Christmas around the Globe

Australia vs. US - Christmas Around the Globe


Happy holidays from Down Under! My Traveling Joys is where I write about our expat and traveling adventures abroad since leaving the Washington D.C. area in 2010. Because of my husband's job, we’ve lived in Turkey, Poland and now Australia since then. I started out as a journalist so I love writing and photography; and then moved on to becoming a pastry chef. I’m currently taking a break as we enjoy our new life Down Under. Please hop on over and say g’day!

Winter vs. Summer

Living as expats in Australia means this is our first warm Christmas – a reality I find quite strange. 

Decembers are supposed to mean wearing hats, gloves, heavy coats and snow boots, but not here. Instead, I’m wearing flip flops and sun dresses, getting a suntan on the beach and doing wine tastings in the countryside.

I think it’s even stranger to hear Christmas carols like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as I walk through a department store. We certainly won’t have a white Christmas here! Honestly though, I’ve experienced 30+ cold and snowy winters that I deserve to have a tropical summer in December for once. My parents live in Nebraska where it’s already snowed twice. I don’t miss the snow!
Even though it’s summertime in Oz, the city has done a fantastic job with its Christmas decorations so I do feel more festive as I’m walking around. The other night, we watched a spectacular, colorful Christmas installation on Melbourne’s Town Hall. And Christmas trees are decorated with Aussie-inspired ornaments such as kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras. Even the city’s gingerbread village featured a beach scene and the local horse track instead of snow-covered houses.
When locals discover I’m from the U.S., they tell me that they can’t imagine having a white Christmas.

Turkey vs. Seafood

In the U.S., I grew up with having a second Thanksgiving Day dinner for Christmas – turkey, stuffing, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. Meanwhile, my in-laws honor their Italian heritage with a Feast of 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve

This year, we’ll be celebrating an Aussie Christmas with our Australian friends whom we met in Warsaw, now live in Texas but will be back visiting family. We’ve been warned of their “crazy families” and that our Christmas Day lunch will be focused on seafood near the beach. I say as long as there’s good friends and the wine is flowing, simply throw another prawn on the barbie!

A long weekend vs. 2 weeks

When we lived in the U.S., we usually only had one or two days off or took a long weekend to celebrate Christmas. Fewer days if you’re like me and worked in a restaurant and had to work over the holidays. Depressing! Luckily, my husband’s office literally shuts down for business on Dec. 18th in Melbourne, so we’re taking a long vacation – the longest we’ve done together since our honeymoon. We will spend six days in New Zealand and then travel around Australia until Jan. 11th. My in-laws arrive in Sydney on Dec. 28th so we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in the lovely Sydney Harbor with them.
Since it’s summer in Australia, you can bet your high dollar that we’ll be hanging at the beach part of the time. 
After more than five years abroad, I’ve learned to adapt and accept new traditions as we move around. One year we made it back to the U.S. for a white Christmas. The next year, we celebrated amongst our expat and Turkish friends in a predominately Muslim-based society in Istanbul. Two years ago, we spent a quiet Christmas at home in bone-chillingly cold Poland. Last year, we shared platters of seafood in Southern France with our Australian and French friends. I’m happy celebrating Christmas wherever as long as I’m with my husband.

Wherever your Christmas holidays take you, I hope they’re filled with good food and laughter!

This month's sponsor:
The Morrell Tale - Every life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers

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