Christmas Eve in Australia

When is Christmas Eve in Australia?

Christmas Eve in Australia is on December 24, 2022. It falls on Saturday.

How many days until Christmas Eve in Australia?

There are 19 Days left until Christmas Eve in Australia.

Is Christmas Eve a public holiday in Australia?

Christmas Eve is an occasion celebrated all throughout Australia. Although December 24 is not considered a national holiday, there are some states in Australia that have actually designated the day to become a regional holiday. Northern Territory (7pm-midnight), Queensland (6pm-midnight), and South Australia (7pm-midnight), are the states which designated the day to become a public holiday, but only in the evening. Since the holiday is not for the entire day, the 24th of December is known as ‘part-day public holiday’ in these states. For this reason, most businesses in the said states would close at the time the holiday starts. That would be 6pm in QLD and 7pm to both NT and SA. However, there are actually some other companies that would close earlier than usual to give their employees an earlier time off work.

For the rest of the country’s states (NSW, TAS, VIC, WA, and the country’s internal and external territories), December 24 is still considered a normal working day. Although there are also other companies that would give their employees a day off or a half-day, to give them time to prepare for the occasion, majority of the businesses in these states would continue to operate as usual. Several shops and shopping centers would even remain open until midnight of the said date, to cater those people who would have some last-minute shopping for the Christmas celebration. The schools and other educational institutions on the other hand, are expected to be closed at this time. The students should already be in their summer break.

Christmas Eve Origin

Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations observed universally. For Christian countries, the celebration has religious meaning on it since it’s the day Jesus (central figure in Christianity) was born. The first Christmas celebration was said to occur in Rome on December 25, 336. Later on, with the Christianity’s expansion around the world, the celebration was adapted by many countries which made billions of people to start celebrating the Christmas occasion (either religiously/culturally). Australia is one of those countries which accepted the Christian religion. The Australians have embraced Christianity beginning in the 18th century. When the first British settlers arrive in Sydney back in January 1788, Christianity was introduced immediately to the Australians. The country has then celebrated its first Christmas Day way back December 25, 1788, at Sydney Cove, Australia. With this, it could be understood that the first Christmas Eve was also observed on the 24th of December of the same year. Since then up until present, the occasion has continued to be celebrated by millions of Australians. Currently, Christmas season is one of the busiest days in the country.

Christmas Eve Traditions in Australia

Christmas Eve is observed every 24th of December as it is the night before Christmas Day. This is an occasion widely celebrated in the global society. Many people from across the globe look forward to not just the Christmas Day but Christmas Eve as well. In fact, there are some countries which celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas Day itself. As for the Australians, Christmas Day is a bigger celebration than Christmas Eve. However, it doesn’t mean that Christmas Eve is less celebrated. Several festive activities are actually observed during the occasion. Christmas Eve can be taken literally as the night before Christmas Day, or it could be the entire day of the 24th of December.

Enjoying Summer Season

In Australia, since there are workers who are given a full day off or a half-day on Dec. 24, many of them indulge in several summer activities as part of the celebration for the Christmas Eve. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia’s summer season starts in the month of December until February. Thus, the country’s way of celebrating Christmas is unique comparing to others. Going to the beaches is the main choice for many Aussies (this is how the Australians call themselves) since it’s the country’s summer season. Swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and beach volleyball are the common activities done during the day. One of the interesting sights in Australia, either on the 24th or the 25th of December, is seeing Santa in beach shorts or on a surfboard. This is one of the facts which made Australian’s Christmas celebration unique. Beach Barbecues (Barbie for the Aussies since it’s the slang word for barbecue in Australia) are also very popular during the occasion. And while many Aussies spend the day in the beaches, there are also others, especially the male population, which would take advantage of the day off, to play sports, e.g. cricket, tennis, basketball, soccer, and golf.

