia You Probably Didn’t Know
Christmas in Australia is celebrated a bit differently than in other parts of the world. With summer heatwaves and sunny beach weather, many classic Christmas traditions get an Aussie twist.
Here are 12 fun facts that highlight what makes celebrating Christmas in Australia so unique.
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When Does the Holiday Season Start?
In Australia, Christmas decorations and music start popping up in October since there are no fall or Thanksgiving holiday lead-ins like in the US.
By late October, you’ll hear Christmas carols in shops and see decorative lights being strung up. This early start sometimes leads to Christmas fatigue by the time the actual holiday rolls around!
What About the School Holidays?
Christmas coincides with the longest school break in Australia – the summer school holidays. Students get around 6 weeks off, starting the week before Christmas.
For university students, it marks the start of a 3 month summer break. This makes Christmas the most popular time for family beach holidays and trips.
Do Businesses Close for Christmas?
Many companies close up shop for an extended Christmas and New Year break. Staff often have to use vacation days for this period unless they opt to work.
Booking accommodation can be tricky as minimum stays are imposed and rates shoot up over Christmas.
Christmas Lights Displays
Elaborate Christmas lights displays on houses are a big deal. Neighborhoods often band together to string lights across streets. Local paper and radio stations run competitions to find the best lights display. People flock from all over to see the spectacular light shows, causing traffic jams.
What Happens on Christmas Eve?
In contrast to Europe, Christmas Eve isn’t widely celebrated in Australia. Most of the festivities happen on Christmas Day instead.
Some Europeans still observe their traditional Christmas Eve customs. Attending the midnight mass church service is also popular for the religious.
Starting the Day Early
Christmas is all about the kids. Little ones often wake up their parents at the crack of dawn, sometimes as early as 5am!
Presents get opened first thing in the morning around the Christmas tree. After present opening, families enjoy breakfast before gathering again for a big Christmas lunch.
The Christmas Feast
There aren’t any set traditional dishes for Christmas lunch in Australia. Some go for a classic roast turkey or glazed ham served with hot sides.
But since it’s summer, lighter cold fare like seafood, cold meats, and salads are also common. Dessert is a must – pavlova is a popular Aussie classic.
It’s All About the Seafood
Eating fresh seafood like prawns, oysters, and lobster is a major part of an Aussie Christmas. Fish markets have extended hours right up to Christmas Eve to cater to the seafood demand.
The famous Sydney Fish Market even stays open for 36 hours straight leading up to Christmas!
In addition to pavlova with fruits like kiwifruit and strawberries, ice cream and fresh summer berries and fruits are popular Christmas desserts that are light and cooling choices for the hot weather.
Some still serve up traditional Christmas pudding and mince pies too.
Heading to the Beach
Many Australian families spend Christmas Day at the beach rather than being cooped up indoors. Lifeguards are still on duty at beaches on Christmas Day. Backyard pools also get a good workout for family swims and Santa might make an appearance in his swim shorts too!
Boxing Day Sales
December 26 is a public holiday known as Boxing Day in Australia, same as in the UK. Huge post-Christmas sales kick off, with stores opening their doors to sell off inventory.
More retailers now participate in the Boxing Day sales bonanza – it’s the biggest sale period of the year.
Time for Cricket
Sports like cricket are a major part of Aussie Christmas traditions. Boxing Day hosts the start of the iconic cricket test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Families tune in to watch the game on TV while enjoying leftovers from Christmas lunch.
So there you have it, a look at some of the most fascinating ways that Christmas is celebrated differently down under in Australia! The sunny weather and relaxed vibe put a unique Aussie twist on many classic holiday traditions.
People also ask:
What is an interesting fact about Christmas in Australia?
One interesting fact is that the Christmas decorations and music start playing in shops very early - from late October already! This is because there are no fall or Thanksgiving holidays leading up to it like in the US.
What is different about Christmas in Australia?
Some key differences are the hot summer weather, celebrating with cold seafood meals rather than heavy roasts, and holidays that coincide with the longest school break and extended business closures over the Christmas/New Year period.
What is Santa called in Australia?
Australians celebrate with beach trips, lavish Christmas lights displays, feasting on seafood and cold meals, enjoying backyard pools, watching the Boxing Day cricket tests, and making the most of the lengthy school holidays over Christmas.