It’s kind of an unwritten rule I suppose, that once you hit adulthood – where you choose to spend Christmas is up to you. But during my own time as a “grown up”, there hasn’t been a single year that I’ve been anywhere but here, in Perth, Western Australia for Christmas. It’s by choice. I’ve lived all over Australia, been to cities, as one P. Allen wrote, “that never close down” during the festive season, but I still know - I’ll always come home for Christmas.
I’ve had a look around me to come up with this list of all the things I love most about our uniquely West Aussie Christmas. I hope it’ll light your heart up like it has mine.
Jacaranda in bloom. The first thing I notice when it’s nearing Christmas time. Some parts of the city don’t need to be decorated there are so many Jacaranda trees lining the streets. A sight that provides the season’s first reminder to stop and enjoy the beautiful things to come and says: “Merry Christmas” to everyone who drives by.
The Beach. Simply because of our coastlines, with sand so white they resemble snow. “Dashing through the sand in our bathers and our thongs, smashing fruit mince pies, singing Christmas songs”. What? You’re telling me there’s another version?
Balmy nights. Leaving Perth really made me appreciate our warm summer evenings. Conditions that are just perfect for all the things you like to do at Christmas time. Think roof top Christmas parties, outdoor movies, and late-night shopping & markets in the lead up to the big day.
My zany family traditions. At Christmas we remember my Gram by holding a Christmas pudding contest. Entrants make a traditional pudding to Gram’s original recipe. Then at our big Braidwood gathering, my Dad, his three brothers and sister choose the best one. There are score sheets and even a list of judging criteria, supposedly to stop arguments. It doesn’t work.
The City of Perth’s Christmas Lights Trail A new tradition for my little family, and great fun with friends and loved ones too. You download a map and meander through the city’s 16 festive lights installations. There are countless photo opportunities along the way and the good news: it’s all FREE! Every night from 6pm until Christmas Day, Don't forget your walking shoes ;)
Santa. He often wears a lighter-weight suit when he’s in this hemisphere, (hey, wouldn’t you?) but he’s always accompanied by his trusty reindeer, a magical sleigh, and a few cheeky elves. Kids (and big kids) line up patiently without fail for a Snap/selfie/Insta story or old-school photo with Santa, that’ll be promptly framed, gift-wrapped and lovingly presented to Nana on Christmas Day.
Carols. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of warm nights spent holding a candle shoved through a paper dinner plate and singing Christmas Carols in the park at full voice. To get your fix, check out IGA Carols by Candlelight for Variety or, City Carollers. And remember, for a truly authentic West Aussie Christmas experience, consider local carol re-writes like the one I mentioned earlier.
Summer Love. It’s easy to come up with fun, romantic ideas for dates during a West Aussie Christmas. Plus - those previously mentioned balmy nights mean your Tinder date might show a little more skin that usual. Why not steal my idea for date-night: an early bite to eat at the Twilight Hawkers Market (Friday nights in Forrest Place), a couple of drinks at Halford Bar, then a walk by the truly beautiful Light Projections at St George’s Cathedral. The rest is up to you.
For more details about what you can do and love during your West Aussie Christmas, click the button below.
And don’t forget to tell me about your West Aussie Christmas traditions in the comments x