Christmas in Australia

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    A typical Australian Christmas.

    Christmas where the gum trees grow,
    There is no frost and there is no snow,
    Christmas in Australia's hot -
    Cold and frosty's what it's not!
    When the bloom on the Jacaranda tree is here,

    Christmas time is near.
    —"Christmas Where the Gum Trees Grow", Australian Christmas carol

    Christmas In Australia tends to be similar to Christmas in Britain, with a few necessary changes:

    • The tree is usually a fake one, since pine trees aren't native here and nobody likes having a gum tree in their living room. However, if you grew up near a pine plantation [1], then it's more likely that you use a real tree.
    • It's hot. Very hot. Depending on locale, the temperature ranges from warmish, to sort of hot, to blood-boilingly-tarmac-melting-railroad-warping-surface-of-the-sun hot (and it's also very humid). [2] This is because Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, where, due to the planet's tilt, the seasons are the opposite to the Northern Hemisphere -- in December, it's summer.
      • As a result, later Christmas activities can involve going to the beach, assuming a) you live near a beach, and b) you're south of the Tropic of Capricorn -- most of the more notorious Australian sea life are found north of that line, and they are not a laughing matter. If your family owns a pool, odds are most of Christmas Day will be spent in it, with short breaks for lunch/dinner.
      • Such weather often results in prolonged Christmas/New Year bushfires, especially down south. Up north it's also the wet season, making the fires less common despite the higher temperatures.
      • In 2006, freak weather conditions resulted in up to 30 cm of snow falling in some mountainous areas of Victoria and New South Wales on Christmas Day.
        • In 2011, some parts of Melbourne also witnessed a white Christmas of sorts due to severe hailstorms.
    • The Christmas meal will be either an English dinner with turkey and everything, or an Australian barbecue, with steak and sausages and ice cream. In New South Wales and Queensland, it usually also involves seafood, particularly prawns. [3]
    • Presents are usually given as soon as the kids wake up (which is about 5AM, every damn year).
    • Some Australian Christmas cards depict Santa using waterskis instead of a sleigh. If he does use a sleigh, it may be pulled by kangaroos (Snow White Boomers) instead of reindeer.
      • Of course, most of the traditional Christmas imagery still remains, and Aussies will gladly sing carols about snow and give each other cards depicting winter landscapes without a shred of irony; actually, the standard winter imagery is significantly more common, both in the selling of the goods and in actual practice, and Australianisations tend to invoke cases of Cultural Cringe. They don't get Christmas-themed television episodes, though, because it's the summer non-ratings period, meaning that we only get to the Christmas-themed episodes of American sitcoms around May.
        • Although The ABC airs quite a lot of Christmas-themed stuff, including the Doctor Who Christmas special. Christmas movies also air as ubiquitously as anywhere else.
    • Melbourne has a couple of its own traditions: the Myer Christmas windows, an elaborate display in the front of department store Myer in Bourke Street, and the Boxing Day Test, a Cricket match that begins on December 26th.
      • Sydney has the same, except it's the David Jones window on Elizabeth St, and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
        • The David Jones in the Adelaide CBD has the 'Magic Cave' every year
    • Some of the state's capital cities have a Christmas pageant, an event that happens a couple of weeks before Christmas and largely consists of a parade with various Christmas/fairytale/pirate/whatever floats trundling down the main street of the CBD that's been closed off for the day.
      • The biggest of these is in Adelaide.
    • Mangoes are often eaten as a Christmas food, and crates of them are sometimes given as gifts.
      • Cherries are also very popular at Christmas. When the first tray of the season is made, it is auctioned off for a large amount of money.
    • SBS will play a Hayao Miyazaki film on Christmas Day at around 8pm.
    • In most of the larger cities, arthouse and repertory cinemas will screen Monty Python's Life of Brian on either Christmas Eve or Boxing Day (but never on the day itself).
    • Because there's some delay between American releases of films and local releases, fantasy movies tend to get released in Australia on December 26th - all three Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Tintin, Transformers: The Movie and plenty of others.
    • Don't forget Carols by Candlelight! One such event is held is almost every city in the lead-up to Christmas, but the original (and the best) is the one held in Melbourne. The Nine Network traditionally broadcasts the Melbourne carols, which have been hosted by journalist Ray Martin for nearly twenty years; neighbouring countries including New Zealand also get the broadcast of the Melbourne event for some reason.
    • It's also a tradition to play Cricket when your family is over, usually by using a plastic cricket set or substituting with something like wheelie bins and a bat. Similarly, there's beach cricket, transposing cricket to a beach setting with all the fun of trying to run around on deep sand; in which case, a boogie board generally serves as the wickets if none are available.
    • If there's one thing Australians have perfected to a fine art, it's Christmas lights. Spend some time looking around any suburb of any capital city during the Christmas season. Stunning arrays of Christmas lights will ensue, and every house will at the very least make a halfhearted attempt at joining in. It probably helps that the hotter weather is slightly more conducive to setting the things up to begin with and making touring streets a fairly pleasant prospect; achieving either probably isn't as easy when there's snow everywhere and it's freezing.
    1. pines are commercially grown for wood pulp, and most of the capital cities have dedicated "Christmas tree farms" located nearby
    2. We're not exaggerating about the railway thing. This actually happens.
    3. As has been mentioned elsewhere -- yes, prawns on the barbie. Not "shrimp".