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Christmas in Australia Vs. Canada

Christmas in Australia Vs. Canada


Snowmen, ice hockey and skiing… These are all things that Joel Sheasby thinks of when he hears the word “Christmas”. Seafood lunches and pavlova came as quite the shock when he spent the last two Christmases in Australia…

Written by Joel Sheasby

I first came to Australia in 2020, and due to the state of the world, I was unable to fly home for Christmas in either 2020 or 2021, meaning that I got to celebrate two Christmases outside of Canada.

The starkest difference between Canada and Australia is the weather.

In December it is winter in Canada. The winter brings along with it ice, snow, and sub -30oC temperatures.

Joel Sheasby on skating on ice.

A hot Christmas still feels bizarre to me.

When I think of Christmas I think of snowmen, ice hockey, and skiing, not pools, cricket, and barbecues.

There are times in December that I will forget that it is close to Christmas because the weather is so warm.

The traditions in Canada are also different to Australia.

In Canada my family would go pick out a real Christmas tree and decorate it together every year.

Some years we would even go out into the forest and cut down a tree to bring home.

In Australia, those that have a Christmas tree almost certainly have an artificial one.

Another tradition relates the foods that you eat on Christmas. Most people in Canada typically eat a whole turkey or a ham for Christmas dinner.

My family would always have this big meal in the evening. In Australia I found that the biggest meal on Christmas is a lunch, and is more likely to consist of prawns, seafood, and barbecued meat.

Joel’s Australian Christmas experience.

The desserts are different as well.

In Canada a typical dessert is often a pie or a type of pudding, definitely not a pavlova. One of my favourite desserts is Nanaimo bars, which is a custardy chocolate slice that my family would always have around Christmas.


The general Christmas spirit is also vastly different in Canada compared to Australia.

In Canada you see far more Christmas lights, decorations, and even music playing compared to Australia.

In Canada I would often bundle up in my boots, jacket, and mittens to go out and look at Christmas lights.

Stores would have decorations and play Christmas music. You see some of this in Australia, but not to the same extent as you would in Canada.

Christmas lights in Canada

Perhaps this is tradition, or perhaps it is just commercialisation, but either way it leads to the overall environment being much more festive in Canada.

Despite all these differences, there are a lot of similarities between Christmas in Canada and Christmas in Australia.

Both holidays consist of getting together with family, opening presents, and eating copious amounts of good food. Most people will have some time off from work.

School is either on holiday, being either the summer or winter break. Even for those that are not religious, Christmas gives a good opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends rather than spend time at work.

Whether it is beside the fireplace, or beside the air con, Christmas in Canada or Australia both have their charm, but for me I will always associate Christmas with the snow and the cold.

To me, you can’t beat the beauty of a white Christmas, and if you get the opportunity, I definitely recommend spending a winter in Canada.

Christmas in Canada.

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