I’m cheating by posting this before Christmas Day, but for me Christmas Eve/Christmas morning is probably the peak of my festive excitement so I feel like I have had a lot of my Aussie Christmas experience already.
Last year for Christmas I was in America, which was an amazing experience in itself, but this year I’m in Sydney and it has definitely been a different Christmas than I am used to!
Usually, my Christmas looks like this – I am the annoying person who has their presents bought before the start of December, but who then spends December worrying that they didn’t buy enough. My December schedule is full of meeting various friends and socialising then spending my free time cuddled up in my dressing gown. I love going to the Christmas markets with my parents and watching Christmas films under a blanket. Christmas Day I have toast loaded with butter for breakfast after opening my presents, then spend the rest of the day chatting and watching films. On Boxing Day, we have our Christmas Dinner.
When I think of Christmas, I think of a roaring fire, feeling cosy, presents, surrounded by people I love and a glass of Baileys with ice!
So what has Christmas in Australia been like?
Different. Very, very different.
First of all, it’s summer here, so everything you think you know about Christmas is flipped. There’s no snow and no need for knitted hats, scarves and gloves. Northern traditions like Mad Friday aren’t a thing here (not that that’s a bad thing, in my opinion) and the thought of sitting down to watch a Christmas film when it’s over 30 degrees outside feels wrong.
My parents have visited for Christmas this year, which has been more magical than I could ever put into words, but they are the only people from home that I have seen in a year. For someone who is incredibly sociable, that’s been strange. Plus it would have been lovely to see Jack’s parents too, especially seen as I spent Christmas in San Francisco last year, and I would have loved to have had this time of year with them too. Being away from loved ones is always tough, but it’s even tougher at this time of year.
That’s not to say Christmas has been bad, though. Quite the opposite.
I’ve actually been able to do things this year. Aside from a day or two when the bushfire smoke made it unpleasant to be outside, I haven’t had to cancel or change my plans due to weather once. I have been able to show my parents around Sydney and have the best time exploring. I’ve even caught a bit of a sun tan!
Instead of surrounding myself with people I’ve grown up with or known for years, I have been meeting new people. This has actually been lovely as a lot of people in Australia are away from home so meeting them and being each other’s support has given Christmas a ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe.
My usual present organisation hasn’t been the same. Because it hasn’t felt like Christmas as I know it, I’ve been really relaxed… perhaps too relaxed! For the first time in my life, I have been buying gifts the week before Christmas. That is unheard of for me, but what can I say, sunshine and the lure of beach days got me!
Whilst things here are different, there are some similarities to Christmas back home. Santa still looks the same, even though he would probably pass out in that suit here. Shops are decorated with all the usual sparkly ornaments and they sell similar things (although I do miss Boots 3 for 2!). There are plenty of places where children can meet Santa and we went to Christmas lights switch on, only instead of being wrapped up I was wearing a dress and a denim jacket.
There’s no other way to look at it – Christmas in Australia is weird. Well, it’s weird for me. I will always find it jarring to see a decoration that is a koala in a scarf or see a VW Beetle used as a Christmas shopping centre display.
That’s not a bad thing, though. Christmas in Australia is great!
It’s just different.
I’ve loved every minute of experiencing these cultural differences, from seeing camper van Christmas decorations to the smell of Christmas BBQ meats to seeing Christmas picnic parties.
Christmas in Australia is perfect in its own suncream needing, BBQ loving way. Whatever your opinion on Christmas in the summer is, it’s definitely an experience and one worth having!
Would you like to experience Christmas in the summer?
If you want to find out more about my life in Australia, follow me on Instagram at @thegoodineverydayblog