Summer Santa and Seafood: 20 Fun Facts About Christmas in Australia

Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Project Party

Immerse yourself in the unique holiday traditions of the Land Down Under, as we journey through some fun facts about Christmas in Australia. Unlike the snowy landscapes and cozy hearth-centered celebrations that characterize Christmas in many parts of the world, Australia’s festive season is a sun-soaked affair, thanks to it coinciding with our summer months.

Here, the crackling log fires give way to sizzling barbecues and the snow-laden streets are replaced by sandy beaches and refreshing swimming pools. Instead of huddling indoors, Australians embrace the warmth and sunshine, often celebrating Christmas outdoors. Traditional roast turkey and trimmings? Not so common here. Our Christmas party dinner tables are more likely to feature an array of barbecued meats like chicken, lamb, and beef, reflecting our love for a good old Aussie barbecue.

If you ever find yourself fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas Down Under, be ready for a distinctly Australian experience, filled with unique traditions and customs. To better acquaint you with our festive practices, we’ve compiled a list of 10 engaging fun facts about Christmas in Australia. Prepare to be intrigued as we delve into how we Aussies add our unique touch to the holiday season:

1. Christmas Trees in Australia: They Go Up Early.

Australians love getting into the festive spirit, with most of us putting up our trees in October or November. A recent survey found that almost 70% of us have our trees up before December! While some people might see this as getting ahead of the game, we like to think of it as being prepared for the Christmas rush. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to put up your tree amid all the festive chaos! Plus, it’s always nice to have your tree up early so you can enjoy it for longer. So if you’re looking to get a head start on your Christmas preparations, make sure you put your tree up in October or November!

A hand putting the star on top of a Christmas tree
In anticipation of the festive season, Australians often set up their Christmas trees early, with many households gleaming with holiday decorations as soon as the calendar flips to December.

2. Beach Barbecue: A Christmas Day Delight; An Australian Tradition.

What could be better than firing up the grill and enjoying a seafood feast with family and friends on a hot summer’s day? This is a popular way of celebrating Christmas in Australia, with many families heading to the beach for a barbie and some fun in the sun. Popular barbecue choices include prawns, crabs, fish, lamb and steak – yum! Generally, outdoors is the preferred location, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate you can always move your festivities to a nearby park or even to your backyard

3. Main Celebration: Christmas Day in Australia.

Unlike Europe where Christmas Eve celebrations are common, Australians typically gather and celebrate on Christmas Day. It’s a day filled with joy, laughter, and lots of delicious food, be it a traditional roast dinner or an Aussie barbecue. This focus on Christmas Day reflects Australia’s unique cultural practices and is another interesting aspect of how Australians celebrate the holiday season.

4. Alfresco Dining: An Australian Christmas Tradition.

Given Christmas parties fall during Australia’s summer, the meal is often held outdoors – in backyards, parks, or even near the beach. This alfresco dining tradition reflects Australia’s warm climate and love for the great outdoors. An Australian Christmas meal often involves barbecuing, picnicking, and enjoying the company of loved ones under the sun.

5. Unique Phenomenon: Celebrating ‘Christmas in July’ in Australia.

Some Australians celebrate a secondary Christmas in July, enjoying winter festivities that would be out of place during the actual Christmas season. This celebration offers a chance to enjoy traditional Christmas meals and activities in colder weather, mimicking the northern hemisphere’s Christmas season. It’s a fun fact that showcases Australia’s love for festivities and innovative ways to experience a “white Christmas”, even in a country known for its warm weather.

6. Gift-Giving Traditions in Australia: Kris Kringle or Bad Santa.

Kris Kringle (also known as Secret Santa in some countries) is a fun gift-giving tradition that’s been around since the early 20th century. It involves each person in a group drawing the name of another person and then buying them a present or giving them a small token of appreciation. There’s also Bad Santa, where people give each other gag gifts or prank presents as a joke! Either way, it’s a fun tradition that can make Christmas parties extra special. So, if you’re looking for a way to spread some Christmas cheer this year, why not give Kris Kringle or Bad Santa a try?

A couple of wrapped Christmas presents
“Bad Santa” gift giving is a fun and often hilarious holiday tradition where participants draw numbers to determine a gift selection order, then each person can either choose a new gift to unwrap or “steal” a previously opened gift from someone else.

