27 Christmas in Australia Fun Facts to Enlighten You

Updated on January 2, 2024
Christmas in Australia fun facts

While most of the world envisions a white Christmas blanketed in snow, picture this: golden sands, a sun-soaked coast, and Santa donning shorts. Yep, that’s Australia for you! A land where the festive spirit thrives amidst sizzling barbecues and surfer waves. But this isn’t your regular beach vacation—it’s the Aussie way of ushering in Christmas cheer.

From summer Santa makeovers to coastal celebrations, the land Down Under has its own set of interesting facts and trivia that make December uniquely Australian. Intrigued? Let’s dive in!

1. Sizzling Summers: Christmas Down Under in December

In the northern hemisphere, Christmas conjures images of frosty windows and warm fireplaces. Not in Australia! December marks the beginning of the Australian summer, making Christmas a sunlit affair. It’s a festive season that exchanges snowflakes for sun rays.

This shift in weather dynamics paints a unique holiday picture. While carolers in the North might bundle up, Aussies gear up for balmy Christmas Eve parties under the starlit sky.

A sunny Australian beach on a December day

Image source: thesun.co.uk

2. Beachy Celebrations: Aussies’ Coastal Christmas Tradition

Australians celebrate Christmas in style and what’s better than marking the holiday at the beach? Family picnics, beach cricket, and building sand snowmen—Christmas Eve here isn’t just about the tree and tinsel, it’s about the waves and the golden sand.

As odd as it might seem to outsiders, this beach tradition is a testament to Australia’s embrace of its climate and landscape. It’s not just a day at the beach; it’s a day of unity, joy, and Aussie pride.

A family celebrates Christmas in Australia

Image source: shropshirestar.com

3. Santa’s Aussie Attire: The Summer Makeover

One of the fun facts about Christmas in Australia is how Santa adapts to the summer climate. Trade in Santa’s fluffy red coat for a breezy tank top. In Australia, Saint Nick undergoes a sartorial transformation. Given the scorching summer temperatures, it’s only fitting that Santa swaps his warm boots for some comfy flip-flops, and sometimes, he even catches waves on a surfboard!

This warm-weather attire adds a delightful Aussie twist to the age-old Santa imagery. The children eagerly await a sun-kissed Santa who brings in the spirit of the season, blending traditions with a hint of Aussie innovation.

Santa on the beach in Australia with a surfboard under his arm

Image source: istillcallaustraliahome.com

4. Seafood on the Menu: Traditional Festive Feasts

Roasts? Think again! Australia’s location gifts it with an abundance of seafood, and come Christmas, the dishes on the table reflect this bounty. According to Seafood Industry Australia, over 40% of the nation’s annual prawn sales happen during the festive season. Historical records suggest that this shift from traditional meats to seafood began in the 20th century as the country modernized and transportation improved, allowing for fresher seafood to be widely available.

Prawns, oysters, and lobsters often steal the show at Christmas lunches. So, if you’re down under during December, gear up for a maritime feast unlike any other.

People buying fresh seafood at Sydney Fish Markets on Christmas Eve. Sydney, Australia.

People buying fresh seafood at Sydney Fish Markets on Christmas Eve. Sydney, Australia. Image source: seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au

5. Christmas Bush: Australia’s Festive Floral

Forget the holly and the mistletoe; Australia boasts its unique floral emblem during the festive season—the Christmas Bush. Native to the eastern coast of Australia, this plant transforms into a bright red spectacle around Christmas. Historical texts show that indigenous Australians have used this plant for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

These vibrant red sepals have not only been a staple in Australian Christmas decorations since the 1800s but also echo the nation’s rich biodiversity. When in Australia during the holidays, witnessing a blooming Christmas Bush is a must!

6. The Christmas Cricket: A Sporting Celebration

Cricket and Christmas might seem an unlikely pair, but not in Australia. The Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne is an iconic event that’s been held since 1950. It’s a tradition for many Australian families to tune in or flock to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26th. Interestingly, records from the late 1800s mention informal cricket matches being played on Christmas Day, proving the sport’s long-standing association with the festive season.

