The Lesser Known Traditions of Christmas in Queensland

Christmas Festival in Queensland

Contribution by Lifestyle Expert Janine Mergler

Christmas in Queensland, it’s… full of its own experiences.  While our northern hemisphere buddies put on a side of beef or violate a turkey with a ball of breadcrumbs, here in Queensland, we do things a bit differently.  If it’s your first red-hot holiday season here, let me share with you exactly what you need to know.  I’ve done roughly 40 (let’s not get into specifics) Christmasses in the Sunshine State, with and without kids.  I’ve even created an entire guide to Christmas Down Under because I get soooo deeply into it. Let me share with you what you’ve got coming.

The Traditional Beach Barbecue Christmas Lunch

Granpa reserving the table at Christmas

While our southern counterparts may be heading off to a fancy buffet at the local luxe hotel, Queensland family Christmases traditionally take place with ocean views.  Pack the esky and head to the local beach for a barbecue and swim.  Traditionally, Grandpa plays the biggest role here.  Once the presents are opened and the morning chaos subsides, Grandpa buys himself a newspaper or charges up his phone and sits at the local beach for four hours guarding the very best table and BBQ.  This is his special Christmas role.  He may take grandkids with him to keep them out from underfoot while food prep gets underway.  Beach cricket may or may not happen, it’s optional but popular.  Sunburn on the other hand is mandatory.

The Great Christmas Eve Seafood Tradition

Queensland Christmas Platter, Moreton Bay Bugs and Sandcrabs

It’s 3am on Christmas Eve. The trawlers are in, stocked with tons of just-caught seafood.  The goal here is to get yourself the very best seafood you’ve tasted all year.  You and 927,000 of your neighbours tow empty eskies to the trawler docks, or to the seafood market and camp out like a teenager waiting for Taylor Swift tickets.  You stock yourself up with more seafood than you could POSSIBLE eat and then prove yourself wrong about how much seafood you could possibly eat in the coming days.

LORDY the Fruit

Christmas fruit platter

Here in Queensland, we like our plums fresh, not in steaming hot pudding.  Stone fruit, cherries, berries and of course, mangos…are the traditional Christmas desserts.  Top a pavlova with some cream and all the fruit you can find. Everyone loves fruit on Christmas day, even people who haven’t eaten a piece of fruit since last Christmas day.

Get the Pool Cleaned!

Christmas Pool Parties

Are you the one in seven?  Or, in if you’re in regional Queensland, the ONE IN FOUR, households that own a pool? If you don’t get your pool regularly serviced, it’s time to splurge.  The hot months are hard on pools and the influx of bodies around the Christmas period can make for a very green new year.  Get the chemical balance right to ensure the kids have somewhere to burn off that sugar rush.  The traditional Christmas celebration may include street parties with the neighbours, and interstate visits from family (now you’re in Queensland and they have somewhere to spend their holidays for free!) and generally, kids dropping in for a swim.


Lights, Camera, Carols!

Christmas Carols by Candlelight

I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, jeez I wish I could hear a bunch of primary schoolers brutally butcher Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer.  Well, you’re in luck.  The warm summer nights make Queensland Christmas a resplendent affair, with tons of Christmas caroling events, light displays and dubiously dressed Santa meet and greet events.  Plan to load up the kids and do drive-bys on beautifully decorated homes.  Plan to eat your weight in food truck cuisine while watching 10-year-olds play Silent Night on cellos bigger than them.  It’s all happening!

Christmas Shopping in Person

Yes, we shop online in Queensland, especially if you’re in one of the more remote regions.  But how we love to ‘hit the shops’ too.  It’s a mosh pit at your local Westfield for a good two months before the big day (and after when the sales kick in).  Why do Queenslanders love hitting the shops so much?  The air-con.  It’s 40+ degrees out there.  It’s closer to 50 in your kitchen in the pre-Christmas cook-a-thon.  We hit the shops because the shops are nice. They’re cool and convenient and filled with Christmas carols and gawdy decorations and lines to meet Santa and themed coffee options. We love a bit of Chrissy Shopping in Queensland.

Family Traditions

Whether you’re a Queensland lifer or a newbie here, the tradition of…making traditions is probably the most important one.  We’re a young country. The original custodians of our land didn’t “do Christmas” so we have no real history to cling to.  Queensland in particular has always marched to our own (sometimes dubious) drum. So, we make our own rules. Make our own traditions and give our kids uniquely “us” memories of Christmas.  That’s your real job this year, give your kids an Australian Christmas unlike any other.



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