An Australian Christmas for a Dallasite
An Australian Christmas for a Dallasite
Ever wondered how celebrating Christmas in summer would feel like? Read on to know more about my experience.

An Australian Christmas for a Dallasite

The Season of Christmas. That’s what I was thinking about when I got on board one of the Sydney Christmas cruises. There is something exquisite about the Christmas season that ceases to exist after the day of the actual celebration. Perhaps this is why I prefer the Christmas season to the actual day. 


Of shovels and snow angels


Having lived most of my life in Dallas, Texas, I’ve always connected Christmas to snowfall, wintry clothes, and the pervasive nip in the air. In short, Christmas back home was a snowy affair. Moreover, there were the ugly sweater parties, the frequent gatherings, wine and presents, and, of course, the Santa hats! 


Sun, Sand and Beaches on a Christmas Day


But Sydney’s different. It's summer around this time of the year. Christmas here doesn’t smell of hot cocoa, thanks to the hot weather. There isn’t a snowy Christmas tale to be told.  Families don’t gather around a fireplace, but at beaches. There aren’t many trees decorated with lights, but the presents pile up just the same. The whole room did not smell of turkey and cranberry sauce. The quintessential pumpkin pies and the chocolate mud pies were missing. And there was no mandatory visit to the church. 


A Summer Christmas


Instead, you can see people chilling by the beach, sipping beer or some fruit punch as the sun shines generously upon the island. There aren’t any snow angels to play with. But you can try your luck with sand castles. For that refreshing summer, there’s lemonade and outdoor lunches with seafood and prawns, and even barbecue. And the dessert is usually a Pavlova, filled with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruits, sliced bananas, and passion fruit. And with the weather so good, who would go to the church when you could go to the beach post-lunch? And if you miss building the nativity church, you’ve got Surf Santa!


The aftermath of Christmas in the US is usually marked by an eerie dullness. The holiday season is over and you have to endure the cold for a couple more months. And then your only relief is the momentary weekend. 


Bridging the gap


On the contrary, the passing of Christmas isn’t as sombre as that in the US; it is soon followed by a series of summer festivals, which breathe life back into the city. While some people enjoy spending time at the beach, some people head to the hill stations to get away from the heat. Some of the popular attractions in Sydney include the Christmas party Harbour cruises on Sydney Harbour. I found the cruise Christmas a unique experience as it elegantly bridged the gap between both worlds. The food was served to the table while I enjoyed the magnificent harbour views, and the music was playing in the background.   


If you prefer cruising during the wee hours, there are night cruises too. And better yet, the shoreline can be seen with all the lights making it more alive after dusk. Back on land, laneways have new art installations and numerous pop-up concerts that happen throughout the summer. There are even floating cinemas. People have taken to the streets, thanks to the pleasant weather.


The Christmas dichotomy 


The Christmas seasons in the US and Sydney are quite the polar opposites. For starters, I wasn’t expecting Surf Santas or alfresco dining in December. Instead of a cosy Christmas dinner, I found myself lying on the beach, parading the streets—hopping from one shop to another—occasionally stopping by to watch a performer or try out some street food. The day after Christmas demands even more enthusiasm as the annual Sydney-Hobart boat race takes place.


Christmas for me in Dallas and Sydney are two really different experiences. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the white Christmas back home. Even on the sunniest beaches, there was a part of me that was longing for the snowy streets of my childhood. But if Christmas means being surrounded by the ones you care about, I guess Dallas or Sydney doesn’t make much difference to me.