7. Australian Christmas Festivities: Home Decorations Play a Significant Part.

No matter where you are in Australia, people get into the spirit of Christmas by decorating their homes. From fairy lights draped over windows and doorways to trees covered in tinsel and baubles, there’s no shortage of festive cheer. Some families even go all out with life-sized nativity scenes and elaborate decorations outside their houses! No matter how you decide to decorate your home, it’s sure to bring a little extra sparkle and happiness this Christmas. Just be careful not to go overboard – you don’t want your house to look like Santa’s grotto!

8. Traditional Christmas Dinner? Not Quite; It’s Different in Australia!

For many people in Australia, the sound of Christmas is the sizzle of shrimp on the barbie. That’s right – instead of roast turkey and stuffing, many Australian families enjoy a barbecue or seafood feast on Christmas Day. While it might seem unusual to outsiders, there are tons of reasons why seafood makes sense for a summer Christmas. First of all, it’s much lighter than a traditional roast, which can be a relief after all the heavy eating that happens during the holidays. Plus, seafood is generally quick and easy to cook, so you can spend more time enjoying the company of your friends and family. And let’s be honest – when it’s hot outside, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a cold beer and digging into a plate of steamed crabs. So if you find yourself Down Under this holiday season, don’t be surprised if you’re invited to a seafood Christmas. Just be sure to bring your appetite.

9. Cherished Tradition: ‘Carols by Candlelight’ at Christmas in Australia.

Carols by Candlelight is an iconic Australian tradition that takes place every December. It’s a magical event where people come together to sing Christmas carols while holding candles and torches in the dark. It’s a beautiful sight and one that will bring a tear to your eye! The tradition began in 1937 as part of a radio broadcast and quickly became popular nationwide. Today, carols by candlelight take place all over Australia. It’s the perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit and spend some quality time with loved ones.

10. “Six White Boomers”: A Unique Australian Christmas Song.

“Six White Boomers” is an entertaining Christmas song unique to Australia. It tells a creative story of how Santa replaces his reindeer with six white kangaroos, or ‘boomers’, due to the Australian heat. This adaptation of Christmas lore to suit Australia’s climate highlights the country’s sense of humour and ingenuity, showcasing how Australians have put their unique spin on traditional Christmas symbols and stories.

11.  Timeless Classics: ABC’s Australian Christmas Carols.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) released a series of Australian Christmas Carols in the mid-1950s that have become timeless classics. These carols, enjoyed by generations of Australians, underscore the strong cultural identity and communal spirit that characterize Australian Christmas celebrations. Singing these carols together during the holiday season is a beloved tradition that brings communities together.

12. South Australia’s Special Celebrations: Proclamation Day.

South Australia celebrates Proclamation Day on December 26th, aligning with other states’ Boxing Day. This day commemorates the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province. The celebration of Proclamation Day as a public holiday adds a unique twist to post-Christmas celebrations in Australia, highlighting the unique local traditions and holidays that are part of the festive season in the country.

13. Endearing Tradition: Extended Holiday Season at Christmas in Australia.

The Christmas holiday period in Australia usually extends from mid-December to early February. This extended holiday season allows Australians to fully enjoy the festive season and summer holidays, filled with activities like family gatherings, beach visits, barbecues, and sports events. It’s a vibrant and cheerful time of the year that captures the spirit of an Australian Christmas.

14. Santa’s Arrival in Australia: By Boat or Surfboard, Not Sleigh.

Santa is a popular figure all over the world, but in Australia, he has to make some adjustments to his usual routine. Instead of coming down the chimney or harnessing reindeer to pull his sleigh, Santa often arrives by boat or surfboard. So if you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, keep an eye out for Santa when he’s due to arrive! Santa isn’t the only one who has to make changes in Australia. Instead of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, many children leave a cold drink and cake for him. And instead of a cosy fire in the fireplace, Santa often finds himself sweating in front of a fan or air conditioner! But no matter how hot it is, Santa always brings plenty of gifts for all the good boys and girls Down Under.

A Santa underwater at an aquarium
In Australia, a unique and delightful sight during Christmas is Santa swapping his traditional snowy backdrop for the sunny beaches, often arriving by surfboard to spread holiday cheer among beachgoers.

