Q:

How do Australians celebrate Christmas?

A:

Christmas traditions in Australia closely resemble those in other countries of the British Commonwealth, although most are adjusted slightly to take advantage of the summer weather Australia enjoys in December. Christmas trees and lights are still the standard, but Christmas dinner may take the form of a barbecue on the beach instead of an enormous meal eaten indoors. Seafood is also common alongside the traditional ham and turkey.

Since Australian Christmas occurs in summer, holly and mistletoe are generally passed over in favor of a local plant called the Christmas bush. The plant has green leaves and cream-colored flowers that turn red in the summer heat, usually changing around the week of Christmas.

Caroling is also very popular in Australia due to the improved weather. Carols by Candlelight is a national tradition where Australian musicians participate in traditional carol singing in the state capitals, and the concerts are broadcast across the country on television. Festivals and parades are common, and some cities put on elaborate fireworks displays.

While the traditional image of Santa is still popular, he does occasionally receive an Australian makeover. The Aussie Santa Claus takes advantage of the improved weather by dressing in shorts and more comfortable clothes, and gives the reindeer a rest in favor of using six white kangaroos to pull his sleigh.


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