No matter where we are in the world, Christmas is a special time that ought to be spent with the ones we love. However, as we’re often working or travelling abroad, many of us may have to spend Xmas time somewhere other than Down Under. Buying presents can be stressful enough; should you have a look at those fancy watches your mother always hints at? Or perhaps get your dad those tickets to the Australian Open next year? Nevertheless, the most stressful thing of all is undoubtedly spending a Christmas shivering in a freezing London flat, instead of next to the BBQ in the sun with your family and friends.
As just mentioned, moving to London is of course an incredible experience, but the weather in December is something you’ll just have to grin and bear. Memories of waking up on Christmas Day and going outside to try out your recently unwrapped Kookaburra bat, or hooning around on your flash new BMX, are swiftly erased when you witness the snowfall and hard rain of a UK city.
Tending a BBQ under the scorching hot sun is something we’d give anything for at Christmas Day, yet perhaps you could replicate this by getting your face close enough to the heater…but probably not.
Beach cricket (or cricket anywhere really)
Seeing your brother take a spectacular one-handed catch whilst diving onto the sand, is something you’ll sadly have to do without for Xmas this year in London. No one is likely to play cricket outside, least of all on a beach, which is a shame, as the fine sport is a great bonding experience for the whole family.
Similarly, the Boxing Day Test is a staple part of the Christmas experience (if you live in Melbourne). Aussies come out in full force to see our boys take on the touring side, with next year’s series playing out against the West Indies. If Boxing Day isn’t spent with thousands of other ‘Strayans at the MCG, while covered in sunscreen and drinking a cold VB from a plastic cup – then it just doesn’t feel like Boxing Day.
Santa Claus, a koala and a fire truck
More of a rural Australia tradition, the afternoon of Christmas Eve usually sees these three things weirdly join forces for a day. A fire engine drives around the streets while a costumed koala and Santa Claus (perhaps the real one?) throw out packets of lollies to excited children across the town. The whole experience is hugely communal and brings neighbours together for a great afternoon of drinks and lollies in the front garden.
The night of Christmas Eve is just as special for small town Australians, as every household puts a single candle in a paper bag filled with sand, then places around 20 of the makeshift lanterns on the curb outside their house. Streetlamps are turned off, resulting in the entire town shining with the incandescent glow of thousands of tiny lights. Simply a beautiful and unforgettable experience on Christmas Eve.
Carols by Candlelight
For over 75 years, Carols by Candlelight has brought together Australians all over the country and holds a special place in the hearts of many Aussies. Smaller events are held throughout Australia, but the biggest and most famous carol singing ceremony is held on Christmas Eve at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. The traditional event is always televised, but tens of thousands turn up to hear the carols sung live every year. Carols by Candlelight also raises money for Vision Australia, who provide services to blind or visually impaired children across the country.