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Differences between US, Australian Christmastime

Guest Columnist

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 23:01

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With school underway the Christmas holidays are well and truly behind us, but before classes, work and the everyday busyness of life take hold let’s take a moment to remember just how amazing it was.

The carols, the presents, the food, the beach… No, you aren’t hallucinating, I just said Christmas at the beach. Now before you go and call me crazy let me explain myself. One of the perks of being an international student is that I get to experience the best of both worlds.

When it comes to Christmas, I’ve had the luxury of experiencing two very different, but equally brilliant holidays. Christmas back home in Australia, is hot, sweaty, and sticky and I love every moment of it. Instead of being inside sitting around a fire, we lie out by the pool or take a trip to the beach. Instead of little kids looking like snowballs all rugged up, there are toddlers parading around in nappies (diapers), togs (swim suits), and thongs (flip-flops).

Gone are giant turkeys, roasted chickens and yummy pies. Instead my Christmas lunch is made up of fresh prawns (NOT shrimp), which may or may not be ‘thrown on the barbie’; cold meats, giant salads, and for dessert the greatest creation known to man: the pavlova.

It is common knowledge to any Australian or New Zealander that the pavlova is so amazing I’m going to take a second right now and attempt to explain the gloriousness that is this dessert. Picture this: a crisp, sugary merengue crust encircling a light, ‘marshmellowy’ center. Top this with fresh cream and even fresher fruit – namely passion fruit, kiwi fruit and strawberries – and you have the genius that is pavlova.

Don’t get me wrong though, I loved my American Christmas experience. One thing I can say is that you guys know how to decorate a tree like nobody’s business. Wearing boots and a scarf was a welcome change and even though I was in Texas, I didn’t feel like a complete imposter when I sang along to “White Christmas.”

One of the most comforting things about spending Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere is that the majority of Christmas carols actually make sense! Singing about snow-covered hills in a country mainly covered in desert and surrounded by tropical beaches isn’t one of the aspects of my life that has made the most sense.

However don’t fear, instead of losing our national identity over the years, we Aussies fashioned our own Christmas carols, our most famous and most loved being the good ol’ “Six White Boomers.”

Since Australians are deprived of the gloriousness that is Thanksgiving (can you tell how much I love food yet?) and Black Friday, we’ve developed our own version. One of the best parts of Christmas in Australia (or any commonwealth country for that matter) comes the next day with what we lovingly call Boxing Day. This is the Down Under equivalent to black Friday and it also comes with people camping outside stores to try and grab bargains, however we are yet to have our first pepper spray fiasco!

Whether I get to spend my Christmas up north, or Down Under, I love it for the memories, for getting to see my family, and for eating meals three times too large without judgment.

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