In a world that generally depicts the festive season with snow and hot cocoa around an open fire, many traditions are not exactly suited to our warmer climes. It is time to celebrate the unique feel and the great weather we get to enjoy down here in the southern hemisphere with a few Christmas traditions of our own. Of course, Christmas is a glorious and exhausting time of year (actually only exhausting for parents, for the kids it is all gravy), but when there is so much to organise and buy and wrap some traditions just add to the stress (particularly traditions that involve cooking a full roast lunch when it is 30 degrees outside). Here is a guide to some specifically Aussie traditions that are sure to bring joy and create incredible memories for the next generation, some that will no doubt remember as part of your Christmas growing up in this wide brown land.
Australian Native Plants
One of the most iconic symbols of an Australian Christmas is the Christmas bush. Unlike the traditional evergreen trees with ornaments and lights, the Christmas bush comes with its own decoration, gorgeous red flowers that bloom during the festive season. So ditch the holly and the poinsettia and incorporate these native plants into your holiday decorations, you can make amazing centrepieces yourself and create a unique and unmistakably Aussie atmosphere.
Carols by Candlelight
Nothing feels more like Christmas than a good old “Carols by Candlelight”, getting together in a local park with everyone who lives in the area and listening to local choirs and musicians play carols in the warm night air. It is truly magical and kids love the whole concept of staying up after dark with their own little light. Of late you will find that the original regular candles they gave out twenty years ago, ones that were held aloft by toddlers with only a paper skirt between their little hands and hot wax have now been replaced by electric candles (which I think we can all agree seems like a safer option). This is definitely a family tradition worth carrying an esky and armful of fold-up chairs five blocks for.
Christmas Day Barbie
Given the balmy weather during December, a backyard BBQ is a great option, everyone is outside anyway and pre-make a couple of salads add a cold seafood platter and you're done. None of this spending all day roasting yourself and the veggies in a boiling hot kitchen, the outside BBQ allows you to spend time chatting with your friends and family and enjoy the weather and a few cold ones while the kids try out their Christmas toys.
Whether you are in the backyard, in the street or at the beach the family cricket game is always fun, for both players and observers. Everyone loves watching an adult be bowled out by a 10-year-old and it is a wonderful way to get the whole family interacting, Nan might be a gun with the bat, and your niece might be a surprisingly good catch. These are the things you learn during the annual afternoon of cricket. Remember, over the fence is six and out.
So, take a moment this year and think about how lucky we are to live down under, all the joy and the presents and the fun, all with sun, sand and sport. So embrace the festive season your way and enjoy!
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