There are so many things in Australia that are different from the rest of the world. Australia really is upside down and we have our own American to explain 7 Aussie Christmas traditions Americans find weird. From pavlova to surfing Santas, there are so many uniquely Australian Christmas traditions…
Photo by Lynda Hinton on Unsplash.
7 Australian Christmas Traditions Americans Find Weird
1. Boxing Day.
Boxing Day is essentially Australia’s version of Black Friday, and while Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. Americans find Boxing Day weird because while Black Friday is before Christmas, when you buy all the presents you need to get (AKA a way which makes sense), Boxing Day is after Christmas, when the present-giving holiday is over, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.
However, there is a reason for this. Boxing Day originated from when the rich would give presents to servants, tradespeople and the poor, and was a day off for servants. Although it’s now a day when shops have their massive sales, where Aussies can grab a good bargain, many don’t know it’s meant to be a day of giving back to the poor.
Another thing I found while going to high school in Australia was a lot of my friends’ families shared the same tradition of giving the children money for Christmas, rather than presents. This was so they could go and buy their own presents on Boxing Day, when they were on sale.
Besides the sales that occur on Boxing Day, Aussies also often spend this day at the beach and or cooking up a storm using a BBQ by the pool. Australians really don’t mind the scorching temperatures and embrace the warm climate, even during winter-themed holidays.
2. Australians don’t send each other Christmas cards.
Australians do still line up to get photos with Santa in the mall (AKA shopping centre here in Aus), but they don’t send friends and family Christmas cards. As someone who annually took family Christmas photos to send to friends, family (and sometimes teachers), I found it bizarre that they took photos, but only to put them on their own fridge.
Don’t get me wrong, Aussie families will send each other Christmas cards, but they’re the store bought ones, not customised ones.
3. Surfing Santas.
To this day, surfing Santas still shock me. If you head to the beach on Christmas, then it’s not unlikely you may see a few surfing Santas. This may be the epitome of Australian culture, seeing local Aussies hit the waves — in full Santa gear.
4. Going to the beach on Christmas (and Boxing Day).
The entirety of Christmas is different in Australia, and is the leading factor to really confirm that Australia is upside down. Yes they go to the beach on Christmas.
In Australia, the first of December marks the first day of summer, so it’s no surprise that Christmas is usually quite hot in Aussieland. While Christmas usually entails wearing warm pyjamas and curling up on the couch with a warm hot chocolate, Australians are spending it at the beach surfing, looking forward to an arvo BBQ.
5. Having a Christmas BBQ.
You heard me right — it’s an Australian tradition to have a family BBQ on Christmas. While Americans whip up a warm roast, Australians are throwing prawns on the barbie (yes, they are called prawns in Australia, not shrimp). I will admit barbecues are a summer thing, and it is summer in December in Australia, so it’s not surprising. However, it is Christmas, which is why the whole BBQ situation is confusing to Americans.
6. Cold Christmas Food.
If they’re not having a BBQ, then Aussies will be eating cold food for Christmas. In particular, they are known to love their cold seafood and pavlova. We get it — it’s summer. But, cold food isn’t very “Christmassy” in my (American) eyes. Expecting a warm, holiday roast like in the US, is not what you’ll come to find in Australia on Christmas Day. That brings me to my next point – pavlova.
Pavlova is a glorious, white, fluffy, refreshing New Zealand/Australian dessert. It is a light, white, crispy and sweet meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. I will admit, I’ve come to love a good pavlova, it’s crispy on the outside, with a fluffy and light inside that almost dissolves on your tastebuds. The combination of cold, refreshing fruit and whipped cream really does “top it off,” and this is a tradition I am happy to embrace.
Fun fact: This dreamy dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
Speaking of Christmas, have you got your presents sorted? You can find your local gift services on localsearch.com.au!