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Christmas in Antarctica

Updated on November 29, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Christmas Dreams In Antarctica

A napping Weddell Seal awaits Christmas in Antarctica.
A napping Weddell Seal awaits Christmas in Antarctica. | Source

Christmas is Summertime in Antarctica

Because Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite of North America, the region experiences real Christmas in July Sale type of weather! It's Summer in Antarctica, but it's still December, and still cold. At the same time, this region enjoys 24 hours of daylight on Christmas Day. It would be great fun to spend Christmas Day in Antarctica for an incredible different holiday experience.

Antarctica celebrates more than on Christmas during some years as well. During those years, Christmas is celebrated in McMurdo Research Station in July during their Winter and in December, their Summer. This certainly breaks up the cold weather doldrums and sounds like a lot of fun!

Where's Santa?
Where's Santa? | Source

For researchers at the scientific station and its outposts, Christmas dinner might be a simple a meal of dehydrated food. However, it might also be a full dinner with a ham or even a full buffet offered. It depends on what's available and what shipments have reached McMurdo Station.

When holidays are celebrated with scientists from around the world, it's all fun. At McMurdo Station, the largest research center , the facilities and community are the size of a small city. The whole is much more like an urban center than a bleak research station. It is easy to see how traditions from many countries come together at McMurdo to form new traditions for Christmas - like jumping in the cold water!

Antarctic Glaciers Breaking Up

Antarctica is studied from inside McMurdo Research Station and other stations around the continent. NASA also studies it from the sky via satellite ( ICESAT, the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite that stopped in 2009 and ICESAT 2, to be launched in 2016) and even from the International Space Station. From various levels in the sky, trained observers can notice changes in the pack ice and glacial formations,

Interestingly, in October 2011, NASA discovered a wide crack in the Antarctic ice of over 18 miles long with the help of a low flying airplane. At that time, the crack was also about 260 feet or 80 meters wide. This occurred in the ice of Pine Island Glacier, with the crack widening over 6 feet per day. NASA scientists predicted that a large chunk of the ice would separate completely from the larger whole by around Christmas 2011. This was said to produce an iceberg the size of New York City, according to NASA. That might make a fine Christmas travel event, especially from an airplane.

Scientists believe that the breakaway of the new iceberg is part of a natural process that last occurred in 2001. Ice builds up and breaks away, and build up once more. Where will this 2011 - 2012 ice berg travel?

show route and directions
A markerPine Island Glacier -
Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica
get directions

B markerMcMurdo Station, Antarctica -
McMurdo Station, Antarctica
get directions

Source
Mass Transit: Ivan The Terra Bus
Mass Transit: Ivan The Terra Bus | Source

An Antarctic Research Christmas

America's McMurdo Station is the largest research center among a number located on the continent of Antarctica. The place is so large that people living there must sign up ahead of time for reservations at the annual Christmas Buffet. This is a very popular meal and event. McMurdo Station, which sits on property supervised by New Zealand, also offers Christmas parties, caroling, and outdoor activities when the weather permits.The wind is so loud and strong that some videos recorded outdoors sound garbled.

At some outposts around the continent, scientists and crew assigned to the stations like to celebrate the Christmas holidays by spray-painting metal cables in Christmas Colors. This makes them look like candy cans for the season.

Artificial trees are used at the big station to cut costs on shipping in live tress that die over the holiday. The artificial trees may be stored the rest of the year, but the live trees would need to be somehow destroyed or recycled, a problem on a continent of ice. No compost heaps exist outdoors here.

Antarctic stations operated by various nations of the world feature entertainment and recreation in their on-site nightclubs. McMurdo offers its Erebus Club, Gallagher's Pub, and the Coffee Shop for a variety. The Coffee Shop is non-smoking and the other clubs offer non-smoking nights. The first two clubs are more traditional night clubs, with louder music.

Amundson-Scott South Pole Station

Scott Base, a New Zealand research station, houses only about 100 people instead of the 1200 at McMurdo. The Scott pub is smaller and quieter than McMurdo's as well. offering a more intimate and cozy Christmas experience. new Year's Eve is likely more subdued at Scott Base as well.

Palmer Base houses only about 43 people, so Christmas is like a sardine can there. However, Palmer residents find ways to celebrate and can visit Scott Base and McMurdo.The people at the various bases do visit one another and look forward to the travel.

The Christmas Holiday Season at Palmer Station often starts in mid-December. For this, a sugar cookie bake off is often part of the opening activities and people have fun with their recipes. Then Christmas music is played in the station's store throughout the season, similar to cities everywhere that Christmas is celebrated. At Palmer, an elf might bring each person a red and green stocking and a jingle bell ornament or some other present when they least suspect it. Sometimes large cooking implements or scientific equipment pieces - even broken boat parts - are hung from the mess hall ceiling with red ribbons for decorations.

