Australian Christmas Weather
& many other items

Sunshine, surf, beer, cricket and tennis, what more could anyone want.

Christmas in Australia is within three days of the longest day of the year therefore we have long daylight hours with warm temperatures instead of short days with long cold nights. Of an evening the sound of children playing outdoors drifts across the suburbs.

If you would like to see the latest weather forecast here is a link to the
Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology.

While my granddaughter and I were discussing the Australian Christmas summer weather we suddenly decided that although we did not have frost and snow we did have an interest in ice. It is needed on our plates to keep our oysters cold, it is needed to keep our prawns (shrimps) cold and it is needed to keep our drinks cold.

You can have any type of weather for your Christmas in Australia except a white Christmas. However Christmas 2000 saw a light covering of snow on some of the mountain peaks in the island state of Tasmania. So to have a white Christmas you must climb a mountain and then only about every ten years will you actually have a white Christmas.    

Please note that here is no truth in the rumour that Australia changed Jesus' birthday to June so we could celebrate Christmas in winter.

24th December 1974

Cyclone Tracy arrived in Darwin. The cyclone destroyed the town of 40,000 people. Most did not wake up on Christmas morning as they had been awake all night while their home blew away in the strong winds. Cyclones are a product of the summer season.

26th December 2001

Mother nature was up to her tricks again, with temperatures in the low 30's Celsius and strong winds, the state of New South Wales experienced about 70 major bush fires on Christmas Day 2001. About 5,000 fire fighters and other emergency personnel were on duty on Christmas Day with up to 20,000 people being engaged in fire fighting and support services at the height of the blaze which raged for 22 days before rain and calm conditions allowed it to be brought under control.

An Australian "Snowman"

Sand/snow man Here is a snowman built from beach sand. The 'sand-man' is wearing a broad brimmed hat for protection from the sun. The red and white scarf and the carrot nose indicate the link to the traditional snowman. More details

Trees & flowers

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The lush spring growth of our lawns has slowed so we don't need to mow them as frequently where as the northern hemisphere is shovelling more and more snow.

Plants grown in Australia flower at various time throughout the year. Thus at Christmas we have many flowers in our gardens and the bush in contrast to the bare trees and gardens of the northern hemisphere. Some of the spectacular plants are shown.

Christmas Bells
Christmas bells
Christmas bush
New South Wales
Christmas bush
Western Australian
Western Australian
Christmas tree
Illawarra Flame tree
Illawarra Flame tree
Jacaranda tree
Jacaranda tree
Christmas tree
Western Australia
Christmas Tree

Insects

Received an email 30 November 2005 :"one of the other biggies of Christmas is the sound of cicadas on a hot day, all part of the process of growing up in a hot climate.
A cicadas according to my dictionary is "Stout-bodied insect with large membranous wings; male has drum-like organs for producing a high-pitched drone."

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Holidays

How one family spent their Christmas holiday
The school year ends during early December and the next school year does not commence until about the end of January. As the children are on holiday many working people take all or part of their annual leave entitlement during this period. As well there are public holidays for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. On the 26 January there is a public holiday for Australia Day which commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet bringing white settlers to Australia. This results in a relaxed casual holiday mood being felt throughout the entire country from Christmas Day to late January.
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Greeting cards

Australian Christmas Card
Australian card
Santa with koala,
kangaroo & platypus.

The many questions received about an Australian Christmas caused me to consider our Christmas greeting cards design. Do we have cards with an Australian theme or are they all frost, ice and snow. I therefore gathered together over two hundred cards and sorted them into several groups. The results by theme were:-

Holly, candles, doves etc23%
Traditional Christmas scenes19%
Featuring Father Christmas18%
Snow & winter scenes13%
Other styles11%
Religious10%
Australian scenes & images6%

It appears from this small sample that Australians still have in there minds the traditions of the holly, candles, doves and trees type Christmas which has been passed down to them by their ancestors most of whom migrated from the northern hemisphere.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is another English custom that has been adopted by Australia. Its roots go back at least to medieval times, when it was the custom to break open church alms boxes at Christmas and distribute the contents to the poor, but as a holiday Boxing Day only dates from the last century.
An Australian Boxing day holiday has all the advantages of Christmas with lots of food and drink plus a chance to doze in an armchair during daylight hours while watching the major sporting events on TV. For the more energetic you can actually attend a test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race or attend a sporting event in your neighbourhood or laze on the beach.

  Save this page in your Favourites folder, bookmarking it for use next Christmas.   TOP  

Religious celebrations

Christmas is one of the major events of the Christian calendar and is celebrated in Australia with many Church services which commence on Christmas eve and continue through Christmas Day. Australia is a nation of immigrants and they have brought with them may different faiths. The local TV news and daily newspapers usually give a report on the numbers attending services at local churches and a summary of the theme of the senior bishops sermon.

Christmas presents & stockings

Christmas presents Christmas stockings
The Christmas presents are arranged under the Christmas tree, with surf boards or bicycles left outside to be discovered by following instructions in a note under the tree.
With all presents stacked under the tree, the family gather around the tree and presents are distributed by the younger members of the family. In some families when a gift is handed to a person all present wait while that person opens the package, and then the next present is delivered.

Hanging stockings or sox or even pillow cases is now out of fashion. There is no mantel piece over the fireplace on which to hang them as most homes have air conditioners or combustion heaters. Even the traditional bed post has disappeared with the modern bed usually not having a foot-board and many not having a bed-head. So all presents go under the tree.

Further information on presents and stockings:-
On 23 Nov 2002 I received the following from an Australian visitor to this page.
"I read on your site that 'all presents now go under the tree'. I have checked the stores and see a vast array of Santa Sacks, Stockings and Pillow slips. A quick survey of 50 kids at a local preschool revealed that 98% of them hung, tied, or laid a pillow slip (or sack) on or near their bed on Xmas Eve. (The other 2% was a Jewish child). The fact that your site is read by many international visitors I think it important that the content is actually correct."
My thanks to Trevor for taking the trouble to complete these surveys.

Christmas trees & Decorations

Christmas trees

Most homes have a Christmas Tree in the lounge or family room. It was traditionally a live limb from a pine tree (pinus radiata) or a small tree. The pinus radiata is not native to Australia but is grown for the construction timber which can be sawn from it. Some families use a native eucalyptus tree branch but this does not look like a traditional Christmas Tree. Other families live near a Christmas Tree Farm and visit it to purchase a tree. In recent years many homes have a plastic tree which is stored away and reused each year.

Decorations

The subject of tree decoration timing has a separate page as email questions asked the questions when to put up Christmas decorations and when they should be taken down.
Plus what is placed at the top of the tree and why and when.


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Door wreaths
A wombat

A survey of homes shows that about ten percent of the homes have a door wreath. Therefore the wreath can not be considered part of the Australian tradition of Christmas. The Australian door wreath is made of artificial material, plastic or similar, and coloured gold or the traditional green, red and silver.

Received this email 30 November 2005 Hiya, read your internet site about Australia and Christmas traditions. As a 5th generation Aussie I can say it was very interesting and pretty close to the core. The only exception I can see is where you say that only 10% of people have door wreaths.

I'm not sure what area you live in but where I'm from, the beach suburbs of southern Sydney, the majority of people have always had door wreaths, from the time I was a child (late 50's - 60's) most homes had a wreath on the door, and it's even more so now!

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