Australians live on the world’s largest island, which is also the world’s smallest continent. Most of Australia’s immigrants came from England and Ireland, bringing their Christmas customs with them.
The most popular event of the Christmas season is called Carols by Candlelight. People come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols outside. The stars shining above add to the sights and sounds of this wonderful outdoor concert.
Australian families love to do things outside. They love to swim, surf, sail, and ride bicycles. They like to grill meals outdoors on the barbecue, which they call the “barbie.”
Families decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves, and evergreens, along with the colorful flowers that bloom in summer called Christmas bush and Christmas bellflower. Some families put up a Christmas tree. Outdoors, nasturtiums, wisteria, and honeysuckle bloom.
Christmas festivities begin in late November, when schools and church groups present Nativity plays. They sing carols throughout the month of December.
On Christmas Eve, families may attend church together. Some children expect Father Christmas to leave gifts, and others wait for Santa Claus to visit and deliver gifts.
After opening presents on Christmas morning, the family sits down to a breakfast of ham and eggs. For many families attending a Christmas Day church service is traditional.
On Christmas Eve in families that observe Irish traditions, the father sets a large candle in a front window of the home to welcome Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. The youngest child in the family lights the candle. The family goes to midnight mass and attends church on Christmas Day, as well. Afterwards there are parties and festive visits.
Christmas Day is when families and close friends gather together from all over Australia. The highlight of the day is the holiday midday dinner. Some families enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set aflame before it is brought to the table. The person who gets the favor baked inside will enjoy good luck all year round.
Other families head for the backyard barbie to grill their Christmas dinner in the sunshine. Many families even go to the beach or to the countryside and enjoy a picnic of cold turkey or ham and a salad. Father Christmas has been known to show up in shorts to greet children at the beach on Christmas!
The day after Christmas, December 26, is Boxing Day. Australians with British and Irish backgrounds leave tips for the grocer, postman, newspaper carrier, and others to thank them for their help in the past year.
New Year’s Eve is always a special time, with dinners, dances, and parties. On Twelfth Night, January 6, there is one last party to end the Christmas season.
Is Christmas celebrated twice a year in Australia?
No, the real Christmas only happens once a year – on 25 December. In Australia it’s a national public holiday and people observe the day with friends and family, coming together to swap presents and enjoy good food and drink.
It can be hot and humid during December, which is in the middle of summer in Australia. So Christmas is celebrated differently here compared to the northern hemisphere, where it’s the middle of winter.
In Australia it’s more likely we’ll have beer on the beach, rather than mulled wine and markets, which is what happens in Europe. The food eaten here will also be lighter, with seafood a popular choice.
Where does the concept come from?
The phrase ‘Christmas in July’ is also found in other countries in the southern hemisphere like New Zealand and South Africa.
There was a Hollywood movie called Christmas in July (1940). However, the film is not believed to be the origin of the phrase’s use in Australia, which seems to date from around the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
No one seems to know for sure where the concept comes from, but it’s rumoured to have originated with a small group of people creating the occasion in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Do Australians have a ‘white’ Christmas in July?
Most of Australia doesn’t receive snow during July so most Christmas in July celebrations occur without it.
There’s been a cold snap this year which has led to weird, wonderful weather in Australia so there’s much more snow fall than usual. For example, it’s currently snowing in the Blue Mountains, which is adding to the celebrations by creating a cosy atmosphere.
But at some celebrations such as Sovereign Hill’s Christmas in July, fake snow was required. Sovereign Hill is an open air museum in Victoria which depicts Australia’s gold rush era of the 1850s. It’s a popular tourist attraction that’s recently introduced ‘Christmas in July’ into its annual program.
Do people give Christmas in July presents?
The celebration is mainly used as an excuse for people to have private gatherings with family and friends, but it’s also used as a reason for public events and ticketed functions.
Christmas in July is increasingly being used for commercial purposes, like this display of trees in Sydney’s Pitt Street mall this year. Aside from the festive decor, hot coffee and warm popcorn were served for free to encourage people to go shopping.
An open-air museum located in Ballarat, Victoria, Sovereign Hill depicts the best of Christmas in Australia decorations and hardships of the 1850s’ gold rush era in Australia. However, in July, it is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with bright lights and fake snow as part of the Christmas celebration. This is one place you should visit if you want to experience a Christmas celebration in Australia in July.
Perth is a wonderful place to celebrate Christmas in July. But if you plan to wear a Christmas jumper here in December, you will not have a pleasant time. Jumpers hold a special place when it comes to Christmas outfits Australia and you can have fun with them when you celebrate Christmas in Australia date in July. The pubs in the city are decked out, giving you a chance to see amazing lights and ornaments. This is one of the best cities to experience Australian Christmas in summer.
Celebrating Christmas Day on an island may not have crossed your mind, but when you are in Australia, you have to think outside the box. Sitting off the east coast of New South Wales, Lord Howe Island is one of the most popular places to celebrate the holiday in the country. You can enjoy a wide variety of special programs, traditional Australian Christmas food and even meet Santa Claus.