Here are a few more observations from the many Christmases I've spent here in Australia (click here to see the beginning of the list):
6. Being summer, Christmas seems like quite a casual affair here in Australia. I can only speak from my personal experience, but I remember Christmas in the USA to be a time for dressing up and putting on something more formal than jeans and a t-shirt. As a girl, my Mom always made sure we had a Christmas dress to wear when we celebrated with my family. As I got older, I wore dresses some years or nice pants with a festive jumper (read: sweater) for others. While some Aussies do get dolled up for Christmas, I do see plenty of people in shorts, singlets (read: tank tops) and thongs (read: flip flops). The Christmas parties we go to here seem to have a mix of fashion--some people are rather dressed up while others are very casual. There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rule about Christmas fashion here. I do find that frustrating I must admit. I know the weather says one thing--it's hot, dress comfortably, but the occasion says something else, this is a special event and you should dress up. I really never know just what to wear on Christmas Day here in Australia. I've tried asking the Handsome Australian for a bit of guidance, but let's just say he ALWAYS errs on the side of comfort and so his advice can't always be trusted. Smart casual seems to be the way to go...that's something I'll have to explain another day.
7. Christmas baking isn't that popular. When I lived in the USA, I really got into baking around Christmas time. I always had a batch of sugar cookies on the go. There were special breads I'd make as well. All of these lovely homemade items made great gifts for friends and work colleagues and they didn't go unappreciated; people loved receiving them. When I moved to Australia, I tried to maintain this same tradition. I did it for many years until I realised something--it's too bloody hot here to have your oven going for long periods in December. We don't really receive plates and plates of homemade goodies like I remember from the USA, so I'd venture to say that most of the population has already figured out the whole baking in hot weather is a bad idea thing. There are probably some stubborn Expats like myself who still try to give it a burl despite the unforgiving temperatures, but we'd be in the minority.
8. Cherries seem to be a big deal for Christmas. I know I mentioned food in yesterday's post, but I forgot to single out the humble cherry. In the state of Victoria where we live, the cherry season is a very short one. The cherries seem to ripen just in time for Christmas each year. You'll start to see them in the shops in early December and the prices will fluctuate greatly in the lead up to the big day. When I think about Christmas in Australia, I do associate it with cherries. Regardless of what is being served at my in laws for Christmas lunch, there are always cherries. Most of the food advertising that happens around Christmas on television always features cherries. The cherries are never cheap either. I think the cheapest I've ever seen them has been about $7 AUD per kilo. So it is certainly a treat to have them on Christmas.
9. Carols by Candlelight abound. This is a tradition I really like about Christmas in Australia. I've always been a fan of a good Christmas carol and I am really delighted by the various events sponsored by local councils, shopping centres and the like which feature plenty of Christmas carols. Most local councils will sponsor a "Carols by Candlelight" event in their areas. These concerts will be free to the public, will take place in an outdoor setting and will have a mix of local entertainers. Some of these events even feature fireworks at the end. It's a really lovely atmosphere for families. There are two larger concerts--one in Sydney and one in Melbourne that are televised nationally. You actually have to purchase tickets to these larger shows, but the entertainment is top notch with many of the nation's most talented singers and musicians performing. The only drawback to these events is they do go until quite late--it has to be dark to really have candlelight doesn't it? So they can be a bit tricky with little ones, but hey it's Christmas!
10. Australian radio stations don't play Christmas music (well not with any regularity anyway). I have to say, this is an observation I made for the first time this year. We don't normally listen to a great deal of radio at our home. Most of my radio listening happens in the car going to and from places. This year we happened to be in our car quite a bit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On both days, I couldn't find a single Christmas song on any of the stations. My daughter was requesting Christmas carols and I couldn't find anything. I couldn't believe it. When I thought about it, I remembered some American stations playing Christmas music almost exclusively through the Christmas period. There would surely be at least one station in your regular set of stations in the USA that I would have found a Christmas song on. So my thinking on this is, the Australians like to limit their Christmas carols to the Carols by Candlelight evenings mentioned above. I really have no other explanation as to why there weren't any Christmas songs on the radio on Christmas Day. Odd.
There you have it, my Christmas in Australia observations. Have you ever wondered what Christmas was like in another place? Has this list sparked more questions about Christmas in Australia? Ask. Please. Just ask away. I'd love to dedicate the next post to answering any questions y'all might have about Christmas in the Land Down Under! So go, post them in the comments section...that is if there is anyone actually reading this.
Tomfoolery by Ree
18 hours ago