It’s not just a game; it’s an integral part of the country’s Christmas fabric, merging the passion for sports with festive jubilations.

Melbourne Cricket Ground during the Boxing Day

Image source: mcg.org.au

7. Carols by Candlelight: Melbourne’s Sparkling Event

Originating in the 1930s, Melbourne’s “Carols by Candlelight” is a heartwarming event that’s become an Australian Christmas staple. Vision Australia’s annual event has seen participation soar over the decades, with data indicating a live audience of over 10,000 people and millions more tuning in via television in recent years.

It’s not just about the songs; it’s about community, compassion, and the spirit of giving. All proceeds from the event go to children who are blind or have low vision. A magical night of music under the summer sky, this tradition beautifully encapsulates the Australian spirit.

A wide-angle shot of the "Carols by Candlelight" event

Image source: retailworldmagazine.com.au

8. ‘Boxing Day’ Bonanza: December 26, A Day to Remember

One of the fun facts about Christmas in Australia centers on Boxing Day. Think Christmas Day hangover? Not in Australia, mate! Boxing Day, or December 26, is far from a lazy afterthought—it’s an explosion of passion and excitement. Rooted deep in British tradition, the day originally signified the act of employers giving “Christmas boxes” to workers and the needy. Australia, never one to be left in the festive shadows, put its distinctive stamp on the event. Alongside the nail-biting cricket matches, cities transform into shopping meccas. Here’s a mind-boggler: in 2019, Australians burnt through a whopping A$2 billion in Boxing Day shopping escapades!

And for those who can resist the shopping siren’s call, there’s the breathtaking Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which, for yachting aficionados, is akin to the Olympics. This iconic race is not just about winning; it’s a testament to skill, endurance, and the indomitable Australian spirit. So, whether you’re a sports junkie, a shopping maven, or someone in between, Boxing Day in Australia promises a whirlwind of memories.

A bustling shopping precinct in Australia, teeming with Boxing Day enthusiasts

Image source: thewest.com.au

9. Gold Coins in Pudding: An Age-Old Tradition

Mince pies and Christmas puddings are delicious, but in Australia, there’s an added element of surprise—a gold coin! A practice rooted in British tradition, the coin is baked into the pudding, and finding it is said to bring good luck. Historical records date this tradition back to the Tudor era, where different objects with symbolic meanings were hidden in desserts.

Fast forward to today, and many Australian families uphold this tradition. But a word of advice: munch slowly or you might just bite into more than a raisin!

Christmas pudding with a gold coin peeking out

Image source: pudforallseasons.com.au

10. Santa’s Unique Rides: Skis Over Sleighs

The idea of Santa gliding on snow-covered rooftops might be universal, but Aussies have given it a twist. Given the summer climate, there have been tales and songs about Santa ditching his reindeers for kangaroos or swapping his sleigh for water skis! Historical data shows “Six White Boomers,” a popular Australian Christmas song from 1960, detailing Santa’s kangaroo-pulled sleigh ride.

This twist on Santa’s mode of transport encapsulates Australia’s unique blend of global traditions with a local touch.

Santa on water skis

Image source: spiegel.de

11. Eucalyptus Wreaths: Aussie’s Natural Decoration

Instead of the traditional pine or holly, many Australians craft Christmas wreaths from eucalyptus leaves and blossoms. Not only does it give a unique Australian twist to the decor, but it also fills homes with a fresh, distinct aroma.

Historically, using local flora for celebrations has always been a part of Indigenous cultures. Today, it stands as a sustainable and locally-inspired choice, with many workshops teaching the art of eucalyptus wreath-making during the festive season.

Eucalyptus wreath for Christmas

Image source: pickledbarrel.com

12. Christmas-Themed Sand Sculptures: Beach Artistry in Full Swing

In the realm of Australian Christmas traditions, here’s one that might just ‘sand’ out! While many dream of white, snow-clad Christmases, Aussies often substitute snowmen with spectacular sand sculptures. As December’s summer rays beat down, beaches and coastal towns host sand sculpting competitions with Christmas themes. Artists mold intricate depictions of the Nativity, Santa, and other festive symbols, all from sun-kissed grains.

