In Australia, Christmas is celebrated in the beginning of the summer holidays. But it is not the favorable time for the tourists to visit the country. The summer in Australia is bizarre and incommodious. The sun may be out, but you cannot go for swimming. Even there are quite often massive bush fires across the country. But Christmas is celebrated with intense amount of zeal and excitement. Many people, even if they are not Christian, bestow each other with gifts, prepare feasts and decorate their residences at this time of year. Though most of the aspects of the celebration resemble that of Europe, in them we can observe an influence of the Australian climate and wildlife.
People often share their festive mood along with family members and close friends. Christmas Day falls in the middle of the summer holidays, and both the days, 25th and 26th December are public holidays. Thus, many people celebrate the occasion away from home, in holiday parks, on camp sites or at relatives’ homes. In the weeks before Christmas Day, specifically from the commencement of Advent, many people adorn their homes with Christmas decorations. Australians hang wreaths on their front doors, decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas trees, candles or small electric lights, glass baubles, tinsel, snowmen, fake snow and figures of Santa Claus in his red fur-trimmed outfit. Even Australian native decorations depicting the wildlife of the country are also used which comprises of glass baubles or wooden ornaments decorated with images of Australian wildlife, such as koalas, bilbies, king parrots, Waratah flowers, clusters of Christmas Bush, green leaves and cream colored flowers. Miniature figures and little statues of native animals and Santa Claus dressed in red hats and riding sleighs pulled by white kangaroos are also popular. Neighbors often have delightful competitions to see who has got the best light display in their homes. The neighbors also often pay their visit to each other’s houses to look at the light displays at night.
On Christmas Day, in various households, children arouse up to discover presents and gifts under their pillows or stockings or under the Christmas tree. Many households enlist a family friend or neighbor to dress up as Santa Claus and distribute gifts to their little ones. In some families, individual members also exchange gifts. Many Australians have a special meal on Christmas Day. Traditionally the Christmas meals consist of roast meats and vegetables and heavy fruit cakes and steamed puddings. However, nowadays many people prefer to hold a barbecue at the beach or a picnic in a park or prepare a meal of cold meat and seafood followed by Pavlova.
On Christmas night, in each city there is a celebration of large carols along with candlelight service and many popular Australian singers like John Farnham, Anthony Warlow, Niki Webster and many more help to sing the carols. These carol services are broadcast on TV across Australia. Most towns and cities also have festivals and parades. In some places, there are also displays of fireworks. There are several denominations in Australia and they also have different traditions according to their faith and religion, for instance, Catholics often attend midnight mass, which starts at midnight. Other denominations attend church services during the day of Christmas.
On Boxing Day, people pay visit to their friends and families and they often have barbecues at the beach. Though Christmas in Australia may not have the similar flavor and grandeur like countries in Northern Hemisphere, it showcases the Australian summer lifestyle in all its aspects.