Christmas Decorations

The Aussies, just like other Christian countries around the world, also love to decorate their households for the Christmas season. Several Australians might have their Christmas decorations in the earlier days of the month, but there are some of them who would put out these decorations the day before Christmas Day. Christmas bush, Christmas bellflower, Christmas lights, glass baubles, tinsel, snowmen, Santa Claus figures, and even a fake snow, are the ones used for the decorations. Wreaths are also commonly seen in the front doors of every Australian household. Of course, these decorations are incomplete without the presence of the Christmas tree itself. Although not everyone, but many of the Australians would put up a Christmas tree with its fancy ornaments either inside or outside of their houses. As a fun activity, some neighborhoods in the country would even organize for a healthy competition to see who got the best Christmas decorations (Christmas lights and Christmas tree). In addition, many towns and cities throughout Australia would also put out magnificent Christmas trees outdoors for the public to marvel.

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight (which started in Melbourne in 1938) is currently one of the highlights of Australia’s Christmas celebration. Although Carols by Candlelight is now observed all throughout the country, the one held in Melbourne is the most popular. Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight is usually held during the celebration of Christmas Eve (other states and cities usually held theirs few days before Dec. 24). This is an event happening at midnight wherein thousands of people gather outside (usually in the parks or outdoor venues of the state’s towns and cities), holding a candle and singing along with the Christmas Carols. Many Aussies attend such event since aside from it being a concert-type activity, it is also a charity music event which could help Vision Australia’s charity work. Fireworks displays are also organized in the local parks by the bigger cities to make the event even livelier.

Other customs

Putting up a large candle in the front window or at the entrance of the household, is also observed by some Australian families (especially those who follow the Irish traditions) during the celebration of Christmas Eve. This is a practice done since the Aussies believed that by doing so, they can welcome the Holy Family (baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph). Hence, during Christmas Eve, the youngest child/member of the family will be the one to light up the candle. Attending the midnight mass during the occasion is also a tradition observed by the Aussies. Once mass is over, the family would then enjoy themselves with the parties held for the occasion, have fun with the company of their families, and feast on the dishes prepared.

Like the western countries, the young children in Australia also believed in Santa Claus. The children believed that Santa Claus or known as the Father Christmas, would bring gifts to them (especially if they have been behaving well for the entire year) during Christmas Eve or on the earlier hours of Christmas Day. The little kids believed that the socks are where Santa would be putting the presents at, which they would open first thing in the morning of Christmas Day. Thus, hanged socks by the fireplace/bedpost is a typical sight for those Australian families with young children. And while other countries leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, in Australia, a bottle/can of cold beer is what’s commonly left for Santa. With the Christmas season, sending Christmas greeting cards to far away families and friends, is also customary for the Aussies.

Christmas Meal

For the Australian’s Christmas meal, it is either done during lunchtime of Dec. 25 (hottest part of the day), or in the cooler evening hours of the 24th of December, as a Christmas Eve dinner. While majority of the Aussies will have their Christmas meal during lunch time of the Christmas Day itself, some of them prefer to have their Christmas meal along with the celebration of Christmas Eve. Seafoods (prawns and oysters), cold meats (cold ham and turkey), cold desserts (pavlova and trifle), traditional roast meats, Christmas plum pudding, and Christmas Crackers, are the typical dishes served during the celebration. A barbecue Christmas dinner is also popular in the country. Foods grilled include vegetables, seafood, lamb, steak, and other meats.

Dates of Observance for Christmas Eve
Year Date Day Holiday
2022 December 24 Saturday Christmas Eve
2023 December 24 Sunday Christmas Eve
2024 December 24 Tuesday Christmas Eve
2025 December 24 Wednesday Christmas Eve
2026 December 24 Thursday Christmas Eve
2027 December 24 Friday Christmas Eve
Upcoming Australia Holidays
Holiday Date
Christmas Eve December 24, 2022
Christmas Day December 25, 2022
Boxing Day December 26, 2022