It’s fascinating how Australia has taken universal Christmas icons and blended them seamlessly with its beach culture. For many, it’s become an annual pilgrimage, heading to the beach not just to swim but to admire these transient masterpieces.

A sandy snowman in Australia

Image source: kidsportmac.com.au

13. Pavlova Pride: A Sweet Christmas Treat

If there’s one dessert that sparks a bit of trans-Tasman rivalry, it’s the Pavlova. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during her tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s, this meringue-based delicacy has been a point of contention: who made it first? Regardless of its origin story, Australians have embraced this dessert, especially during Christmas. Topped with fresh summer fruits and whipped cream, it’s a sweet reflection of the season.

Light, airy, and undeniably delicious, the Pavlova is an Australian Christmas table must-have.

Christmas Pavlova

Image source: delicious.com.au

14. Post-Lunch Nap: An Unofficial Tradition

Let’s be real: after feasting on seafood, roast meats, and delectable desserts, who wouldn’t want a wee snooze? Among the fun facts about Christmas in Australia, the post-lunch nap stands out as a delightful, albeit unofficial, tradition. The post-lunch nap, while unofficial, is as much an Australian Christmas tradition as any. Interestingly, this phenomenon isn’t unique to Australia. Medical research has shown that consuming large meals can increase drowsiness, thanks to the body directing more blood to the digestive system.

Whether it’s to escape the midday heat or just to digest that extra serving of pudding, a short siesta post the Christmas lunch is an Aussie holiday norm.

15. Christmas Day Swim: Cooling Off in Style

An Aussie Christmas, with its summer backdrop, offers a refreshing twist to holiday traditions: the Christmas Day swim. Beaches like Bondi and Manly turn into festive hubs with locals and tourists alike donning Santa hats and swimsuits. This isn’t just a recent fad. Historical photos from the early 1900s show Aussies diving into the ocean to beat the December heat.

It’s a sight to behold: a fusion of festive colors against the azure backdrop of the ocean. If you’re in Australia during Christmas, a swim is both a reprieve from the heat and a dive into tradition!

Crowded Australian beach with swimmers wearing Santa hats

Image source: thesun.co.uk

16. Gifting in Advance: The Secret Santa Trend

“Who’s your Secret Santa?” It’s a question many Australians eagerly anticipate as December rolls in. The concept, which has roots in Nordic tradition, has firmly found its place in Australian workplaces, schools, and friend circles. Participants draw names, ensuring their identity remains a secret to the giftee, and then buy a gift within a set budget. Come Christmas party time, the intrigue heightens as gifts are exchanged, and everyone tries to guess their mysterious benefactor.

The trend embodies the true spirit of gifting: it’s not about the price tag, but the thought and the suspense-filled fun that counts!

From Secret Santa

Image source: honey.nine.com.au

17. Christmas Koalas: Australia’s Furry Festive Mascot

Move over reindeer, the koalas are taking center stage! While Rudolph has his charm, Australia celebrates with its native critter: the koala. Christmas cards, ornaments, and decorations often feature this cuddly marsupial sporting a Santa hat or wrapped in tinsel. It’s a quirky, heartwarming blend of global Christmas symbolism with distinct Aussie flair.

Many local councils and communities even host “Koala spotting” tours during the holiday season, where families can witness these creatures in their natural habitat. It’s a reminder that while traditions can be global, the local touch makes them special.

Australia koala wearing a red Santa hat

Image source: Pinterest

18. Yowie – Australia’s Christmas Cryptid

Australia, with its diverse fauna, also boasts a legendary creature – the Yowie. Comparable to North America’s Bigfoot, Yowie sightings, though debated, have been a part of Australian folklore for centuries. During Christmas, this cryptid finds its way into conversations, stories, and even holiday decorations, offering a unique twist to the traditional holiday narrative.

