Two hundred years ago, in the early 19th century, Christmas in Australia underwent an evolution. European settlers, primarily from England, brought with them the traditions of their homeland, finding them incompatible with the 30 degree weather. Instead, they adapted their traditions to the Australian climate. However, the celebration was modest, often centered around religious observances and simple family gatherings.
Back then, meals during the Christmas season were likely to feature locally sourced ingredients. Australians would have enjoyed a feast of fresh seafood, native fruits, and meats cooked over an open flame. Christmas pudding, a British tradition, still found its way onto tables, despite the warm weather. This dense, spiced fruitcake was often served with a side of custard or brandy sauce. The persistence of fruitcake (which some would argue should have been left behind) shows some things never change.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Australians began incorporating outdoor activities into their Christmas celebrations. Picnics and barbecues became popular ways to enjoy the summer weather. Traditional British dishes like roast turkey and ham persisted, but now they shared the spotlight with lighter fare such as salads and cold meats. The iconic pavlova, a meringue-based dessert topped with fresh fruits, also made its debut during this time, becoming a staple of the Aussie Christmas table.
By the mid-20th century, Christmas in Australia had fully embraced a laid-back, outdoor lifestyle. The post-World War II era brought increased prosperity and cultural diversity to the country, influencing the way Aussies celebrated the holiday. The 1950s and 1960s saw the rise of the backyard barbecue as a quintessential Aussie Christmas tradition. Families gathered around the grill, enjoying a variety of meats and seafood, often accompanied by salads and cold beer.
By the 1970s and 1980s, Australia had become home to a huge variety of cultures and groups of people. Christmas reflected the best parts of Australia’s multiculturalism, with a diverse array of dishes. Mediterranean-inspired feasts with dishes like prawns, oysters, and lamb became popular (for good reason).
Christmas is a family-oriented and personal event, where each person has a unique Christmas tradition, but some iconic figures of Christmas stretch across the country. The late 20th century saw the emergence of a distinctly Australian Christmas character – Santa Claus in boardshorts. With kangaroos pulling the sleigh and an old Holden ute stacked full of presents, Christmas finally found its flow in Australia.
Santa Claus, beach volleyball, backyard cricket and evergreen Christmas trees are an important part of the Christmas tradition, but there’s something extra special about the Christmas feast. Families from across the country will gather for a traditional Christmas lunch or dinner, whether it is a more casual affair, or the biggest bash of the year.
Modern Aussie Christmas meals often feature a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes. Seafood remains a highlight, with prawns, oysters, and fish gracing the table alongside glazed ham and roast turkey. Barbecues are still a popular choice, with a variety of meats, grilled vegetables, and salads taking centre stage. Beer and dessert are never far behind, either. The turkeys and hams brought over from England in the 1800s still have their iconic place at Christmas dinner (or for some, Christmas Eve).
In recent years, Australians have embraced a more sustainable approach to Christmas. With a greater awareness of environmental issues, many families are opting for locally sourced, seasonal produce and reducing their impact on the planet. So far, Sunshine Coast Organic Meats has had over 500 Christmas orders! We love this evolution of Christmas towards not only more sustainable and ethical meat products, but tastier and more nutritious food. Christmas is even more fulfilling with high quality and ethically produced produce.
Join all the other Aussies around the country who are buying ethically this Christmas with Sunshine Coast Organic Meats. There’s only fifteen days more to put in your Christmas orders.
Check out the Christmas 2023 tab to see what’s on offer and add to your cart.