Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Australian Christmas

I have found it very interesting this last week as I have dug around on the net for the customs, traditions, myths and legends of Christmas around the world.  It seems that the climate of the country involved has quite a lot to do with how the people celebrate on Christmas day.  Well particularly what they will be eating.  For instance in those countries where it is winter in December, they will be having the roasted Turkey, Chickens, Ham, with all those wonderful baked goodies, potatoes, pumpkins, chestnuts, hot toddies, egg nogs, brandy etc.  Here in Australia it is hot, I mean really hot.  At the moment the temperature in Toowoomba, Queensland is about 35 - 40deg Cel that's up round the 100deg F.  So no roaring fireplaces, framed with stockings, no making snow men, snowball fights and roasting chestnuts while sipping those eggy nog drinks.  We will be having prawns, big, juicy, fresh from the ocean prawns, drizzled with lemon juice and devoured in no time.  We'll have cold meats, chicken, ham, turkey, or maybe a bar-be-que.  Hmm what beats the smell of sausages cooking on the barby.  Oh I must say that our sausages aren't like the sausages in the states or the UK either.  Our sausages are either, beef, pork, or chicken meat spiced up with seasoning and sometimes herbs and piped into sausage skins.

Often the sausages are served on a roll, similar to a hot dog bun, but the taste is nothing like that.
Then we have salads, oh boy I think we must be the head of the salad countries, seriously we do salad like no others.  We have a multitude of lettuce varieties, we have dozens of tomatoe varieties.  Cucumbers, lebanese, non acid, continental, yellow, green and white, yep I think we have the market on cues too. Onions we have green, white, red, brown, salad, shallots you name it we've probably got it.  Where I live is just a few miles from what is known as the salad belt.  An area of farming land that produces vegetable for most of the state and is sent interstate also.  So we are spoilt for choice and for quality.  Australia is also very multicultural now and more and more you see families of different nationalties ,celebrating Christmas, perhaps not from a Christian perspective, but from the angle that Christmas is a time for coming together with family and friends and sharing a meal and gifts. As such the food is changing.  But the variety is wonderful too. 

That's fine with me I love the fact that I can go to town and eat, Indian curries, African casseroles and bread, Italian pastas and meats, Asian noodles, stir fries and rices, oh what a treat.  Oh and by th way the picture above is myself and Adrian, Paul and Alicia last year before Ade and I flew off to the UK to catch up with Ashleigh and Danielle.  Since the girls couldn't be in our Christmas hat photo we made use of my handmade dolls, I posted about them recently.  We put a hat on each doll and they stood in for Ashleigh and Nelly.

Even their best friend Amy and her friend Will got in on the act.  How cute see you start something and everyone wants to join in.  We thought it was hilarious the girls perched up on Wills knee.  
So back to an Aussie Christmas Day.  We usually start early, with coffee, tea, juice and some fresh fruit or muffins, pastries.  We all gather round the tree which is usually surrounded by gifts piled high.  We choose a gift giver and that person hands out a couple of gifts to one or two people and we wait while they open them and that way we all get to see what we each get and we know who it's from.  When the girls were little we used to go to Adrian's parents and it was a free for all.... the kids all getting their pressies at once and everyone else getting handed things one after the other.  I didn't like it much.  It was fun for the children I guess, but when we would go home and I would ask them who gave them what they had no clue.  So we refined it a little and it's nice to see what we are all getting and to see the reaction on each face when they get their gift.  Hopefully it's a big smile and a lot of excitement.  Sometimes because it takes a while to give everything out we have a little platter of cheese, nuts, crackers, just to keep us going.  Then when we are finished we check out the things we got, try on the clothing, put the batteries in the gadgets, try and work out how to use, set up, de code, recode etc etc all the bits and bobs, play the cd's videos, or games and by then it's usually pretty close to lunch.  We have had barbies over the years and we have had indoor meals more recently.  I'm not a real fan of meat cooked on flames outside with the flies, ants and insects.  Plus my house is airconditioned and until recently my hot flushes were enough heat for me, so indoors has been my preference.  I love to decorate the table, I couldn't find any pics of a nice table I've done so this year I will make sure to try and get some.  Then after dinner which includes bon bon cracking and eating those gold chocolate coins and popping the little plastic bottles filled with tiny streamers, we watch, play, do, sing a long to and just enjoy all the gifts we received.  Well that's the way we do it in my house.  Others go to the beach, play cricket, tennis, swim, Christmas in Australia is hot, sunny, beautiful and heaps and heaps of fun.  What do you do on Christmas Day?


  1. Your family photos are lovely..the dolls:)Thanks for all the info too..

    I think prawns sound sooo good!

    We have a gathering on the eve.. and the next morning.. on the's a buffet.. the children at a small table though.. and the next morning a brunch all sitting down together.. Both times here.

    It's a whirlwind..

    Happy Holidays to you.. we expect a lot of snow here tomorrow!

  2. mmmmmmmmmm, I love prawns anytime of the year!

  3. What a nice post ! Australia is really far from France and it's a great pleasure for me to discover different Christmas habits ! Here, we don't celebrate Christmas very differently than you do but, even if I live in the south of the country, the weather is quite cold and people gather around the chimney rather than on the beach, you can imagine ! ;o)
    This year, we will be with my husband's family in Fayence, a small village in Provence, not very far from Cannes, in an old typical house ( we call those houses "bastides" ) for a traditionnal provençal christmas Eve ... "Au menu", foie gras, of course .. my brother in law lives in Toulouse ..., "Daube de sanglier", with is a kind of stew made with wild boar and red wine ... I will serve it with potato "gnocchis" ... Then a platter of cheese and to finish with, the traditionnal chestnut and chocolate log ... LAter in the night, we'll have the provençal traditional "13 desserts", (nuts, hazelnuts, dry figs and dates, quince paste, white and black "nougats" ... and pompe à l'huile, a delicious brioche ... you can find the recipe on this post ...
    For the occasion, I also prepared this year a quince liqueur ... I haven't tasted it yet but the smell is fantastic ...
    Thnak you again for that post ! I will come back round here ...

    Have a nice day


  4. We do the prawn thing on Christmas eve as my mum is a traditionalist and like to cook the roast pork. down her in Melbourne it's generally not as hot as where you are and yes air con in the house makes all the difference cooking a full roast dinner in the middle of summer.

    We use to have our main Christmas meal at lunch but in recent time we have change this to Dinner and just cook a barbie for lunch. Yep sausages in a roll ... don't forget the tomato sauce!!!


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