Children and adults alike enjoy Yowie-themed chocolates and toys, making it a fun and intriguing element of the Australian Christmas traditions. After all, who needs elves when you’ve got an elusive, larger-than-life creature roaming the outbacks?

Yowie-themed Christmas decorations or chocolates displayed in an Aussie

Image source: yahoo.com

19. Decking the Outdoors: Gardens Over Interiors

While many cultures focus on adorning their home interiors during Christmas, Australians often turn their attention outward. Given the pleasant December summer, gardens, patios, and backyards take center stage. Twinkling fairy lights drape over native trees, inflatable Santas wave from lawns, and the hum of festive tunes fills the air.

In some communities, it’s even become a friendly competition, with neighbors vying for the title of “Best Decorated Garden.” This outdoor decorating frenzy reflects the Aussie penchant for making the most of their summer Christmases.

Australia, the entrance to a house decorated for Christmas

Image source: bhg.com.au

20. Wildlife Greetings: Unique Australian Cards

Forget snowmen and reindeer! Australian Christmas cards have a touch of the wild. Kangaroos with Santa hats, koalas clutching Christmas gifts, and wombats wearing scarves are common imagery. This interesting fact showcases Australia’s rich biodiversity and the unique way Australians celebrate Christmas.

These cards, often handmade or painted, are not only exchanged within the country but also sent overseas, providing a delightful Aussie touch to friends and family around the globe.

A collection of Australian-themed Christmas cards

Image source: Etsy

21. Festive Fireworks: Lighting Up the Australian Skies

Australia knows how to party, and Christmas is no exception! While globally fireworks are often associated with New Year’s Eve, in parts of Australia, they light up the skies on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too. Some cities and communities host special Christmas-themed firework displays, attracting both locals and tourists.

These pyrotechnic displays aren’t just for show; they symbolize unity, joy, and the luminous spirit of the holiday season.

Fireworks illuminating an Australian city's skyline during Christmas

Image source: westendcentral.com.au

22. Musical Streets: Buskers Bringing Cheer

Streets of Australian cities and towns echo with melodies during December. One of the fun facts about Christmas in Australia is how the streets come alive with musical melodies, thanks to the talented buskers. Buskers, or street performers, play an integral role in setting the festive mood. From age-old carols to contemporary Christmas hits, these artists fill the air with sonic joy. Historically, busking has been an art form allowing musicians to share their craft while entertaining the masses.

Passersby often stop, sing along, or even dance, turning sidewalks into spontaneous celebration zones. The coins and notes tossed into their hats? Just a small token for the immense joy they provide.

A talented busker playing Christmas tunes to an enchanted Australian crowd

Image source: abc.net.au

23. Surfing Santas: An Aussie Coastal Tradition

It’s not Christmas in some parts of Australia until you’ve seen Santa riding a wave! Surfing Santas have become an iconic sight on Australian beaches. What started as a fun idea has turned into a coastal tradition. Every year, groups of surfers don their Santa suits and hit the waves, much to the delight of onlookers.

Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia and Bondi Beach in Sydney are famous hotspots for this sun-soaked Santa spectacle. And honestly, can it get more Australian than that?

24. Christmas Camping: An Outdoor Escapade

For those wanting to escape the urban bustle, Christmas camping is a popular choice. Families pack their tents, load their caravans, and venture into the wilderness. Australia’s national parks and coastal campgrounds become lively hubs during the holiday season.

The charm lies in simplicity: starlit skies, stories around campfires, and a Christmas feast cooked on a portable BBQ. It’s a return to nature and a celebration of the Australian landscape’s raw beauty during the festive season.

25. “Christmas in July”: Winter Wonderland in Aussie Style

While December brings a sunny Christmas to Australians, many choose to recreate the wintry magic of traditional Christmases in July. The Blue Mountains, in particular, become a hub for this unique celebration. In contrast to the summer festivity, “Christmas in July” revels in the cooler temperatures, offering a semblance of the Northern Hemisphere’s snowy holiday.

