I really wanted to write a blog about Australia and Christmas but I really had no idea where to start. Christmas is one of those sacred times with family yet we all celebrate it so openly. I wanted to bring you all Australia’s traditions with a mixture of some of my friend’s traditions. Because, what is it really like having Christmas in Australia? I was a bit stumped on where to start and if my family really even had any traditions. Since I moved out of home just over a year ago, I make sure that I head over to the parents place on Christmas Eve so I can wake up with the family on Christmas Day. As I walked in the door with my washing basket full of presents, I started to remember all of these things we do every year. Like every year my Sister and I make a gingerbread house (we are very average at it) but I have so much fun doing it. Or my Mum always uses my Nan’s gravy jug (to remember and include her in the festive day) and it plays as a centre piece on the table. This is just how my family’s traditions are. They are different. They are what we have created over the years and what we will continue to do.
Christmas lunch instead of dinner – unlike the rest of the world, Australia is very casual when it comes to its Christmas meals. For my family, we still have a typical roast (chicken and ham – we don’t really eat turkey) with lots of roast veggies. It is a huge meal. We also have bon bons that must be pulled before we start to eat (lame jokes and hats are a must). Our routine in the morning is opening presents (we each take a turn so we can see what everyone gets) and then my Mum is back into the kitchen to prepare lunch. A lot of the preparation is done on Christmas Eve so we only have to do minimal prep on Christmas day. Our special Christmas dessert is quite unique and I love it. When we were little my Mum decided to do a fruit and nut ice cream pudding but us kids were not fans of the fruits and nuts. So like the epic Mum she is, she substituted it for chocolate bars (Mars Bars, Smarties, Crunchies, Cherry Ripes etc). We still have it today and it really is something that I look forward to every Christmas. Not everyone has a traditional roast though. One of the other popular lunch time meals include cold meats (great in Australia’s heat) and seafood. Seafood is something that needs to be pre-ordered weeks in advance so you can actually get it as the shops sell out very quickly! Christmas breakfast is also on the rise and I have been told that egg and bacon pie with champagne is delicious! Any Christmas meal is usually followed by a nap (usually with a fan on).
Activities of the day – who doesn’t love a good game of cricket, badminton or maybe a board game to bring the family together? After the afternoon nap, a good game doesn’t go astray. For us, it usually depends on what we got for Christmas but we will play cricket, badminton, kick a footy around, board game or cards. I love it and it just really means more family bonding. Another popular way to end the day is a water fight!! Whether you use water bombs, a hose or a bucket – just get involved. Christmas is hot and nothing beats cooling down by throwing a balloon full of water at your Brother! Another option to beat the heat is to get a little pool with a pump so you can just wallow around in it.
Escaping Home – also on the rise is going on holiday. For us living in Canberra, the coast is one of our favourite places to visit. Whether you head down the coast just after opening pressies or on Boxing Day, you know that you are going to enjoy swimming at the beach. Quite a few friends of mine pack up and head down the coast just after present opening or first thing on Boxing Day. I spend Christmas at home but I do try and make sure that we have a coast trip in January (for the beach!).
Decorations – like most places around the world, Christmas lights go up around the outside of the house. There are some spectacular looking lights down the end of the street. This isn’t something that is big in our family but as kids we use to beg our parents to take us to look at all of the Chrissie lights on Christmas Eve. It use to be a big outing for us and we use to start nagging in the early afternoon (bit of an issue when the sun doesn’t set until 8pm). Santa sacks are also huge in our family. Our parents made one for each of us kids (there are three of us) with our names on it. My Sister (the youngest of the three) constantly complains that hers is not as beautifully decorated as my Brother and mine. I take great joy in teasing her about it – you know, standard older Sister really. When decorating the tree you might want to try some eggnog with Kevin Bloody Wilson playing in the background instead of Christmas carols.
Boxing Day – Australia is a country built on sports. On Boxing Day you will probably either see the Boxing Day test match (cricket) or the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on the TV. Both are worth watching and are a part of a lot of families traditions. We always watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart but once they get out of the heads then we will switch it over to the cricket. Usually a barbie (barbeque) is followed with a game of backyard cricket with Dad leading it all.
Game to try next year – this one is a cracker and I find it to be very Australian! This game is called ’knock down bottles’. Line up empty wine bottles on an elevated wooden plank in the backyard and then use a giant Frisbee (the rubber hoop from an old washing machine) to try and knock them all down for a distance. Think of the competitions you could have! The glory to be had….
Activity to try next year – this one came from a friend that has four beautiful girls with her partner and there tradition is to get a Christmas Eve box. Now this box involves a new pair of Christmas PJs and a Christmas movie. They all watch it together before bed on Christmas Eve – how sweet is that!
Whatever the tradition is that you have with your family on Christmas please just enjoy it. Christmas is a time to spend it with loved ones with food and games. From Through an Aussie’s Eyes to you all, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.
P.S. If you have any more traditions please contact me about it.