How to Celebrate the Holidays Down Under

These holiday traditions are festive and fun.

Celebrating Christmas at the beach in Australia.

(Bellelen /

Down under, Christmas celebrations have their own, unique style. As the holidays fall in the Australian summer, they are often centered around the sun, the beach, and the barbecue, according to the travel guide Trafalgar.

While North Americans are wearing wool sweaters and snuggled around a blazing fire, their Australian counterparts are in their beachwear wearing Santa hats! Here are five favorite Aussie ways to celebrate the holidays Down Under.

Decorations gone wild

Yes, in Australia the family decorates their mantel, the yard, and a tree, but they do this with a difference, says Trafalgar. The Christmas tree may be fake plastic and adorned to a tee, but the outdoor decor is often extravagant.

Aussies love enormous, flashing displays of sound and light, and often entire communities get into the spirit and decorate the whole street together! There are even radio and TV competitions that give prizes for the best decor in town. 

Families go on outings to see spectacular light displays, and there is even the Christmas Light Search, a website dedicated to pointing out the best house decor in  Melbourne.

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Committed to caroling

Carols by Candlelight is a popular tradition in Australia, according to the travel company culture trip. Australians love to gather in parks and stadiums to listen to carols. In Melbourne, where the tradition began back in 1938, people gather in the Myer Music Bowl to watch celebrities perform their favorite carols, with profits going to Vision Australia.

​​Sydney’s popular caroling event, called Carols in the Domain, is a free outdoor concert held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, according to HuffPost. Everyone there sits on picnic blankets and waves “candles,” transforming the grassy lawn into a sea of tiny flames.

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Adelaide Christmas Pageant

Australians get into the Christmas spirit at their city’s local parade, according to Trafalgar.  The largest and most famous parade is in Adelaide, and has been a Christmas tradition since 1933.

This parade is massive with over 3,000 costumes, 160 moving theatrical sets, 33 dance groups, 18 bands, 7 choirs plus many Santas, clowns, and elves, of course. Over 300,000 people come out to cheer on this spectacular event.

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Food Down Under

Like elsewhere in the world, food plays a large role in Christmas celebrations, but with a twist, explains culture trip. On Christmas day, families like to gather outside for lunch and enjoy turkey or ham served cold in place of the traditional hot roast. Barbecued Tiger Prawns are another Aussie favorite, with Australians projected to purchase some 720, 000 kilograms of shrimp over these holidays, according to

For dessert, Australians serve golden mangoes and ruby cherries on a fruit platter, and later on indulge in Pavlova, Christmas Pudding topped with cold custard, and mince pies. For Australian children, happiness is a no-bake cake called White Christmas.

King Prawn platter served for an Australian Christmas lunch.

(Jessmie /

Christmas at the beach

Come December, days are hot and the waves are sparkling across Australia. So Aussies love to head to the nearest beach to swim, sun, and surf.

Going to the beach on Christmas Day is so popular, there is even an annual party at Bondi Beach in Sydney, according to Christmas in Australia. Locals come out in their Christmas-themed beach clothes to hear their favorite stars perform.