In 2014, Christmas day will be celebrated on Thursday December 25.
Christmas Day is an annual holiday which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. Christmas for most Australians is celebrated by the giving of wrapped gifts to family and friends either on the night before Christmas – Christmas Eve – or on Christmas morning.
In Australia, Christmastime (or the Season of Advent) is also the weeks and months leading up to Christmas which, over the last century, have become a season of family holidays, shopping for food and presents, and the sending of cards. For retailers it is the boom season.
Christmas in Australia is a bit of a curiosity. The country is in the southern hemisphere meaning that 25th December falls in mid-summer, rather than in mid-winter like in Europe, the UK and the USA. So it is not unusual for shop windows to be full of toys and displays that are covered with fake snow spray and for there to be icicles in the windows, even if it is sweltering outside.
The insides of homes are decorated with decorations during December, usually with a pine tree covered in trinkets, tinsel and fairy lights in red, green and gold, and often with a small nativity scene under the tree or on a coffee table. And on the outside, many homes are transformed with amazing displays of light and colour.
Traditionally, Christmas lunch is a gathering of large family groups who eat roast turkey, ham and vegetables and finish the meal with hot plum pudding, fruit mince tarts and cream or custard. But many Australian families now opt for the more comfortable means of cooking in hot weather – the Aussie BBQ with various meats, seafoods and salads. More likely than not, carols play somewhere in the house throughout the day.
Christmas Day is a public holiday across Australia, but hospitals are still open, some restaurants open for families to eat in, church and community groups provide meals to the less fortunate, farmers still feed their animals and some groups of people, perhaps from other religions, ignore every aspect of the tradition and celebration of Christmas.