The ExPat Diary: It’s beginning to look a lot like…summer?

While at work the other day, a coworker leaned over and said, “It must be kinda weird, huh?”. The ‘weird’ he was referring to is Christmas – more specifically, Christmas in summertime. I have to say, it is really weird. The days are getting longer and everyone is talking about their summer holiday plans. At the same time, Christmas trees are going up all over the city, and everyone is also talking about their plans for Christmas. It just feels strange. On the other hand, Sydney is having it’s coldest start to summer in 50 years, so its not as bad as it could be. (‘Cold’ in this context means 70 degrees)

My little attempt at a Christmas tree.

Anyway, wintery weather sets my mind towards the holidays, so I have been having a little trouble getting into the spirit of things. There is no shortage of holiday spirit in Sydney however, and most of the ‘spirit’ is pretty similar to the States. They sing all of the standard Christmas carols, including ‘Let it Snow’.  The fact that it rarely snows anywhere in Australia doesn’t seem to bother anybody, but the Sydneysiders I’ve spoken to do think its a bit out of place.

Spotted these decorations at Starbucks the other day. That snow is way out of place.

Sydney goes all out with the decorations, and they are all very Christmas related – no ‘Happy Holidays’ here. In fact, Darling Harbour is in the midst of Santa Fest. I have to admit, it is kind of nice to say “Merry Christmas” again without any worry of being offensive.

Happy Christmas banners are all over the city

Overall, December is a very busy month in Sydney. Between Christmas, Christmas parties, summer activities, and the fact that it is the most popular month to get married (think June in the States), many Sydneysiders find that their schedule is booked right up to the new year. But everyone is also very excited. After a relatively ‘hard’ winter, everyone is ready for some sun and some time at the beach. (‘Hard’ in this context means 50 degrees).

Lots to be joyful about in December

And there is apparently plenty of time for fun. Most businesses shut down between Christmas and New Years, and not only that, but many Australians take their vacations in January. My boss told me that life is pretty laid back until February because most folks will simply not be around. Summer in December may feel weird, but I can sure get used to the time off!

In an effort to get into the swing of things, I went to Martin Place for the big Christmas kick off. Here are a few shots of the festivities, hopefully they will help you get into the spirit as well!

Stars and Christmas trees line Martin Place

Who knew Rudolph was such a good dancer!

Carols by the Sydney Girls Choir

A good turnout, despite the rainy forecast

The Martin Place Christmas Tree

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