Christmas in Australia

Christmas in Australia is in the middle of the summer.

Australian Christmas traditions are very different from those in the Northern Hemisphere, because in Australia, Christmas is celebrated in the middle of summer.

This means Australians often celebrate Christmas on the beach, and the traditional old turkey and other hot meals have been replaced by Australian Christmas food such as cold snacks and beer. Santa does visit, but too hurried to the beach, puts the presents under Christmas tree. Here are a few Australian Christmas traditions, Australian Christmas songs, as well as things to do on the Boxing Day in Australia, like Boxing Day Test Match, beach cricket, and backyard cricket rules.

Tasmania, Penguin Town, Giant Penguin Dressed as Santa Claus, Australia
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Christmas in Australia - Carols by Candlelight Melbourne
The 24th of December is Christmas Eve. While Christmas Eve is the most important day of the Christmas celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere, Australians don’t celebrate Christmas Eve at all. People in the big cities are lucky because on the Christmas Eve they put on a tradition called Carols by Candlelight which started in Melbourne in 1937.

It is a lovely Australian Christmas traditions where people gather in one of the city’s central parks to sing and listen to Australian Christmas songs by candlelight. There is usually a temporary stage with a few people singing, and the rest will sing with them. It's not necessary to sing through, many people just come here to buy food and drinks and listen.

Christmas Decoration of Melbourne Suburban House at Twilight, Altona Suburb, Australia
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Christmas in Australia - Australian Christmas Songs
Australians may like to sing “I am dreaming of the White Christmas” but this doesn’t mean that they all have seen snow ever in their lives. Australian Christmas songs are “Six White Boomers”, “Santa’s Moving to the South Pole” and “Let Us Barbeque”. We also have our own version of Jingle Bells, here it is:

Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot
Kelpie by my side
Singing Christmas songs
It's summer time and I am in
My singlet, shorts & thongs


Engine's getting hot
Dodge the kangaroos
Swaggy climbs aboard
He is welcome too
All the family is there
Sitting by the pool
Christmas day, the Aussie way
By the barbecue!


Come the afternoon
Grandpa has a doze
The kids and uncle Bruce
Are swimming in their clothes
The time comes round to go
We take a family snap
Then pack the car and all shoot through
Before the washing up


Bondi Beach, Sydney, Nsw, Australia
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Christmas on the Beach and Australian Christmas Food
The most important day of Australian Christmas traditions is the Christmas Day (25. December). Often it starts with packing the picnic bags and eskies in the morning, to celebrate Christmas on the beach. It is a picnic lunch that starts early and doesn't often finish before the sun sets so a fair bit of food and beer is consumed.

Australians used to eat the traditional British Christmas meal, Christmas turkey, but in later years we’ve developed our own Australian Christmas food, much more suitable for the hot weather. It consists of all possible cold snacks whether it is seafood, meat, chicken or a combination of them, and potato salad, pasta salad, or just green salad, and bread. Not everyone goes to the beach, many families have Christmas lunches in their back yards too, but it's always a lunch, not a dinner.

Layabouts on Bondi Beach Celebrate Christmas, Sydney Style
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Christmas on the Beach - Bondi Beach Australia
But travellers tend to celebrate Christmas on the beach and the most popular beach to celebrate Christmas in Australia is Sydney’s Bondi Beach Australia – it gets crowded with backpackers and Christmas celebrations which last the whole day. How do we know that they are travellers?

Australians don’t bake themselves in the sun anymore, since they’ve become much more aware of the risks of skin cancer than they were 20 years ago. There is a large hole in the ozone layer above Australia and New Zealand, which is why the sun here is so dangerous. When you see a beach full of sunbakers like on the photo here, it is either a very old photo, or the beach is mainly full of tourists.

Yacht Race, Sydney Harbor, Australia
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Boxing Day Australia, and Boxing Day Test Match
The day after the Christmas Day is Boxing Day. Lots of Australians laze this day away in front of TV screens, watching The Boxing Day Test Match (Cricket), and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which starts in Sydney the 26th of December and finishes in Tasmania’s capital Hobart five days later.

Shell Shield Cricket Match Australia
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Beach Cricket, and Backyard Cricket Rules
But there are also many Australians who think that cricket is boring to watch and much more fun to play. Cricket can truly be a long game to watch, so Australians decided to make a new game that became to belong to Australian Christmas traditions - Backyard Cricket, by adding a few Backyard Cricket Rules: (i) sporty clothing is used instead of white suites – this enables the players to move. (ii) a tennis ball is used instead of the hard cricket ball – this makes it safe to play without having to wear helmets and pillows tied to each leg.

Boys Playing Cricket in Front of Mural Wall on the Elliston Community Hall., Elliston, Australia
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(iii) there are no eating breaks in the Backyard Cricket – if there are any breaks at all, they may be toilet breaks or getting more grog but the barbeque is happening in the end of the game. (iv) in the hot weather it is important to maintain the energy levels so the backyard cricket’s most important component – the esky – is strategically placed between the bowlers and the batsmen. It is not unusual amongst Australians to spend the Boxing Day playing Backyard Cricket. Some of them play Backyard Cricket in their backyards, others go and spend another day playing Beach Cricket on the beach. And what a great way it is to end the Christmas in Australia.

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