Updated: Jan 18
Is this your first Australian Christmas?
Is it different from what you thought Christmas is celebrated?
Does it seem different from what you thought it would be?
Many migrants perceive Christmas as a holy day or as a time to enjoy Father Christmas and unwrapping presents.
What is Christmas in religious terms?
Some see it as the day when Jesus Christ was born and celebrate Christmas on 25 December.
Why do Australians celebrate differently?
Australia, being in the Southern Hemisphere, usually experiences a very hot summer around Christmas – unlike the Northern Hemisphere which is often blanketed in snow and freezing temperatures.
Australians celebrate in a unique style which is suited to our weather.
Family Christmas Day
This is a gathering of family, and sometimes friends, where the day is spent eating lots of food – often seafood, salads, fruit and drinks. In Sydney, the fish market operates for 24 hours leading right up to Christmas Day. It’s a huge rush where people go to buy the freshest seafood, especially prawns and oysters.
Other people enjoy having a barbeque, a swim in the backyard pool or just a relaxing time with the family. Presents are usually opened on this day and lunches tend to be held later in the afternoon.
Of course, there are many people who stick to past traditions and celebrate Christmas lunch or dinner with roast turkey, glazed ham and Christmas pudding (with a coin in it!). Many people enjoy pulling Christmas crackers to reveal what’s inside – usually a paper hat, a toy and a joke (which must be shared with the other guests!).
Some migrants and Australians who do not have family around at this time of the year tend to celebrate with ‘Orphans’ Christmas’. This is where people take picnic baskets to parks or beaches and meet new found friends who are doing the same thing.
This is a tradition that occurs in some offices where staff buy fun gifts for other staff with a monetary limit of say $10 – a small gesture which is meant to spread the Christmas spirit and not to cause offence.
Why not do some volunteer work?
Many Australians also spend their day doing volunteer work. The Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney, offers food and a day of entertainment for the homeless and disadvantaged. This year, I will spend my day volunteering my time at Wayside Chapel.
Find out how you can volunteer on Christmas Day in your suburb or city.
This is a tradition where houses or whole streets decorate their homes with amazing decorations and lights. It’s great to take your families for a night walk to see this incredible sight. Click on the links below to see the best Sydney streets Christmas lights in 2018.
Why not Google what’s happening in your own city.
• Christmas lights around suburbs – Sydney
• Christmas lights -Sydney
Have you heard the unique customised Aussie Christmas Carols?
Watch some of my favourites on Youtube
• The Three Drovers – The Three Drovers
• Aussie Jingle Bells – Aussie Jingle Bells
• Six White boomers – Six White Boomers
What happens after Christmas Day?
This is the day following Christmas Day. It tends to be quieter – a time to rest from indulging in too much food and drink. Many Australians choose this day to go to the foreshore to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart boat race. It’s also time for cricket fans to watch the Aussies play cricket on their TV or go to the match (if it’s held in their city.)
Are you looking for jobs?
Many Australians tend to take their annual leave around this time to be with their family. All businesses tend to come to life after Australia Day on 26 January. Start looking for jobs after this date.
A time to look forward
Christmas has a universal appeal (both religious and social) so at the end of the year, it’s a time to relax. For me, Christmas time is also about Hope, Love, Joy and Faith – a time to reflect on the last 12 months and to look forward to the new year ahead.
Enjoy your Christmas!
- Soraya Raju, CEO and Founder of Migrate Success.
Cultural integration expert and creator of the LAB program©
LOOK, ACT, BELONG - For professionals and skilled migrants