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Christmas

Christmas 2020, 2021 and 2022

Christmas Day is celebrated across Australia on 25 December, and is one of the most actively celebrated holidays in the country.

YearDateDayHolidayStates
202024 DecThuChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecFriChristmas Day National
202124 DecFriChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecSatChristmas Day National
27 DecMonChristmas Holiday National
202224 DecSatChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecSunChristmas Day National
26 DecMonChristmas Holiday NT, SA & WA
27 DecTueChristmas Holiday National except NT, SA & WA
202324 DecSunChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecMonChristmas Day National
202424 DecTueChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecWedChristmas Day National
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

Note:
— South Australia and Northern Territory have a part-day public holiday for Christmas Eve from 7 pm to 12 midnight.
— From 2019, Queensland has a part-day public holiday for Christmas Eve from 6 pm to midnight.

Like most countries, Australia recognises Christmas as a public holiday. This annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ has been observed and celebrated for hundreds of years around the world.

While historians estimate the year of Jesus’ birth to be somewhere between 2 and 7 BC, no one can pinpoint the exact month and day. Meanwhile, the Bible does provide other specific details. According to the Christian Scriptures, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary inside a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, and surrounded by farm animals. Upon hearing the news of the his birth and led by the Star of Bethlehem, a few wise men came to visit the newborn bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. To this day, Christians and non-Christians carry on the tradition of gift-giving during this special holiday season.

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.

Previous Years

YearDateDayHolidayStates
201924 DecTueChristmas Eve * NT, QLD & SA
25 DecWedChristmas Day National
201824 DecMonChristmas Eve * NT & SA
25 DecTueChristmas Day National
201724 DecSunChristmas Eve * SA
25 DecMonChristmas Day National