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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Since the 1980's small festive lighting sets has been available which were suitable for indoor use such as decorating the tree. We have provided a seperate page on lighting at this link.TOP