I often receive emails from my international readers asking about Christmas in Australia because to most of the world, wearing a summer dress and sandals on Christmas day is a batshit cray cray idea. I thought I’d document my Christmas day for those who dwell in the Northern Hemisphere to prove that an Aussie Christmas is just as prawns-on-the-barbie filled as you might have imagined.
A Typical Aussie Christmas in 2013
We have about 24 Smaggles on each side of my family and we alternate who we see each year. This year we celebrated in Terrigal on the Central Coast with my mother’s mental family. We packed all our presents (or rather let Mama Smaggle do it because no one else does it right) and piled into the car for the four-hour drive from Canberra.
I then spend the better half of Christmas Eve in the back seat of my parents car listening to my mother sharply inhale every single time my father touches the brakes. We usually stop at McDonald’s for a coffee and/or food and then listen to my mother as she tells us how happy/disappointed she is with her lunch because it was either hot and fresh or slimy and gross. She’s equally as verbal in her pleasure as she is in her disgust. My dad and I will then have a sing-a-long to either Meat Loaf or Creedence Clearwater. If my brother is in the car we’ll also have a fight about something super important like which one of us collected the most Tazos in 1995 and then we won’t speak to each other for a day. Good times.
Upon arrival to our destination, usually Terrigal or occasionally Kempsey, we drink champagne with strawberries and we look at a naturally occurring body of water while doing so. We’re Canberra born and raised so beaches and rivers are very exciting for us.
This year I managed to snap a surfing Santa, which is obviously very awesome but I was terribly worried he was going to drown. Wet felt doesn’t seem like a terribly buoyant material.
I generally start Christmas day with some kind of workout and this year my dad and I went for a quick walk along the beach. It was a lovely start to the day.
We generally start the day with cocktails made by my cousin and her husband. Mango and Strawberry daiquiris. And when I say ‘start’ I mean over breakfast. We’re pretty hard core.
This year my aunty bought Mr Men and Little Miss mugs that suited each of the grandchildren in the family. The rest of the family had to guess which mug belonged to which grandchild. Obviously I was Little Miss Chatterbox.
We then lay out a giant Christmas lunch that’s always prawns, ham, salads and piles of deliciousness. My cousins and I always hated sitting on the kids table when we were little but now that we’re all in our 20s we tend to gravitate towards each other and naturally form a ‘kids’ table. That’s my cousin poking me in the face with her melody pop. We’re all super mature.
This is Monty. He’s a Christmas Dog. You can tell because he has a Christmas ribbon around his neck.
This year we celebrated my Poppy’s 80th birthday on Boxing Day. We got him an iPhone so he can stalk us on Instagram. In retrospect that was probably a bad idea. *deletes incriminating Instagram photos*
There’s lots of beer drinking, meat cooking, wrestling, dancing, singing and fighting. All while wearing sandals, shorts and summer frocks. We usually sleep with a fan or an air conditioner and lots of people are on holiday because, well, it’s summer and that’s when we take most of our leave. You pretty much can’t do any kind of business or eat at your favourite restaurant because everything is closed. I can remember reading American books when I was a kid being gutted for kids in American schools who had to do homework over the Christmas break. That’s unheard of in Australia. Almost everyone is on a break and if you aren’t you don’t tend to do a whole a lot of work between Christmas and New Year because it’s all so relaxed and lovely. It’s the best time of the year.