Cue cultural exchange

Thank you to Deb from Not Inadequate and my Ohio-an friend Jane for inspiring me to share a bit of Aussie Christmas culture.

It's a weird kind of situation in here in Australia. We are warming up to summer and singing about White Christmas's and Dashing through the Snow!! It's up to 40 degrees (celcisus! I know - we're weird like that too) outside and we are humming along to Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.

We do actually have a couple of semi-famous Aussie Christmas carols! The most recognisable is the imitable Rolf Harris' Six White Boomers (boomers are big kangaroos!):

And it is quite common in primary (elementary) schools to learn the alternate lyrics to Jingle Bells:

Now, I realise that some of our slang is not just in case you aren't up with all the Aussie words, here is a bit of a translation for you:

bush - scrubland or brush
ute - utility or pickup truck
esky - cooler for storing food and drinks (mostly beer)
kelpie - breed of Australian cattle dog
thongs - no, not a g-string! Flip flops or jandles!
swaggie - swagman (probably closest to a hobo)
barbeque - bbq or grill

I heard on the radio that Carols by Candlelight  is a uniquely Australian tradition - we light candles and sing all the snowy carols. There are big versions in both Sydney and Melbourne and many around the country. Can anyone confirm or deny this - do you have Carols by Candlelight in the US?

I love Lucy Durack - she was Glinda in Wicked!

And apparently Boxing Day is not a big deal either, but we have a number of huge sporting events - the Boxing Day Test (cricket - 5 days to play and maybe not get result!) and the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (you can win line honours but not actually win the race). And we have big Boxing Day sales in the stores (which I do tend to avoid).

Increasingly, we see Christmas in July celebrations popping up - particularly in the colder parts of Australia (the Blue Mountains make a big deal of it) so we can enjoy a hot dinner, without the heat and maybe with the chance of snow.

And now to go cook up some leftover ham and eggs for breakfast (brunch?)!


  1. I've never heard of Carols by Candlelight, but I don't get out much. We do not have Boxing Day at all, and I only know vaguely what that is. That's the day you Box up something? A present? To the less fortunate? Or something?

    Sadly, I am just another ignorant American. Darn it.

    Now, I'm going to make notes of all those words so I can say I speak Aussie AND Canadian.

  2. Boxing Day used to be the day when the wealthy would give their servants a gift. Given my lack of servants, it is a public holiday where lots of tv watching and eating of leftovers occur. An afternoon nap is a tradition in this household too!

  3. Darn it is very American too! We would say "bugger". I was well into my teens before I discovered the other, less salubrious, usage of that word.


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