Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Summer Christmas

It doesn't feel like Christmas. It's 80 degrees and we've been spending our weekends at the beach instead of scraping ice off our windshields and essentially freezing to death. It doesn't look like Christmas either. Instead of snow, we've got sand and palm trees and green grass. I obviously knew that a Melbourne Christmas would differ from a Minnesota Christmas, and I'm definitely not complaining about the weather, but I expected it to be a little bit more...Christmas-y.

One thing that has continued to surprise me as Christmas approaches is the lack of decoration and "holiday spirit". At home, there's a sort of innate Christmas "feeling" that is absent here. I've walked into only a handful of stores that were playing Christmas music. In the U.S., starting right after Halloween, every single store is decorated and the malls essentially look and sound like Christmas exploded. That's not to say Christmas is totally absent here, but it's definitely a toned-down version of what I'm used to! Here are a few decorations around the city: 
Myer, one of the larger department stores, has a window display that people stand in line to see. It reminds me of the Macy's 8th floor in Minneapolis, except much smaller and outdoors. 
The most Christmas-y store in Melbourne Central.
The Royal Arcade is decked out in garlands and trees. It's one of the most decorated places in the city. 
A Christmas greeting on Flinder's Street Station. Despite Australia's decidedly secular culture, there doesn't seem to be much controversy over a huge sign in the middle of the city that bears the word "Christmas".
A sad mall display. Weak effort. 
The giant mistletoe over the Yarra River. 


  1. We miss you (especially at Christmas time)! Hope that your Christmas will be great with Sam there
    to keep you busy. Love you!!!!

    1. Looking forward to coming home in January and your visit in February!

  2. We do miss you. Our second annual food, game and white elephant get together will not be the same without you and Peter. Merry Christmas to you and enjoy the weather. We just got back from Portland taking care of gkids. It was like early spring there, rainy and green. Hi to Peter.

    1. Wish we could be at the second annual game night! We had such fun last year. Sounds like you were able to escape to some nicer weather in Portland!

  3. We keep talking about how they use Christmas. We love how it is used every where here. Have you noticed Coles? They even have Merry Christmas on their shirts. We have had problems getting in the Christmas spirit also. We started inviting people over for our Christmas tradions, found Christmas candles, and have slowly started getting the spirit. Good luck. I know hot Christmas is so weird.

    1. I have seen the Christmas shirts which are really strange to me! We will just need to take advantage of the hot Christmas and go to the beach :).

  4. I guess for us Aussies, summer and Christmas are inextricably linked. In fact its weird thinking of it the other way around. Maybe that's why getting into the Christmas spirit is done a little different. It is paradoxical that along with summer we also perpetuate Northern Hemisphere Christmas icons like carols referring to winter and winter Christmas decorations but perhaps that can't be helped due to our society's historical European origins. Having said that, back in 2006, there was some freak weather where it actually snowed on Christmas day on the outskirts of Melbourne - so some of us actually had a white Christmas in the middle of summer! (
    On a side note one thing I don't particularly like about summer in Victoria is that the grass tends to turn yellow/brown in about Jan/Feb. So the garden state doesn't look very gardeny in the summer months. So Laura, if your friends/family are visiting you guys that time of year they'll notice this.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. I have noticed Christmas cards with snowmen and phrases such as "let it snow" in stores and definitely got a kick out of them! I can't believe it snowed on Christmas a few years back...I am learning Melbourne weather is unpredictable at best. I was actually wondering about the grass, since I've heard January is the hottest month. I do have some family coming in February so I'm hoping for decent (not deathly hot) weather! Merry Christmas to you!

  5. i just can´t imagine "no white christmas", but australia is one of my top destinations in the world... :) thank you for photos and showing how it looks over there during christmas session :)

    1. It's definitely weird to not have snow...I can't say it feels like Christmas, but I'm enjoying the warm weather! If you get the chance, you should absolutely visit many fun things to see and do.



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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