General Hospital at Christmas

McMurdo Station is a small city under cover all by itself, so Christmas is like Christmas elsewhere in large cities around the world. The scientists and staff celebrate in the manner that they do at home and they often get together to share their traditions in one large celebration. I don't know if Seinfeld's Festivus is part of that, but surely Hanukkah and Kwanzaa fit in and various Christmas traditions of many countries combine. Whatever nationalities serve at the station, their holidays are added in to the celebrations. The non-denominational Christian chapel, Chapel of the Snows, is located at McMurdo Station and offers services from chaplains stationed at the base.

View the attached videos for scenes of the Southern Lights, penguins, and other wildlife, and event scenes around Antarctica.

Merry Christmas!

© 2007 Patty Inglish

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      An ice berg is set to separate from Antarctic south of South America by Christmas or New Year's 2011. Meanwhile, Christmas festivities begin.

    • johnmce profile image

      johnmce 8 years ago from Brighton, UK

      Those penguins are fascinating, the way they look after their eggs and raise kids is fantastic

    • profile image

      sandy 8 years ago

      Omg glorious place so beautiful luv it sososo much but must be really cold shhiiveerrriinngg!!

      lol

    • profile image

      sa 8 years ago

      awesome place must be freezing

    • profile image

      youtubestar 9 years ago

      HI

      LOVE THIS HUB SO COOL

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Patty, this is wonderful! So, so interesting. I absolutely hate the cold, but I think it would be fascinating to see it just once.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wow, this looks like a great place to visit someday :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      It would be fun to look at McMurdo research station online - In fact, I see there are 15 different stations, which I did not know:

      http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/stati...

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great hub as always Patty. A little too cold for my liking but as I'm a computer chair traveler at the moment still a great place to visit.

      Regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I wonder if Polar Bears can survice in the south in Antarctica if moved?

      OCTOBER 24, 2008 -- From Moscow --  Polar bears are dying out in the remote Arctic region of Chukotka because of melting ice and increased killing by humans, an expert with the International Fund for Animal Welfare warned on Friday. "We need to create new protected areas in the Arctic," said Ovsyanikov, who has conducted research on behalf of IFAW. The shrinking of the Arctic ice sheet is forcing more bears to live on land in the summer where they often have trouble finding food.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Ha ha ha ha ha...another source I just read states that DNA was discovered originally in 1953. We did not hear about it here until 1967. I have to laugh.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Geology, what fun!

      If I had it to do over again, I'd major in Anthropology and Geography and be helping the Smithsonian track all the DNA strains across the globe. Of course DNA was just discovered right before I graduated from high school so who knew?

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 10 years ago from New Zealand

      Excellent hub - one place I haven't been - I did a 4 year geology degree but never got an invite to theri Antarctic programme - oh well one day!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      It would be awsome to visit!

    • gabriella05 profile image

      gabriella05 10 years ago from Oldham

      Wonderful hub patty Antarctica looks beautiful on them pictures

      Thanks for schering

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Christmas in Australia is close enough! Sounds wonderful. Do you ever go to Australia Zoo?

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 10 years ago from Scotland

      I have a shiver just looking at those pics Patty, i think i will stick to planning Christmas in Australia if i go to the southern hemisphere lol, WONDERFUL HUB thanks for sharing.....jimmy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Stacie - thanks. I have a bit of a fantasy about going to McMurdo Station to work. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Eileen, when I took a recent career assessment test, it showed that I would be best at being an explorer and cartographer. I would live to go to Antarctica for that. Did you ever see the mapping of your friend's?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi Prince Maak! I'll try to answer more requests for you!

    • Prince Maak profile image

      Prince Maak 10 years ago from Just Above the EARTH and below the SKY

      I like the way you describe, there are sm othr requests too. If possible try to answer those requests.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      So neat. It's great to learn about other areas of the world.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I love the penguines. We had a friend who did mapping in the antartica and gee it must be soooo colddd. I would die over there. Cause cannot stand the cold winter.

      Interesting hub and pics.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      O take lots of pictures for us!

    • profile image

      Wehzo 10 years ago

      Great hub! Antarctica has always been a fascinating place to me. I hope to vacation there one year soon, and hopefully witness how they celebrate both Christmases.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      It is totally another world. I am fascinated by it. Thanks for the great comments.

    • Denmarkguy profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 10 years ago from Port Townsend

      Very cool hub!

      I love reading about these odd corners of the world where I'll most likely never go.

    • Denmarkguy profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 10 years ago from Port Townsend

      Very cool hub!

      I love reading about these odd corners of the world where I'll most likely never go.

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 10 years ago

      A glorious part of the world, Antarctica.

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