Christmas Is Different When You Are Upside Down

I guess the one thing that is still weird living over here in Australia is Christmas.

Christmas feels just so different here…

We went from this:

xmastreesnowTo this:


It does not feel weird because of this huge change. It is not just because we went from celebrating Christmas in winter with snow and cold temperatures to celebrating Christmas in summer and most of the time in pretty high temperatures. That is actually something I kind of like. Although, I admit, I am still dreaming of a white Christmas…

But Christmas on a beach has its good sides too, you know.

What I honestly struggle with is the fact that it does not get dark until 9.30pm-ish… And therefor all the beautiful lights are not really doing, what they used to do back in Switzerland.

xmasoutsideI miss that feeling of it being dark outside and you are inside, lights on, candles on, and you sit there and reflect on yourself, your life and the past year. I is kind of different to do that here in summer… It is hard. Maybe it is just because I am used to the other way. After all I celebrated Christmas for 33 years of my life “up North”, on the other side of the World… And I am not even starting about baking cookies when it is hot outside. So thankfully for today the weather forecast promises rather low temperatures. Cookies here I come!

Something I have found down here is, that the Christmas decorations are not a big deal. The suburbs are not really getting out there doing a big thing and although you see a couple of houses decorated, it is again not the same like back in Europe. Or in the USA. You need to go out and look for the decorated houses… Kind of sad.

When we moved all of our Christmas tradition were kind lost. As much as we wanted them to still be there, they did no longer really belong or were just not possible any longer…

So we started a different little tradition here. Of course we decorate the house. Nothing over the top, after all we are still Swiss (kind of) and that is what you do… you don’t go overboard… But we decorate and I love it. I love when the lights are on, even if it is late. And I am happy for the kids to stay up. It is school holidays soon, also for them. So they should be able to enjoy the lights too.

And we usually take our tree out (a fake one) and put it up on December 1st. From then onwards the kids are allowed to put up two ornaments each day after day. And just like this the tree “grows into shape” and gets prettier and prettier. And the excitement! Of course they want to put up more but we don’t let them… But they so want to! And that is what I like! They get excited about Christmas. Not because of the gifts they will receive but for the fact that they want that tree to be done and beautiful. And it will be their tree. They decorated it.

xmastreeAnother little tradition we have is that my MIL (mother-in-law) cooks for us on Christmas Eve and we celebrate at hers and then my hubby cooks our Christmas day dinner. But not this year. This year we will break the habit a little bit. This time I will be in charge on Christmas Day. And I am so looking forward to this!

What are your traditions? Are they the same as the ones you grew up with or did you have to change them slightly? What is the one tradition you don’t want to break with?

50 thoughts on “Christmas Is Different When You Are Upside Down

      • I do miss many things. The weather especially. But I don’t miss how it has never made sense. My famiky and I always saw tge Christmas stuff as a commercial thing. But here it makes much more sense. I dont know exactly how, but it does. I do enjoy the Australian Christmas dont get me wrong. In fact its totally awesome. But it’s the way they have always tried to translate the European Christmas that’s always baffled me.

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      • Please don’t get me wrong but in general I feel like there is a lack if heart in the way it is celebrated here in most cases… Kind of just another excuse for a BBQ and a beer… I know it sounds harsh and I know there are others. And maybe it only seems like it. Comming from Europe there is definitely something missing…

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      • I absolutely agree to be honest. Especially after being here. I mean growing up we loved it for what it was, but it definitely lacks that special feeling and meaning often portrayed in the Christmas specials and so on. I think Australians being less religious tend to make it more about the immediate family. If you come from Europe I 100% understand why you woukd feel the way you do. And you aren’t tge first of my European friends to say so. In the end I guess its just different but if you want a traditional Christmas Australia is certainly going to leave you wanting. What has always got me is how in the city, on the TV, at work and everywhere in between it’s full traditional Christmas with decoration and trees and fake snow. But then at home it’s entirely different. As I said it’s just different in the end but its certainly confused.

