The holiday season is much different in Australia. Not only is it summer and really hot, but people are not as festive.
In the states, a lot of families put an abundance of over the top directions outside and inside their homes. There are Christmas lights everywhere and Christmas trees in a lot of towns. There are also numerous Christmas villages set up in small towns, with all the different drinks, like peppermint hot chocolate and Christmas treats. You can smell Christmas in the air.
However, in Australia, Christmas is more so just another day. There are a few trees in the city, but outside the city areas it is unlikely you will encounter one. The lights are up in the city center, but families do not really decorate their homes. Some families do come together and have barbecues at home, but they’re not big celebrations like back in the states. The main meal on Christmas in Australia is seafood, which is not very common in the states. Yes, people eat fish sometimes on Christmas, but they usually have an abundance of other foods. Christmas seafood is so popular here, that the entire fish market in Sydney stays up for 36 hours straight, leading up to Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day, nothing is open. All shopping and last minute things must be brought by Christmas Eve. Usually, in the states some grocery open up, just for limited hours, but not in Australia. Christmas Day is a no trading day, legally forcing all grocery stores and bottle shops to be closed.
A lot of families and Australians celebrate Christmas at the beach instead. This year it was a beautiful day, about 85 degrees and sunny, so I spent the whole day at Bondi Beach. I wanted to get the whole Oz experience and see people dressed as Santa surfing. It was chaos. There was barely enough space to just lay out a towel and tan. The waters were packed and Bondi Rescue was in full action. It was a unique experience; a lot of people wore red bathing suits and had Christmas hats on, and tried to be in the Christmas spirit with their music choices.
Overall, I enjoyed being able to celebrate Christmas in the heat at the beach, it definitely was something I would never be able to do back home. Leading up to Christmas there was a cool light show displayed in Sydney on St. Mary’s Cathedral, which is beautiful. A lot of Sydney-siders gathered there each night to enjoy the show, since there are not any other Christmasy events that occur.