From seafood lunches to barefoot cricket on the lawn, Christmas Down Under is more about boardshorts and barbies than snowmen and mulled wine. Blessed with a warm climate and love of the great outdoors, it’s the perfect time pop on your thongs and hit the deck to celebrate under the sun. We’ve compiled some awesome Aussie Christmas traditions to get your festive plans underway.
A great way to kickstart the holidays, most major cities across Australia host a Carols by Candlelight. They often have a few celebrity performers, with proceeds going to charity. Pack a picnic, relax on the grass and soak up some angelic heralding and the balmy summer twilights. Check with your local schools and council to find out about smaller events happening close to home. And find loads more Christmas events throughout Australia on the Christmas in Australia site.
- Adelaide: Campbelltown Christmas Parade & Carols 2021 | Saturday 11 December 2021 @ 10am to 7pm | Free
- Brisbane: Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols 2021 | Sunday 11 December @ 4pm to 9pm at Brisbane Riverstage, City Botanic Gardens | Buy tickets
- Melbourne: Carols by Candlelight 2021 | Vision Australia | Friday 24 December 2021 @ 8:00pm at Sidney Myer Music Bowl | Buy tickets
- Perth: Christmas Symphony 2021 | Saturday 11 December @ 2pm & 7pm at Langley Park | Get free tickets
- Sydney: Carols in the Domain | Thursday 23 December 2019 @ 7.30pm at the Domain | Buy tickets
After a couple of years in on-and-off lockdowns and Santa preferring to stay safe in the North Pole — he’s back in many local shopping centres! Arranging all the kids (and eye-rolling teens) around the ol’ Saint Nick is an Aussie Christmas tradition that can’t be missed. But with so many preferring to stay socially distanced (not to mention the current shortage of Santas), augmented reality is taking off. Grub Lab has set up a free ‘Santagram’ experience in dining venues for kids to pose with Santa in a socially distanced and COVID-safe way. Simply download the Grub Lab app, scan the QR code on the floor of the venue and get 3 Santa photo opportunities. For more information, visit Grub Lab.
No Christmas Eve is complete without a slow drive around the neighbourhood to check out the Christmas light displays on other people’s homes. You may have some hot tips on where the best local houses twinkle, or use an online Christmas Light Search tool to find the most luminous lights in your area.
Smack bang in the middle of summer in often sweltering heat, Christmas day is no time to be chained to the stove preparing a hot roast. Fire up the barbie instead! A much more relaxed way to spend time with the family and cater for the clan, a barbecued prawn lunch has become an Aussie institution. It also means you’re free to enjoy the summer sun, crack a coldie and chat as the seafood sizzles on the grill. Early Settler’s 4-metre Reclaimed Teak Cross Leg table is perfect for the big day. On this colossal table, you can comfortably seat 12 people and banish the kiddie table for good.
While elsewhere across the globe Christmas may be blanketed in snow and reindeer jumpers, in Australia the summer weather draws many to the beach for an after-lunch dip or to test out the new stand-up paddleboard. Typically attired in boardshorts, thongs and maybe even a fluffy red Santa hat, it’s the perfect way for the clan to refresh before returning home for a few rounds of backyard cricket as the barbecue heats up for round two.
Hot summer nights are best spent outside beneath the stars with a few drinks and a few laughs. If you live on a cul-de-sac, throwing a street party is a wicked way to have fun with your neighbours as the kids safely test out their new scooters on the road. As an added bonus, because it’s right near home, you can pop the prosecco and let the bubbles flow! Stock up on some lightweight outdoor chairs that can be stacked and stored when not in use.
Boxing Day is all about polishing off the leftovers (before you start your post-Christmas diet!). And with the Boxing Day Test on TV, your clan will most likely be divided into those who are glued to the sofa watching the cricket… and those who’d rather bask on a day bed outside, or even hit the beach. For those who prefer to avoid the heat and instead stroll in airconditioned comfort, head out to your local shopping centre for the Boxing Day sales — another awesome Aussie tradition and the perfect time to grab a bargain!