How We Do It Down Under: Christmas

A traditional plastic Australian Christmas tree.

A traditional plastic Australian Christmas tree.

This is what December means to Australians: beach cricket, bare chests, beer, BBQs, and hot, humid summer days.

How can Christmas be really enjoyed at any other time than summer? I have done the Northern Hemisphere Christmas a few times, and can’t say I like it. Snow is pretty, but winter is an anti-social season. There’s a lot of effort involved layering up to go out, or provide a place to store all the layers coming off people visiting you. Eating Christmas lunch or dinner indoors is basically just fancied up normal when the alternative is on the patio or at the beach.

Food, family, friends (a few flies) - all enjoying an outdoors Christmas feast.

Food, family, friends (a few flies) – all enjoying an outdoors Christmas feast.

How can you work off the calories post food-coma while stuck inside drinking something fattening like hot cocoa instead of outside playing cricket?

How can you work off the calories post food-coma while stuck inside drinking something fattening like hot cocoa instead of outside playing cricket?

Food, perhaps even more than presents, is central to an Aussie Christmas. This might seem like an extreme statement, but for a home cooked Chrissie feast, while both share about equal amounts of preparation (and that’s excluding making all the traditional holiday sweets), opening presents last about 10 minutes while food goes all day.

Chrissie brekkie (breakfast) of cold leg ham, fried eggs and tomatos.

Chrissie brekkie (breakfast) of cold leg ham, fried eggs and tomatoes.

Hmm, which to choose? The lamb chop, the pork chop, the steak, the chicken wings...?

Hmm, which to choose? The lamb chop, the pork chop, the steak, the chicken wings…?

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Dinner, if necessary, is usually left overs from lunch.

Dinner, if necessary, is usually left overs from lunch.

Chocolate rum balls (apricot and peach varieties also exist)

Chocolate rum balls (apricot and peach varieties also exist)

Nut slice also fills in any left-over spaces.

Nut slice also fills in any left-over spaces.

It must be said this is a heavily Anglo-influenced menu. More people recently prefer bucket of prawns to a pork sausage, and Australia, being the beautiful, diverse country it is, has many forms of the feast. What connects us as a nation however is that shared sunshine, surf and sense of gratitude that we’re lucky enough to be outside enjoying it.

Merry Christmas my fellow Aussies and non-Aussies from colder climes – you’re welcome to come join in any-time. ^^

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