It hadn’t occurred to me that some people may find a warm Christmas quite an unsavoury prospect in comparison to a winter one. I’ve done Christmases in tropical climates and surrounded by snow, and I have to say that both offer something wonderful and unique and are equally worth giving a go.
Since my fiancé and I started dating, we try to return to my home country, Australia every other year. In an ideal world, we’d love to go at Christmas, but extortionately priced flights don’t always make it a viable option. So, instead, we head back to the land of blue skies and golden beaches as the Australian summer heats up, at the end of November. And whilst we are there, we celebrate Christmas with my family.
How the Aussies celebrate Christmas
I think no matter where in the world you are, Christmas morning is usually spent with your loved ones exchanging gifts and having breakfast together. There are of course some variations – some people do it with Champagne, some families exchange a shit load of gifts, whilst others are more conservative and give one, or even make donations to charity instead. My family and I do a Secret Santa with a $50 AUD per person limit. I think this year everyone did a particularly outstanding job choosing personal gifts with the recipient in mind. With three younger brothers in their 20’s, this hasn’t always worked so well and in previous years, a bar of soap wrapped in tin foil was given as a gift! I got some Pug loafers and a knitted beanie to keep me cosy back home in London.
In warm climates, we like to be outdoors as much as possible. So, whilst on Christmas Day when you are inside keeping toasty by a log fire, we are outside by the pool heating up the barbie (aka BBQ), for the main spread.
Speaking of the main spread, in Oz we love seafood alongside our BBQ. A lot of families will go for whole fish and prawns. Cold ham, carved off the bone is also a popular choice. Some people will have a roast too, or instead of the BBQ – chicken or beef are favoured over turkey I’d say, but I don’t think this is as popular a choice, given it is the height of summer and the days a sticky and warm.
Ice cold beers, chilled wine and bubbles flow throughout the day in celebration, and following lunch, both hemispheres adjust their elasticated waistbands. The Brits retire to their sofas to digest whilst the Aussies lie poolside soaking up the magnificent sunshine.
As the day draws to the end, an evening feast of leftovers is enjoyed on both sides of the world. Although I would say the there is less emphasis on the inclusion of cheese and Port in Australia, and no alternative offered in its place. This is one British tradition I think we should incorporate into our Aussie festivities.
We often play games in the evening, enjoying each other’s company, and end the day by watching Christmas films together. Again, no difference really between the Aussie and the Brits.
So, what’s the difference between Christmas in the cold and Christmas when it’s warm?
In summary, this is what you can expect:
|British/ cold Christmas vs.||Aussie/ hot Christmas|
|Christmas paraphernalia appears from late October.|
|Same, but note it can be peculiar witnessing the Big Man dressed up in Stubbies (short men’s shorts) with a vest and thongs (aka flip-flops). Some may say it’s just not quite the same.|
|Festivities are held in family’s homes.||Same, but with emphasis on enjoying the great outdoors.|
|Gifts are exchanged.||Same.|
|Families feast together. Turkey is the go to.||Families feast together, but BBQ’s and seafood are popular choices.|
|People love a jolly drink together.||Same – it is a skill we learnt from the Brits after all.|
|The sofa is the place to adjust you, joggers.||To start with, we are wearing swimmers. And secondly, we prefer to starfish by the pool after lunch.|
|The evening is all about the leftovers and games.||Same, obvs.|
Another important Australian festive tradition is the Boxing Day swim down at the beach. Rock up with your Esky (cold box), stacked with ice cold ones (beers), a beach towel, some sunscreen and big floppy hat, and you are set for the day.
So, there you have it. Whilst it may not be your first choice, you’ll see there are quite a few similarities no matter where in the world you celebrate Christmas. And, at the end of the day, whether you go tropical or frosty, so long as you are in the company of loved ones, then that’s all that matters. I hope you had yourself a wonderful Christmas this year and might consider a warm Christmas for next year.
Until next time, safe travels.
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