Christmas in Sydney is a unique experience for our Northern Hemisphere visitors due to the hot weather, sunny skies and a distinct lack of snow and sleighbells. But Sydneysiders don't skimp on tradition. The temperatures may be scorching, but traditional roast lunches (with the odd prawn thrown in!) are standard fare for most families. Australians see-saw between long-standing Christmas traditions – such as hearty winter Christmas dinners and carolling – and creating their own.
Christmas for many Australians also means a day at the beach, in the sun or around the barbecue. Many Australians take advantage of the public holiday to soak up some rays and hit the waves.
If you're visiting Sydney for Christmas, here's a guide on what to expect and some ideas on how to celebrate when away from home.
- Christmas meals. While most businesses (including restaurants) are closed on Christmas Day, restaurants associated with hotels often offer a Christmas meal. The key is to book early, as they often book out months in advance. Another option when spending Christmas away from home is to volunteer at one of the many charity Christmas lunches and dinners that are provided for those in need around Sydney.
- Christmas beach days. Alternatively, you can stock up on supplies and head to the beach for a Christmas BBQ. Most Sydney beaches have free BBQ facilities (or can be used for a nominal cost). It's a great way to make the most of the warm weather and stunning beaches and have a unique Christmas experience. Bondi Beach – a notorious magnet for both tourists and international residents – hosts an annual Christmas party in the Bondi Pavilion. Called ‘Sunburnt Christmas', it's a ticketed event that is popular with backpackers.
- Boxing Day. While Boxing Day is a public holiday in many Commonwealth countries, Australia has developed its own unique celebrations and traditions to suit all tastes. If you're a shopaholic, then you'll be in retail heaven at the Boxing Day sales. Major department stores and CBD retailers open their doors as early as 5am, and slash their prices significantly. It's a mad rush to grab the best bargains! If you're more of a sports fan, then you'll also love this holiday. The 4th game of the Ashes Test is played on Boxing Day. While it is played in Melbourne the cricket commentary can be heard from many Australian lounge rooms. Sydney Harbour also comes alive with thousands of sails for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race. Whether you're out on the water or watching from the Sydney cliffs, seeing the yachts sail out of the harbour is quite a spectacle.
If you're spending Christmas in Sydney, then adopt a few Australian traditions for an unforgettable experience. Accommodation in Sydney is easy to come by, and most Sydney accommodation providers will do everything they can to make your Christmas away from home as memorable and enjoyable as possible!
Have you experienced a beach Christmas?