Christmas in Oz

It’s that time of year again. Christmas lights are going up and the Christmas tunes are playing. The snow is falling and hot coco is being served. The Canadian Christmas is truly an amazing one. This year I found myself sitting in a coffee shop in Sydney when the song White Christmas came on. Given that the temperature was thirty-two degrees Celsius, it was a truly strange experience.

I’ve always known that many western regions of the globe that celebrate Christmas with vigor are in a warm climate, but it wasn’t until I was faced with the prospect of a beach-filled, sandy Christmas that I really thought about it.

For starters, I’ll talk about one of the aspects that I’ve been hearing regularly from travellers. Christmas in warm regions like Australia is expensive. The price of my current hostel is 35AUD a night. The same hostel on Christmas week extending to New Years is just over 100AUD. So if you’re planning a warm vacation of your Christmas holiday you can be sure you’re not the only one.

Cost aside, Australia is a truly amazing place to spend Christmas. To show you just why I present you with five uniquely Australian Christmas traditions.

1. Massive Bush Fire: A common Australian tradition is to get the extended family together and have a massive bushfire in the country. While Christmas is a winter holiday in Canada it takes place during the Australian summer, making it a great time for an outback camping trip.

2. Boxing Day Beach BBQ: While the traditional English turkey dinner is common for Christmas day, the uniquely Aussie Boxing Day BBQ is commonly held the following day. Surfing or water skiing is a great way to turn off those extra Christmas calories.

3. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: If physical activity isn’t your thing, another great way to spend Boxing Day is watching the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This year 119 boats will race along the eastern coast from Sydney to Hobart, capital of Tasmania.

4. Australian Christmas Plants: While you can find Canadian Pine Trees growing in parts of Australia (planted as a lumber crop) there are some uniquely Australian Christmas plants in Australia known as Christmas Bells and Christmas Bushes. For a complete list see the Australian Botanic Gardens website.

5. Surfing Santa: You can find Santa at your local mall, like in Canada, but you will also find him at the beach. I’m currently staying in a neighbourhood called Bondi Beach in Sydney. On Christmas day, Bondi Beach will be full of people wearing Santa hats. You’ll also find a few people dressed in full Santa gear heading out into the ocean for the entertainment of spectators.