With Christmas on the way, I thought I'd share what this holiday is like for me and many other Australians, especially because it's in the summer time.
Honestly, we do Christmas like most Western countries would, except with a few extra little twists here and there to suit the season. As Australia is extremely multi-cultural, you'll find many people do things a little differently with their own traditions, but I've tried to keep this as objective as possible.
Most people put up a Christmas tree that usually coincides with the local Christmas Pageant (which I'll explain later) and it's not uncommon for houses to be draped in colourful lights either.
In more recent years, tinsel and other interior house decorations seem to have gone out of fashion, but I do see the occasional house sporting a wreath on the door.
This is a bit 'Pinterest perfect' but florists do sell these gorgeous wreaths made with native flora:
Some Aussies take their Christmas light decorations pretty seriously, with local Councils holding competitions, and entire streets going all out for a display that can attract hundreds.
You'll find that most major cities have a 'destination light show town' where the residents go all out with the Christmas lights, in which families go for night-time drives to see in and around the Christmas period.
One of my favourites :P
Christmas meals in Australia means shellfish, hands down. I cannot recall any previous Christmas where prawns haven't been present. Lobsters are also a hot commodity around this time, that is, if you can afford the $150 a kilo price tag.
As for the birds, my own family likes to mix it up with roast turkey, chicken or sometimes even smoked ham; no two years are exactly the same in terms of the menu.
Salads as you can see in the picture are also very common, with lots of different types to suit everyone. The salad that always makes an appearance in my family is my mother's mango, cranberry and bean sprout salad which I'd swear on.
Cherries are a given as Christmas is smack bang in the middle of our cherry season, same goes for mangoes.
Dessert in almost every household is an Aussie pavlova, topped with fresh fruit and cream. Check out a recipe here.
It wouldn't be a proper Australian celebration if it didn't have the booze, and Christmas is no exception. I don't believe eggnog has ever been popular in Australia, but if it has, I've taken no notice of it. We tend to stick to our champagne and sparkling shiraz, and you'll find many people will crack open a few bottles of beer as well.
The Christmas party/meal itself may be a barbeque, or held in the backyard or a picnic on a beach. My own family rotates whose house we hold our Christmas day celebrations at, although my house is a favourite due to the swimming pool. It doesn't get much better than good food and company, perfect warm weather and a dip in the pool to follow.
Christmas also coincides with the school summer holiday break, so it's not uncommon for families to celebrate Christmas away from home either.
The big events of the Christmas season are the Carols By Candlelight. These began in Melbourne in 1937 and are outside concerts in the warm summer evenings where people sit on blankets, light candles and come together to sing Christmas carols. Most cities have a concert and two major ones are televised across Australia from Sydney and Melbourne. Christmas Eve wouldn't be the same without Carols by Candlelight.
Anyways, this is just an overview of what a traditional Aussie Christmas looks like, I hope you enjoyed, and if you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.