This year Christmas is definitely not like normal for most people.
Travel restrictions where families can’t be together as usual, health care worker and essential services family members working extra hours, social distancing rules impacting places of worship and family incomes perhaps needing to have a little less food and presents this year all paint a different looking Christmas around the world.
So! We thought we’d give a little insight into a typical “Aussie Christmas” and the differences here - because we love our UK peeps and you’re maybe up for some fine reading to pass the time in your UK lockdown.
So the funny thing about Christmas in Oz is that even though we’re in the heat of ‘Straylan Summa by the 25th of December, we still hold onto the northern hemisphere cold Christmas traditions - but with a few uniquely Australian ones too.
Our Christmas trees look just like yours - full of tinsel, baubles, snowflakes and lights. But because it’s summer and daylight savings here the lights only get turned on at about 10 PM once it actually starts getting dark. Our houses, streets and shopping strips are decorated with reindeers, Santas and fake snow which always seem a bit weird when it’s 30 plus degrees! There are a few streets that are renowned for their Christmas lights and attract crowds of people every year spending a balmy summer evening walking up and down the streets. Spare a thought for our poor Santa and his reindeer and helpers giving out Christmas gifts and cheer to people on the streets - all dressed up in their wintery suits in the sweltering Aussie heat - they get pretty sweaty and stinky haha. But at least their Christmas silver lining is that they’re unlikely to get sunburnt being so covered up!??
But our favourite mix of the cold and hot traditions is with the food on Christmas day, it’s typical to have a blended menu of traditional winter Christmas foods like roast turkey, Ham and Christmas pudding but then to add in a typical outdoor Aussie BBQ, a seafood platter and a pavlova covered in perfectly ripe Queensland mangoes and passionfruit. Whether northern or southern hemisphere food traditions or cruelty free vegan menus which are on the up all over the world, in Australia we always have to remember to keep all food covered or in the fridge to keep the flies off as it’s our peak fly time of the year. Eww. Then at night as we all settle into a few drinks with the smell of citronella candles everywhere to keep the mosquitoes and bugs away… *bzzz zap buzzz zap* (we’ll leave out the spiders and snakes part because it might be a bit much for you guys!) - ahhh the different smells of Christmas… citronella, bug spray and mangoes for us… wood fires, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg for you.
And of course it wouldn’t be Christmas in Oz without a game of backyard cricket and the splashing sounds of kids jumping into swimming pools around the neighbourhoods and cicadas singing. And don’t forget the car trip to the beach to check out the surfing Santas on Christmas Day too! Speaking of cars and Australian Christmas.. there’s nothing more iconic than hopping, skipping and jumping barefoot on the scorching pavement towards the car (with a few profanities spared).. only to sit on a burning hot car seat, to then burn your hands on the furnace-hot seat belt and steering wheel! Well worth it, though, for a trip to our sandy beaches! Oh but watch out for all the jelly fish and sting rays out there in large numbers at this time of year… not much to be scared of though - all the harmless seaweed in the water touching your legs will be sure to scare you enough and keep you on high alert! Just pack some Stingoes and or vinegar (or pee on demand) to help with most stings - or a trip to the hospital if it’s an Irukanji stingray from up north… we digress…
The main focus of Christmas is of course about celebrating and spending time with family and loved ones and that is the same all over the world which seems ever more important this year. We hope, where possible, you’ll be with us popping in to check on neighbours, video calling those we can’t be with and spreading even more Christmas cheer than normal because Christmas truly is a very special time of year.
But once this Christmas passes we’ll be turning our attention to the new year and finally saying goodbye to the crazy year that was 2020! Until then, we’ll be singing along to all the Christmas tunes in our supermarkets, as we're sure you will be too…
A very Merry President Street Christmas to all! See you all in 2021!!
Pete and Ruby xx