Growing up in Australia is awesome. The outdoor lifestyle, the sunny positivity that prevails amongst easy going Aussies, Tim Tams. But every young child in Australia reaches a stage where it starts to slowly dawn on them that, when it comes to Christmas in Australia, something just isn’t right.
We sit under the stars at Carols by Candlelight wearing shorts and a t-shirt, singing about “dashing through the snow.” No one really knows exactly what eggnog is. The butcher shop has sprayed fake snow on the windows to make it look “festive.” Dreaming of a white Christmas, will always be just that. A dream (shattered).
Every Australian’s first Christmas in Europe or the USA is a revelation. This is what Christmas is all about! That first “proper” Christmas is just like Christmas in the movies. And you finally get it.
All the same, there are so many things I love about an Australian Christmas, ten of which I have listed below.
1. Christmas Parties
Warm evenings. Rooftop. Poolside. Beachside. Sun tans. Slinky party dresses. Need I say more?
2. santa in board shorts
Whether its a Christmas card with a picture of Santa surfing, or revellers dressed as Santa fresh from a late night Christmas party, it’s not unusual to see Santa wearing board shorts.
3. Trip to the Fishmonger
Every year, there is the traditional trip to the fishmonger at the market to buy the freshest, juiciest prawns for the Christmas Day feast. The visit on 24th December takes on new levels of joy.
4. LEAVING A BEER FOR SANTA
On Christmas Eve, Australians tend to leave Santa a beer. In Melbourne, it’s usually a VB. Considering that Australia is one of the first countries where he starts delivering (what with the time difference and all), Santa is off his nut by the time he hits Europe thanks to the generosity of Australian families.
5. Christmas Day outfits
There’s no rugging up on Christmas Day here. Only the brightest, breeziest, floatiest of sun dresses will do.
6. The Christmas Feast
While a lot of families still go the traditional turkey, many more favour more summery-fare. There’s a lot of seafood platters, salads, mangoes, watermelon and maybe a pavlova with passion fruit on top. Delish.
7. The beach
Occasionally there are those Christmas days that fall in the middle of a heat wave. The only thing for it, if you don’t have a pool, is to hit the beach for a refreshing swim (no earlier than 30 minutes after the Christmas feast).
8. Back yard cricket/ beach cricket
No Christmas Day is complete without a post-lunch game of backyard or beach cricket. And for those with a pool, it’s a highly competitive game of Marco Polo.
9. Christmas presents
Someone always gets a back yard cricket set, giant water pistols or pool toys, all of which are then deployed on Christmas day by everyone in the whole family. It’s always fun and games until someone pops the sunberg (a floating pool beanbag for those not in the know).
10. Boxing Day
I don’t like cricket at all, but there’s something comforting about the Boxing Day cricket always being on the tele the day after Christmas, reminding me of hours of watching it as a kid, trying to understand the appeal of the sport. I still don’t get it.