Christmas Traditions in Melbourne
It’s that time of year again, when Melbournians untangle the Christmas lights, fire up the BBQ and fight over who has to dress up as Santa Claus. Christmas in the southern hemisphere is a little different to other places around the world. Instead of snow, eggnog and turkey dinner, we have decorated shop windows, seafood feasts and cricket!
Here we uncover some of the most popular and unusual Christmas traditions in Melbourne.
Carols by Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight is a great tradition that brings the spirit of Christmas to many Melbournians. Usually held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl alongside the Yarra River, the carols are sung by local celebrities, including at least one Neighbours star, a TV news presenter who no one knew could sing, and most recent winner of Australian Idol/Australian Got Talent/The Voice.
The Myer Windows Christmas display is an annual tradition that almost didn’t go ahead in 2020. Luckily we stuck to our guns at beating the coronavirus, and the heartwarming window display was able to return for it’s 65th year. Located in the centre of the city, the department store’s windows are decorated with a different Christmas story each year. In 2020 it’s a story called ‘Christmas is Uncancelled’. Every year during December it’s a common sight to see families lining up and making their way along the windows, taking in the Christmas tale.
December is the time to pull boxes of decorations out of the cupboard and attempt to untangle strings of Christmas lights. In some neighbourhoods around Melbourne there seems to be a competition to see who can create the most elaborate display (and massively increase their electricity bill). In other areas it’s a community effort, with households coming together to create a Christmas wonderland. A popular activity is to walk these streets in the evenings and take in all the colourful lights and decorations.
Prawns and Christmas BBQs
Nevermind a roast dinner, a Christmas feast in Melbourne is all about fresh seafood and a good old Aussie BBQ. There’s no hard and fast rule for what to put on the menu for Christmas in Melbourne. But the warm weather is a great excuse to get outside, so salads, seafood and BBQ are popular choices. With such a multicultural population in our city, if you were to duck into people’s backyards on Christmas day, you’d no doubt find a huge array of foods being enjoyed!
It just wouldn’t be Christmas in Melbourne if Santa Claus didn’t make an appearance. At family celebrations if the real Santa can’t make it, then it’s usually an (un)lucky uncle who gets the gig. Donning a full red, fur-lined Santa suit on what is usually a scorcher of a summer day, is never an easy job. But the smiles (or looks of terror) on the kids faces makes it all worthwhile.
Boxing Day Test
The day after Christmas is when the annual Boxing Day cricket match kicks off. The first day of the five day test is a must-watch for cricket fans. For those who can make it to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to watch live, it’s one of the best and most boisterous days on the cricketing calendar. For everyone else, sitting at home on the couch with the air conditioner on and a plate full of Christmas leftovers, is how it should be done.