Hot chocolates, warm fires, and winter-themed decor take center stage. Hotels and restaurants might serve traditional roast dinners, mince pies, and mulled wine. It’s a nostalgic nod to the colder Christmases depicted in classic tales and songs.

Christmas in July in Australia

Image source: christmasinjuly.com.au

26. Christmas Lantern Parades: Lighting the Festive Path

As December nights draw in, various Australian towns and suburbs engage in lantern parades. These community-driven events showcase lanterns of all shapes and sizes, often handmade, representing the spirit of Christmas. These parades, reminiscent of age-old traditions, see schools and communities collaborate in the name of festivity.

Walking beneath the southern stars, lantern-bearers bring a warm glow to the summer night. Witnessing these parades, you’ll see anything from traditional Christmas symbols to unique Australian designs.

Christmas Lantern Parade in Australia

Image source: theweekendedition.com.au

27. Festive Farm Visits: Meeting the Christmas Animals

Diving into fun facts about Christmas in Australia, one can’t miss the tradition of festive farm visits that bring families closer to the nativity story. Australia’s vast rural landscape comes alive during Christmas with farm visits. Many farms, acknowledging the country’s agricultural roots, open their gates for families to meet farm animals associated with the Nativity story. It’s a unique way to connect with the history of Christmas in an Australian setting.

Children get the chance to see and even pet animals like sheep, donkeys, and cows. For many, it’s an insightful journey into the rustic side of the holiday season.

Children interacting with farm animals

Image source: mumslittleexplorers.com


How does Australia celebrate Christmas?

Australia celebrates Christmas with a unique blend of traditional and localized customs. Falling during the summertime, festivities often include beach outings, barbecues, and cricket matches. Decorations combine standard Christmas icons with Australian fauna, and Carols by Candlelight events are popular in many cities.

What is the most important thing about Christmas in Australia?

The most important thing about Christmas in Australia is the emphasis on family, community, and togetherness. Regardless of the unique summer setting, the core spirit of the holiday remains about bonding with loved ones and reflecting on the year’s blessings.

What is an Australian Christmas called?

An Australian Christmas is simply referred to as “Christmas.” However, due to the summertime setting, some Australians also celebrate “Christmas in July” to experience a cooler, winter-like holiday atmosphere.

What symbolizes Christmas in Australia?

While global symbols like Santa Claus and Christmas trees are prevalent, Australia has unique symbols such as kangaroos, the Christmas bush, and the Boxing Day cricket test. Santa is often depicted in shorts, and his reindeer might be occasionally replaced by kangaroos.

What are 3 ways Australia celebrates Christmas?

Three ways Australia celebrates Christmas are:

  1. Beach Celebrations: Families often spend Christmas day at the beach, playing cricket or swimming.
  2. Barbecues: Instead of a wintry feast, Aussies might have a barbecue with seafood, especially shrimp.
  3. Carols by Candlelight: Large gatherings take place where people sing Christmas carols, holding candles.

What do Australians eat on Christmas?

Australians enjoy a diverse Christmas menu that might include seafood (like prawns and oysters), traditional roasted meats, and desserts like pavlova and Christmas pudding. With the warm weather, cold salads and fresh fruits are also popular.

What is Santa called in Australia?

In Australia, Santa is generally referred to as “Santa Claus” just like many other parts of the world. However, the portrayal might be more localized, with Santa donning summer attire or being depicted on a surfboard.

What are the colors of Christmas in Australia?

The colors of Christmas in Australia are similar to the traditional Christmas colors globally: red, green, gold, and white. However, with the Australian touch, you might also find festive decor in beachy or summer hues.

Do people give gifts in Australia for Christmas?

Yes, gift-giving is a cherished tradition during Christmas in Australia. Family and friends exchange presents, and there are also customs like Secret Santa in workplaces and among friends.

Do they say Merry Christmas in Australia?

Yes, “Merry Christmas” is the common greeting in Australia during the festive season.

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