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Merry Christmas Aussie Style

Updated on February 13, 2008

Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris

Christmas In Oz

Celebrating In The Southern Hemisphere

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to family and tradition. Sweet memories of Christmas's past surface and blend with the excitement of the coming season.

As any transplanted Aussie will tell you, celebrating Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere is an eye opening experience. To walk into stores and have the Christmas cards actually resemble the snowy landscape outside is at once thrilling and a little disconcerting. For the first time titles to songs such as "Winter Wonderland" and "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas" actually make sense. And to truly grasp why Frosty The Snowman is such an important figure during the holiday season makes you feel like you finally know the answer to one of the mysteries of the universe.

However, no matter how exciting these new traditions are, there are always certain quirky rituals from your homeland that you find yourself pining for. Maybe it is the familiarity of childhood that is calling to you. A time when the only stress in your life was deciding which color pen to write with. Or maybe it is the nostalgic memory attached to a particular tradition that gives you a feeling of closeness to family and friends who are so far away.

Whatever the reason, remembering and honouring these seasonal customs is an important part of the holiday spirit.

A Vision Of Christmas In Oz

While in Australia Santa does not go around dressed in a heavy red suit and black fur lined boots. Would you when the average temperature on Christmas day is 40 degrees Celsius? Instead he prefers thongs, red shorts, a singlet top and red suspenders.

For the Aussie leg of his journey he ditches the trusty reindeer and attaches his sleigh to "Six White Boomers." These 'boomers' are large flying kangaroos that know the Australian bush better than any other animal.

Traditional songs that are sung during the holidays are "Six White Boomers" written by famous Australian's Rolf Harris and his friend John D. Brown. The Aussie version of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" which includes crocodiles and emus as presents and also the usual array of Christmas carols.

In Australia most places host a 'Carols By Candelight' event. Where everyone gathers outside in a stadium or park and participates in an old fashioned family carolling. Candles are supplied by the thousands and light up the night sky in celebration.

Plastic trees take center stage while traditional tinsel, lights and baubles are hung with the usual colorful splendor. Some families choose to buy silver, pink or multi-colored trees to infuse their living rooms with even more holiday exuberance. The great thing about plastic, as opposed to a live tree, is that they do not require watering. An important point for a country which suffers from constant drought and water shortages.

Wonderful chocolate covered almonds, peanuts and raisins join candy canes as the treats of choice. (Why these delectable goodies have not made it up north is quite the mystery. Maybe it's an Aussie secret that's not meant to be shared. Whoops!)

The Christmas Feast

When Australians sit down to their traditional Christmas dinner the entire spread is eaten cold. That's right! The turkey, chicken or duck (which is still the centerpiece of the meal) is cooked a day ahead and then refrigerated. Along with the bird there is usually a glazed ham, lots of seafood, potato salad, fruit salad and cold cuts. Dessert consists of plum pudding flam-bayed English-style in brandy and then served with creamy custard. (To most Aussies the traditional pumpkin pie served in North America as a dessert is an oddity. The household rule always went "If you eat your vegetables then you get dessert." Since when did a vegetable become a dessert? It had to be a sneaky Mother trying to make her child healthier that invented this tradition. Only my humble opinion.)

After the excessive consumption of food most Australian's either take a nap, go to the beach or participate in a lively game of backyard cricket. Christmas picnics also abound in beautiful parks and public areas everywhere.

So, while we all shiver and light our yule tide logs to warm the heart and hearth, be assured that Aussies are warming their toes in the sun drenched days of summer during this wonderful Christmas season.

Happy Holidays to you all!


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    • justmesuzanne profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Charming! :)

    • RFox profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      For Eileen:

      So does no-one in Australia read Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley's great children's book "Six White Boomers" anymore? Or how about the latest great offering "An Aussie Night Before Christmas"? I spent the first 20 years of my life in Oz and one of the things I appreciated was the truly original xmas offerings by Australian artists and musicians. It may be true that the mall Santa's still wear the traditional get-up but in literature, cards and cartoons he ditched the traditional suit a long time ago! Kangaroos as sleigh pullers have been around forever in Australia. And from what I've heard on the East Coast there is a movement to usurp Santa with a Swagman at Xmas. The story being that Santa might get heat stroke. (Hahaha). Anyways, I understand many people don't like the stereotype of Bushland Australia but I did live in the bush with kangaroos who made their way across my farm every evening at dusk so I guess I should have called it an "Outback Christmas." It was just my personal vision of my childhood memories of xmas. Thanks for all your comments though, I enjoy hearing people's reponses! And a Merry Xmas to you too.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Hate to disagree but Australia Santa does go around dressed in a heavy red suit and black boots.

      And as the story goes, they just organised his newest sleigh and confirmed the airport flight plan for him to fly in safely with his reindeers.

      And sorry again to disagree. Some Australians are subjected to between 38- 48 degree temperatures so they will prefer cold xmas dinner but there are many many more who still have the traditional Cooked Turkey, Roast Pork, and the leg of ham, with roast vegetables. Then the plum pudding with either custard or icecream.

      I had to let you know this because some people believe we live in bushland with the kangaroos in Australia.  Believe me we do not.  Have a really Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year,  Ho Ho Ho.

    • omdelhi profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from New Delhi

      Great update on Aussi's Christmas. thans for sharing.

    • RFox profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Yes MrMarmalade, the vision is definitely different in the country than the city. This is what I grew up with, however my Brother lives in Sydney so I know it's done different there! That's what makes Christmas so great. The variety! Thanks to you both for your comments.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      A slightly distorted vision, then I have never been out in the bush at Christmas.

      Never the less a truly great hub

      Thank you

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      What a lovely vision RFox!! Thank you for sharing!! I am a California girl through and through, yet I have often thought if I were to move anywhere else in the world, it would be down under!! Thank you for sharing such a delightful Hub!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!


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