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 parents take all or part of their annual leave entitlement during this period. As well there are public holidays for Christmas Day, Boxing Day (see below) 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.
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 cool drinks 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 just laze on the beach or river bank.
The other advantage of Boxing Day is, as the children become older and marry, it provides an extra day for them to vist their in-laws over the Christmas break.
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