By Hallebeth Jones
Christmas for Australians is around the beginning of summer when all children are enjoying school holidays in mid-December. It's a time of cheer where all the shops like Coles and Woolworths join in the Christmas fun, bringing out the décor usually as early as the middle of November.
Christmas in Australia is stinking hot. People are out in their boardshorts and tee shirts spending days at the beach. The heat is so intense that there are usually giant bushfires around the country. Many people pitch in and volunteer to fight the bush fires and travel from all over the country to help those in need.
For the festive decorations, my family can be found sporting an ancient wreath on our front door, an old nativity seen nailed on a stand in our front yard and some dodgy Christmas lights blinking on and off on the balcony.
Neighbourhood parties are popular in Australia at Christmas time and in my neighbourhood, we like to all gather over the road beside the lake. We set up camp chairs and enjoy sharing gifts and eating Christmas treats. In the evenings coming up to Christmas people like to drive around at night time to look at the all the other houses in their area’s Christmas lights.
In each State capital city, there is a large Carols by Candlelight service. Famous Australian performers like The Wiggles and many more help to sing the carols. These carol services, held in different cities, are broadcast on TV across Australia. Most towns and cities have festivals and parades, the one in my local area is the Gosford parade where all of the local community groups like the scout’s parade through the streets. At the end of the parade Santa rides by in a fire truck.
In Australia, we like to believe that Santa’s sleigh is pulled by kangaroos. He also changes his clothes for the hot weather, wearing boardshorts and a hat. Children leave out carrots for Santa's reindeer and some milk for Santa.