What It Was Like to Celebrate Christmas 2019 in Australia

A lot can happen in a year… I can’t believe we’re almost Christmas already as it doesn’t really feel like it. I never thought we would still be going through a worldwide pandemic by now but here we go! Anyway, the topic today is to go back to Christmas period last year when we were in the middle of our big adventure in Southeast Asia & the Pacific. In December 2019, we were visiting several cities in Australia and we were in Melbourne for Christmas. As far as I can remember, COVID19 was not worrying anyone just yet.

Christmas doesn’t mean winter for everyone

First of all, it was weird to celebrate Christmas during summer… Yes, December is a summer month in Australia, I struggled to get my head around it too. When you know their winter (June, July & August) is already quite warm compared to what Brits are used to, I will let you imagine what summer is like. We had temperatures above 40°C on multiple occasions and it was difficult to cope with at times! To me, Christmas happens during winter. People are happy if it snows because they can build a snowman, cosy up with a hot drink in front of a log fire, etc. I was certainly not used to wearing a pair of sunglasses instead! And apparently, Santa wears shorts over there. I still can’t recover from that.

How we spent Christmas day in Melbourne

Probably because of the weather, people don’t tend to lock themselves at home in Australia. They’re not vegetating for hours in front of TV like in England. They’re out and about, sometimes even enjoying a barbecue. We expected a quiet city with empty streets (like you could expect in London), but it wasn’t the case at all. After a quick video call with our families, we had Christmas dinner at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. We thought it could be fun to eat in the middle of fish swimming around us. It was open on Christmas day and not too expensive.

In hindsight, I would say it was probably not the best decision we’ve ever made: the place was absolutely packed. Not only did it take us forever to move every metre, ditching an insane quantity of kids along the way, but the dinner experience was a bit underwhelming. If we ever have the occasion to do it again, we would simply go for a ride along the sea with a picnic. If we’re away from family on Christmas day, we might as well be away from a crowd of strangers too.

christmas 2019 in melbourne australia

During Christmas period in Melbourne – December 2019

What about Boxing day?

A cricket test match traditionally happens on Boxing day, people gather with friends and/or family there and spend the day eating (usually some junk food like hot dogs, fries, doughnuts etc) while supporting the Aussies playing against another country (usually either New Zealand, India, England or South Africa). The Boxing day test occurs every year in Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) as it’s the biggest stadium in Australia. It was also the biggest in the world until February 2020! As Brits travelling in Australia, of course we went there to live the experience.

melbourne cricket ground

Boxing Day Test 2019 at the MCG – Australia vs New Zealand

Christmas traditions around the world

It has always fascinated me how different this period of the year feels between countries. Now I can say I spent Christmas in France (where I was born and raised), in England (where I currently live) and in Australia (while travelling last year). Although I never lived in Japan, this is my mum’s native country and that’s where she experienced it during her childhood. I asked her what it was like over there at that time, but I’m sure it’s very different nowadays and I would love to spend Christmas in Japan some day and see for myself. Interested to read more about Christmas traditions in France, Japan and England? Check out my guest post on Merry’s blog!

Being in London during Christmas 2020

This year feels a bit like we have the cons of last year’s Christmas but not the pros. We’re still away from family but we’re not in Australia (and basically we can’t really go anywhere). We were supposed to be under relaxed rules for 5 days over Christmas but the Government changed their mind last weekend, given the worrying rise of infections in some areas. London has been put in tier 4, which feels like a complete lockdown and we’re not allowed to mix with another household. While isolation is perfectly acceptable when travelling, it feels a bit strange when you’re home! But like I said 2 months ago, it’s important to bear in mind this is just temporary. Let’s focus on what actually matters: being/staying healthy and being grateful for what we have.

Where in the world are you celebrating Christmas this year and what are you grateful for?

Big Girl x

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