Christmas around the Globe

UK vs Australia - Christmas around the Globe

3.12.15

It's back! Let's learn about some Christmas traditions from around the globe we might have been unaware of. I've gathered up a couple of lovely expat ladies & travel bloggers to write about their Christmas traditions and share them with my readers; and we're starting of with Rachel from A Nesting Nomad.
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A Nesting Nomad is where I post about my travels both for business and pleasure. I'm currently trying to up my photography game while I'm away visiting family in Australia, so if that sounds like it might be vaguely interesting then do come and say g'day hello. I'm British, and up until 2014 I'd spent every Christmas with family in the UK.

English Christmases are the norm for me, but last Christmas I went to visit my sister who lives in Australia (that's where I am again now!) and we celebrated together with her family and in-laws, who are Aussie. Things were a little different to say the least, so I thought I'd pick out some of the key differences to illustrate:

Christmas in the UK vs Christmas in Australia

Knitwear vs Swimwear

It's usually a bit frosty in England during Winter.
England is cold, I think most people are aware of this. Christmas is no exception, and I usually spend the day wearing all the jumpers I can find and sitting as close to the fire as possible without my jumpers becoming a fire hazard.

Me on Christmas day, Australia - no jumper in sight!
It's usually hovering around the 30°C mark in Sydney on Christmas day, although it's extremely variable. On the day in question, it did rain in the morning, but was bright sunshine by lunchtime. Perfect weather for a swim, if only you haven't overdone it at lunch...

Gravy vs Gravadlax

The most beautiful fresh smoked salmon and prawns, Australia
As you might guess, the food choices on Christmas Day are a little different between the two locations. In England, we have a full roast lunch; turkey, sausages in bacon, roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly, and lots of proper gravy. Australia focuses on fresh seafood, salad, and perhaps some ham. The expats may cook a turkey for tradition's sake, but most will shy away from using an oven when it's already so hot.

O Come All Ye Faithful vs Oh Holy Night

our Christmas table (and view!) in Australia
Oh Holy Night is an incredibly popular hymn in Australia but I'd never heard it before in the UK. I think it's a gorgeous hymn. Back here in the UK we're much more likely to sing one of the old faves like O Come All Ye Faithful. NB I hope you enjoy the versions I've picked for you...!

Pud vs Pav

Check out that pavlova
Which would you rather; a light fluffy concoction of gooey meringue with fresh cream and red fruits? Or a stodgy mass of dried fruits and nuts that sticks to the inside of your ribs?

2 days off vs 2 weeks off

Our Christmas dining table, UK
In the UK, we get the two statutory bank holiday days (Christmas day, Boxing day) and that's our lot. It's back to work for the vast majority the day after Boxing Day, in the cold and rain.

The beach is usually packed out on Boxing Day in Australia
In Australia, (almost) everyone takes the two weeks over Christmas off, as it's their summer holidays. The schools are out for 6 weeks over this time too, so there are lots of sporting events and organized activities to keep the kids out of trouble.

the constants...

Christmas always looks like this in the UK, but the best bits are those you take with you
Some things will always be the same, wherever you are. There will be crackers, with bad jokes and hats that must be worn until they fall apart. There will be family time and food and laughter. I think that sums up my experiences of cross-cultural Christmas. Aside from the silly, there are quite a few differences between our cultures when you look hard enough, despite superficially seeming quite similar.

And with that, all there is left to do is thank Diana for inviting me to write a guest post, and wish her a very happy holiday. And Happy Christmas to all!

 -Rachel
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The Morrell Tale - Every life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers

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