15. Year-Round Phenomenon in Australia: Santa Claus Sightings!

Could it be that Santa is Australian? After all, he does seem to make an awful lot of appearances Down Under – and not just at Christmas time! Santa is so popular in Australia that he even has his holiday: Christmas in July. This festive event takes place during the middle of winter when Australians are longing for some Christmas cheer. And who better to provide it than the big man himself! Santa appears at all sorts of events and functions during the lead-up to Christmas in July, bringing joy to children (and adults) of all ages. So if you’re ever feeling a bit down during the winter months, keep an eye out for Santa – he might make a surprise appearance!

16. Quintessential Australian Christmas Traditions: Beach Barbecues and Cricket Matches.

Given Australia’s warm December weather, Christmas traditions often include beach barbecues, cricket matches, and festive picnics. These activities capture Australia’s love for outdoor fun and camaraderie, offering a unique and enjoyable way to celebrate a Christmas party. They showcase the unique ways in which Australians enjoy the holiday season, making the most of the warm weather and beautiful outdoor spaces.

17. Christmas Wildlife: Australia’s unique animals feature in holiday decorations.

One of the unique and endearing fun facts about Christmas in Australia is the incorporation of native wildlife in their holiday decorations. Unlike the traditional reindeer and polar bears often seen in other parts of the world, Australians celebrate their unique fauna. It’s quite common to see colourful ornaments and lights shaped like kangaroos, koalas, and even wombats! This distinct Aussie touch not only adds to the festive cheer but also instils a sense of national pride during the holiday season.

18. Cracking Fun: Christmas crackers, with gifts and jokes, are an Aussie staple.

Another fun fact about Christmas in Australia is their love for Christmas crackers or ‘bon bons’. These brightly coloured, tube-shaped gifts are a staple at every Aussie Christmas meal. Each cracker contains a small gift, a paper crown, and a joke or riddle. The tradition involves two people pulling the ends of the cracker until it splits with a bang, revealing the contents inside. It’s a delightful way to add laughter and joy to the festive feast.

A few Christmas bon-bons
The tradition of Christmas bon bons, also known as Christmas crackers, dates back to the mid-1800s and includes a fun surprise inside like a paper crown hat and a bad joke or riddle, adding a touch of laughter and festive cheer to the holiday celebrations.

19. Open-Air Concerts: Warm weather enables outdoor Christmas concerts.

Due to the warm December weather, one of the most enjoyable fun facts about Christmas in Australia is the prevalence of outdoor concerts. Parks, gardens, and public spaces come alive with the sound of Christmas carols and live music. Families and friends gather, often with picnics, to sing along and enjoy the festive atmosphere under the stars. It’s a uniquely Australian way to celebrate the holiday season, blending the traditional Christmas spirit with their love for the great outdoors.

20. Boxing Day Test: This cricket match is a holiday highlight for many Australians.

Cricket is synonymous with Australian culture, and the Boxing Day Test match is a major highlight of the Christmas season. This iconic cricket match, held every year from December 26th, is one of the fun facts about Christmas in Australia that sports fans worldwide look forward to. Whether attending the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or watching it on television, Australians unite in their love for the sport during this festive period. It’s a tradition that truly captures the Aussie spirit.

Embracing the Aussie Spirit: Concluding Our Journey Through Fun Facts About Christmas in Australia

As we wrap up our exploration of ‘Summer Santa and Seafood: 20 Fun Facts About Christmas in Australia’, it’s clear that this sun-soaked country offers a unique take on the festive season. Whether you’re basking in the golden glow at the beach, indulging in a feast of fresh seafood, or lending your voice to a lively rendition of ‘The 12 Days of Aussie Christmas’, celebrating Christmas Down Under is an experience like no other.

We hope that these fun facts about Christmas in Australia have given you an exciting glimpse into the unique traditions, delightful customs, and warm camaraderie that characterize the Australian way of celebrating the holiday season. The spirit of an Aussie Christmas party is all about enjoying the sunny outdoors, embracing community, and savouring the distinctive local flavours, all while staying safe and cherishing the company of loved ones.

So, whether you’re an Australian revelling in familiar traditions or an intrigued visitor ready to dive into a new cultural experience, we wish you a joyful, safe, and memorable festive season. May your days be filled with Australian sunshine and holiday cheer. Merry Christmas, everyone!