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What It’s Like Celebrating Christmas in Summer

Christmas is just around the corner! Depending on where you’re from, your version of a perfect Christmas might include sitting by the fireplace, having a hot meal and watching the snow falling. 

But in Australia, Christmas looks a little different. Believe it or not, Christmas in Australia falls in summer, which changes the celebrations in some very interesting ways. Here’s everything you need to know about celebrating Christmas in summer.

What to expect from an Australian Christmas

Australia has one of the most unique Christmas climates in the world, with the hottest summer days on its way when 25 December rolls around. Australia sometimes experiences heat waves in December, but the temperatures usually aren’t too extreme. You can expect an average of roughly 25°C or 26°C in most Australian cities on Christmas Day. That said, some cities in hotter states like Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia, can heat up to temperatures exceeding 30°C under the sun. If you’re not used to these kinds of temperatures, make sure to check out our tips on how to stay cool during a heatwave and how to stay healthy in summer.

When celebrating Christmas in Australia, you can also expect to see a wide variety of festive decorations. From December, city streets are lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. Public squares turn into Christmas wonderlands, often with a giant Christmas tree as the centrepiece. There are also many street food stalls and live performances for you to enjoy. Many people display vibrant Christmas decorations outside their homes, including dazzling lights, inflatable toys and bubble machines. Use the Australian Christmas light search to discover light displays in your area.

Are Christmas celebrations in summer different?

Of course, with a different climate, it’s only natural to expect different celebrations. For example, the clothing will be different; no more ugly Christmas jumpers! Your Christmas wardrobe will be full of summer clothes and sandals to help you stay cool. 

Plus, Christmas dinner in Australia usually consists of fresh seafood and salads, rather than a traditional hot turkey. For international students, ‘pot luck’ is a fun and affordable way to put together a Christmas meal. Every guest brings a dish to the table and shares it with others. You can cook a special dish from your childhood or introduce a new favourite to your friends. 

While those in cooler climates will be snuggling by the fireplace, those in Australia can enjoy a day by the beach (with lots of sunscreen applied, of course). Go for a surf or swim in the refreshing ocean waters – just remember to read up on safe swimming practices before you jump in the waves. It is recommended that you go with a group of friends, and make sure you only swim in the lifeguard patrolled area. If you’d rather stay on land, play a game of cricket or volleyball with your friends. You can also cycle or roller skate along the coastline while watching the sunset for a Christmas memory like no other.

What it’s like celebrating Christmas in summer

Are you curious to hear directly from fellow international students about what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in summer? Well, look no further! We chatted to a few international students to get their unique perspectives.

Some international students enjoy adventurous Christmas celebrations. With many bars and pubs still open on Christmas, there are plenty of places to go if you’re in the mood for a night out.

“It was my first Christmas in Australia. My friends and I headed to Chapel Street bars [in Melbourne] for a big night out. We had so much fun,” shares Linda, an international student at Monash University pursuing a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. 

Other students, however, opt for more relaxing and low-key celebrations at home. 

“My favourite Christmas memory in Australia would be spending Christmas at my friend’s apartment with a huge feast,” says fellow Monash University international student Gabby, who is studying a Bachelor of Media Communication. 

She adds that, while you may be missing your loved ones back home, it’s important to embrace the ones around you during the holiday season.

“Even without my family around, I chose not to spend my holidays sad and lonely. I became friends with many international students and we spent Christmas in joy. My friends are now my family away from home. Wherever we are, grace and love are something we can always enjoy in this festive time,” she says.