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Expat Exchange - Christmas in Australia
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Streets beach in Southbank Brisbane, Australia


Christmas in Australia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: Explore the festive traditions of Christmas and New Year in Australia, where the celebrations are marked by special foods, church ceremonies, the exchange of gifts, and an array of cultural customs.

The holiday season in Australia offers a unique experience, especially for expats and digital nomads who are used to colder climates and traditional winter festivities. With summer in full swing down under, Christmas and New Year's celebrations take on a sunny and laid-back character that's distinctly Australian. For those spending their first holiday season in this vibrant country, expect a delightful mix of familiar traditions with a local twist.

Christmas in Australia

Christmas in Australia is a time of community, family, and outdoor activities. As December 25th approaches, Australians gear up for a festive season that's both recognizably traditional and refreshingly different. Santa Claus, known locally as Father Christmas, is a beloved figure, and you'll see him depicted in shorts and sunglasses, riding a surfboard rather than a sleigh. Gift-giving is a common practice, with presents often exchanged on Christmas morning. Popular gifts include beach-related items, books, and local wines, reflecting the season's leisurely pace and the country's rich culture.

Traditional Foods and Desserts

The Christmas feast in Australia might include a variety of dishes due to its multicultural society. While some stick to the British-influenced roast turkey or ham, others opt for seafood, barbecues, and salads to suit the summer heat. Desserts are a special treat, with pavlova—a meringue-based dish topped with fresh fruit—and Christmas pudding being perennial favorites. For New Year's, festive meals are often more casual, with barbecues and picnics continuing to be popular choices.

Christmas Eve and Day Celebrations

Christmas Eve in Australia is often marked by attending Midnight Mass or church services, which are well-attended by those who observe the religious aspect of the holiday. Christmas Day itself is typically spent with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors, whether it's a picnic in the park, a day at the beach, or a backyard cricket match. Many Australians also take this time to volunteer and give back to the community, reflecting the season's spirit of goodwill.

Festive Events and Decorations

In the lead-up to Christmas, cities and towns across Australia come alive with decorations and lights. Notable destinations for holiday displays include the Boulevard in Melbourne's suburb of Ivanhoe, where residents go all out with elaborate light shows, and Sydney's Martin Place, which hosts a giant Christmas tree. Christmas markets, like the Adelaide Christmas Market, offer a chance to shop for artisan gifts and sample local holiday treats.

New Year's Celebrations

New Year's Eve is another highlight of the Australian holiday season. The country is one of the first to welcome the new year, and it does so with a bang. Sydney's fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House is world-famous, drawing thousands of spectators. Melbourne, Brisbane, and other major cities also host impressive fireworks shows. Many people enjoy these events at public gatherings, while others prefer private parties or watching the displays from the comfort of their homes.

For expats and digital nomads, the Australian holiday season is an opportunity to embrace new traditions while enjoying the warmth and hospitality that the country is known for. Whether you're hitting the beach, indulging in a festive barbecue, or simply relaxing under the Southern Hemisphere sun, Christmas and New Year's in Australia are sure to create lasting memories. As the year draws to a close, take a moment to reflect on the unique experiences that this season brings, and look forward to the adventures that await in the new year.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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