From backyard barbeques to celebrations by the beach, Christmas in Australia is unlike any other!

When most think of Christmas, snow-covered streets, fireplace marshmallows, and mulled wine come to mind. But as Christmas is held in the middle of Australia’s blistering summer, we do things quite differently here, trading snow for sunshine and mulled wine for a frosty cold beer. While no two Christmas tables look the same in the land of Aussie, there are some long-honoured traditions that remain a constant among them all, here are some of our top favourites.

  • Beach Day

    A beach day may be a strange activity for those used to a white Christmas, but for Aussie locals, it is a staple activity. A pair of bathers remains the traditional attire for the holiday season, with some even dressing up as Santa (a board short-wearing Santa kind) to surf the waves. So join in on the fun and hit the waves, enjoying a relaxing beach party for your Christmas Day!

  • BBQ Celebrations

    ‘Whack it on the Barbie’ is a common phrase during the holiday season in Australia, with an outdoor barbeque one of the main settings for Christmas celebrations. Whether it is in the backyard, the beach, or the local park, a BBQ is always needed for Christmas lunch recipes.

  • Boxing Day Test

    Once the family gatherings are over, us Australians usually enjoy their second public holiday with yet another barbeque, catching up with friends and family over an esky of beer in a mate’s backyard. But the main appeal of this holiday is the Boxing Day Test, a cricket match held annually at Melbourne’s Cricket Ground. Folks gather around their TVs as they enjoy the long game with drinks and nibbles in hand. Once seeing the pros go at on the TV, many Australia’s do their own cricket match in the backyard, showing off their skills after their second or third beer.

  • Prawns

    In most Christmas movies, the staple foods on the table are steaming roasts, mash potatoes and chocolate puddings. But Aussies swap these all for a serving of seafood, especially prawns. In most Australian homes, Christmas isn’t complete without a platter of prawns, from cold cocktails to a BBQ king prawn. The tradition started in 1984, with Paul Hogan creating the idea of throwing ‘an extra shrimp on the barbie’ for a tourism campaign.

  • Christmas Street Parties

    One of the best highlights of summer are the relaxing hot nights! The heat lingers around well after the sunset for a perfect outdoor setting, perfect for Christmas street parties. Hundreds of Aussie blocks partake in this tradition, coming together on the road and enjoying the company of their next-door neighbour.

  • Christmas Lights

    From giant trees and colourful baubles to delightful light displays, the Christmas lights around Australia are a tradition in both the cities and suburbs. Aimed at spreading the joy and holiday, the streets come alive with these bright lights. Regardless of where you are in Australia, there is most likely a Christmas light display nearby, from selected streets in the suburbs that come alive with amateur light presentations, to professional displays around town arranged by city councils.

  • Carols by Candlelight

    Growing in popularity over the years, most cities in Australia now host their own Carols by Candlelight, each with their own celebrity performers and unique style. The Carols by Candlelight is a peaceful experience, with family’s packings picnics, groups sitting on blankets, and the entire region flooded with Christmas music. All proceeds go to charity, so it is just one way to help out the community while celebrating the holidays.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

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