real life

Three women, three cultures, three Australian Christmases.

If Christmas catalogues, shop windows and supermarket aisles are to be believed, every Australian household celebrates Christmas Day in the same way.

Presents under the tree, a big feast full of turkey, trifle and those paper Christmas crowns that come out of the bonbons. Oh and alcohol… lots of alcohol.

But what Christmas marketing fails to show, is how multicultural our country is.

Speaking of different Christmases, what happens at a Royal Christmas? Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

In the 2016 Census, 75 per cent of Australians identified with an ancestry other than Australian as their first response, with 45 per cent reporting to have at least one parent who was born overseas. Collectively, Aussies speak over 200 languages.

So as much of the country brims with festive cheer in December, let’s not forget there are plenty of households who are either just treating it as any other day or celebrating something else entirely.

We asked three women in the Mamamia office how they spend December 25.

Tamara

What do you do on Christmas Day?

The short answer is nothing. When you're a Jewish kid, Christmas Day is like any other day, except there's even less on TV and all the stores are shut and your friends are all busy.

So we would literally sit inside and be bored, sometimes we'd go to the movies which were mercifully always open that day.

When we grew up, my sister and I decided to take matters into our own hands and reclaim Christmas Day as a celebration for ourselves, to mitigate boredom.

We try to do this every year: we cook up a big feast, make cocktails and play poker or board games with our partners.

What do you eat? Are there any traditions that you follow?

Of course over the holiday period, intersecting with Christmas, is the Jewish festival of Chanukah, which goes for eight days.

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On the first night of Chanukah, our family always celebrate by lighting candles and eating traditional food like fried potato latkes, and we sometimes hand out small presents - but I feel like the whole '8 days of Chanukah presents' is a myth. No one I know ever had that.

When we were kids we would play with dreidels and our parents would give us what's called Chanukah gelt, or chocolate money. These days I like to hand it out to to colleagues to share a little love with them.

Is there anything you dislike about not celebrating Christmas while much of the country is?

Not at all, I love seeing my friends and colleagues get into the spirit! This year I'll be joining my fiance and his family for their Christmas lunch so I'm getting in on the action!

Meghna

Meghna Narayanan.

What do you do on Christmas Day?

We still love to be a part of it. Besides Indians don't need a reason to celebrate...

Other than eat and laze around, what my family love to do is drive around to all the famous Christmas light streets. They make for spectacular viewing, particularly the houses with fake snow.

What do you eat? Are there any traditions that you follow?

We eat something festive, even if the meal is Indian.

We still do gift giving and put up a Christmas tree - it makes the room light up and we love that.

Our alternative celebration would probably be Diwali around October/November. It's always the biggest one for me.

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Is there anything you dislike about not celebrating Christmas while much of the country is?

No, not really. It's a holiday after all, so we are far from annoyed.

Melody

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What do you do on Christmas Day?

When I was a kid, my family would often go on our family holiday during the summer break. So we'd usually celebrate Christmas in some faraway place, which was quite fun. If we were at home during Christmas, we'd go over to a family friend's home on Christmas Day. As I grew older, I'd go over to my best friend's place and celebrate with their family. And now I go over to my partner's family's place on Christmas Day.

What do you eat? Are there any traditions that you follow?

I love celebrating Christmas with my loved ones (even though it's often not with my immediate family) and I'm lucky that there's always someone that will invite me over to their place on Christmas Day. I love all the classic (Australian) Christmas food of ham, turkey, seafood and pavlova (except trifle, that's an abomination).

Is there anything you dislike about not celebrating Christmas while much of the country is?

No, I love it! But sometimes I do feel strange that my family don't really celebrate Christmas together.

How do you spend December 25? Let us know in the comments below.

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