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      • Still love my life down here. And it kind of makes you think about what is important for you… And after all, thanks to Christmas in July over here I get to kind of have the xmas feeling twice a year 😉

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  1. We always decorate the whole tree all at once as a family, some night after dinner. Sometimes the same day we buy the (living) tree. Sometimes halfway through the month. Ever since work took over my schedule, that of the family has gotten really loose. Sometimes we forget the tree—until the 20th!

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  2. I like the idea of writing a greeting on the beach. I could start that as a new tradition since I live near a beach that’s mostly sunny this time of year. (Southern California)
    Some anonymous person puts a fully decorated tree up on the beach each year. So, visiting it has started to work its way into our traditions.

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  3. Bei uns ist es Tradition, dass die älteste Tochter, also ich, das Privileg hat, am 23.12. abends den Baum zusammen mit Mama zu schmücken. Mittlerweile helfen auch die “Kleinen” manchmal mit, die schon lange nicht mehr so sind (19 und 15). Am 24.12. gibt es dann das Fest mit der Familie. Zuerst bei Papa, dann bei Mama.

    Danke für die schönen Fotos und die interessanten Unterschiede zwischen Norden und Süden. 🙂

    Liebe Grüße,


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  4. No snow on the ground. Saw some light flurries earlier in the day, but at 22F it’s probably too cold to snow. :/ Forecast is starting to look promising for a White Christmas – Nothing like a little “Wallace and Davis” to get you in the spirit 😉

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  5. Wow I can’t imagine Christmas in the warm weather but I think I could get used to it in order to escape NYC chilly winters ! I’m sure your first Christmas in Australia was interesting!
    Your family traditions sound lovely!!!

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  6. I know it’s a bit weird not having a white Christmas, but it’s actually interesting to have summery Christmas to enjoy the beach and beautiful sunlight 🙂 There are a lot you can do with the beautiful summery weather 😉

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  7. I love your tradition of decorating the tree day by day! I understand you melancholic feelings, since you celebrated and experienced the Christmas time like we are doing overhere. It is different, sure! But don’t forget to see the whole picture. You live at a place you love and which you call home! Isn’t it worth it. When we lived in Buffalo we had snow at Christmas and all the lights around. It was beautiful… but… besides my husband and daughter, there was no family around as I was used to. So even there I missed something. Whenever you are somwhere els, it is gonna be different. Anyway, have a merry Christmas and simpy celebrate it your NEW way.
    Btw. how old are your children? You also seem to be about my age. I am 44.

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    • Thank you! Don’t get me wrong, there are heaps of things I love and Christmas is always beautiful with my family, no matter where we are :-). Yes, I am your age, turning 42 next year. Kids are almost 8 and almost 12.

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      • So you are muuuuch younger… 😉 That means your kids grew up in Australia. That’s cool! No, I didn’t get you wrong, but I understand that at times we miss some specific things. And that’s good. It means that our heart doesn’t forget and stores all the love and the beauty we experienced once in our life.

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  8. Im in the US and the way they celebrate christmas is sooo different from how its done in australia. Im obsessed with christmas decorations and christmas trees. I will be posting all my US finds on my blog soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Weather is unpredictable this time of year in Louisiana. Most of the time it’s at least sweater weather, but we have have picnics on Christms. One year we were iced in. That was kind of nice.

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  11. You have kept your family traditions, and your children will get to enjoy them with you, even though you now live elsewhere – that is what makes Christmas special! I put up a tree every year and decorate it. I do miss a warmer Christmas though, and eating fresh summer fruit and enjoying time outdoors. Now it is too cold to go out and play!

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  12. I broke the traditions that I was raised with, and now my children are older we made our own traditions. We have breakfast together we make it a big deal, do the presents opening and the photos and then the rest of the day is free… One daughter has a partner so they go to his family, and my Bloke and Star Son and I usually escape to our holiday place down at St.Leonards near Geelong.
    I like to change things up, so whenever the children want to host us, I’ll be there.

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