All travelers repeat same word when we talk about Christmas in Australia -“Different”. Even those who live in this country for three decades says that Christmas in Australia doesn’t smell like Christmas. Everybody say that it is impossible to get used to the Holidays in the summer time.
The usual Christmas picture for us is frosty trees, snow, cold outside the window and a warm dinner at home with our family. In Australia – distant kangaroo country, things go a little bit different. Australians live on the world’s largest Island, which is the smallest continent in the world. Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, where season is opposite than in Northern Hemisphere. Christmas in Australia happens during the summer holidays. When we have winter, it is summer time in Australia.
CHRISTMAS IN SUMMER
Christmas is the biggest holiday in Australia. December, January and February are summer months, so Australians celebrate Christmas in the summer. Since Christmas holidays coincide with the summer holidays, all people relax. Most offices and other facilities are closed for couple of weeks, and staff travels, spends time by the ocean, rivers, lakes. The sun is shining and heats in December so, that it doesn’t really smells like Christmas at all. 2021, in Perth, Western Australia were recorded 42C°/107,6 F for Christmas day.
SO HOW DO AUSTRALIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
Australians have very good sense of humor. I notice it a lot in the media, on TV shows. They constantly throw jokes. And especially nice communication culture. People just love to meet for dinner and enjoy time without rushing anywhere. As much attention as everyone pays for decorations, gifts, shops and offices decor, packaging, guests tables, dishes, table decoration, festive clothing , the guests lists and even planned conversations topics during the party, I haven’t seen anywhere yet. Giant Christmas trees are decorated in all Australia’s city squares. Trees near streets are covered with red ribbons. People in Australia really loves Christmas.
BUSY TIME BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Christmas in Australia starts a good month before the calendar holiday. Christmas lunch with plenty tables takes place at work and with friends. You can hardly find a place in a restaurant without making reservation all December. I won’t even tell you what’s going on in the stores and Post. This starts from mid-November. Everyone takes care only about presents and festive menu. Beautifully packed little things are exchanged at work, gifts are sent to friends and even the most distant aunts and uncles.
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY MENU
Australians like no other nation likes to plan everything in advance. The most important thing before Christmas is to prepare holiday menu. Ordering a huge pork ham for Christmas in October or November is definitely usual thing for them. Celebration begins in late Christmas morning, at around 11 a.m., when everyone gathers for Christmas lunch. Well, in the center of the Australian Christmas table is always a giant pork ham! The 9 kg beauty is bought already cooked, usually covered with some sweet glaze. Typically, the glaze is made of maple syrup, honey or apricot, but it can be pineapple juice, ginger beer, or sticky fig syrup. Ham is placed in the oven to warm up, cut into thin slices and eaten at room temperature.
There is plenty of seafood on the festive table: king shrimps, lobsters, crabs, oysters, smoked and salted fish. The Christmas table is usually set outdoors, on the terrace or in the garden’s house shade, where guests can sip chilled soda drinks or sophisticated alcoholic cocktails with watermelons, mangoes and other seasonal fruits. Seafood is the most valued in Australia on New Year’s Eve. Herring in Australia are rare products that can be found in delicatessens, most often – Norwegian matje.
Australians with New Zealanders are still arguing who made the Pavlova first. Crispy meringue shell, gooey inside, slathered with double cream and seasonal fruit – is a classic Pavlova at Christmas. The colorful pop of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, red grapes and other freshness and beauty, all add the festive look. When temperatures are soaring this light dessert option is a must. Ice cream or ice cream cake – also always is on the wave here.
OUR CHRISTMAS IN AUSTRALIA
This year we spent our Christmas with friends, grilling crawfish and salmon by the pool, cracking tortillas with guacamole, eating cooked shrimps with avocado and wasabi dip. We finished our Feast with the ice cream.