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Australian Christmas Songs and Slang

Christmas is a month-long state of mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.

Koala Seasonal Cards From Australia

Koala Seasonal Cards From Australia

Australians Have Their Own Unique Holiday Tunes

If you assume that people all over the world sing the same Christmas songs, you'll change your thinking once you hear some Australian Christmas carols. You may recognize the melodies of some of the tunes, but the lyrics are uniquely Aussie. Their sense of humor and fun-loving character turns something traditional into something off-beat and unusual.

I lived in Australia for three and a half years and fell in love with its remarkable country and friendly people. Christmas in a hot climate during mid-summer was a definite adjustment for an American. Many Australian Christmas tunes include slang and abbreviated words that might baffle you, so I've explained some terms below. Enjoy holiday music from down under by listening to the videos I've featured here.

"Christmas in Australia"

Some Christmas Songs From the Land Down Under

If you enjoy the songs featured on my page, you can look for more on YouTube, Amazon, or Spotify. Instead of snow and yule log fires, an Australian Christmas songs are more likely to be about the surf and sun. Here are some suggested titles to get you started:

  • "The Carol of the Birds"
  • "Santa Never Made It Into Darwin"
  • "The Aussie Barbecue"
  • "The Three Drovers" by William G. James
  • "12 Days of Aussie Christmas"
  • "Six White Boomers"
  • "The Day That Christ Was Born On"
  • "Deck the Sheds"
  • "Silver Stars in the Sky"
  • "The Little Town Where Christ Was Born"
  • "C'mon, It's an Aussie Christmas"
  • "Let My Heart Be Home at Christmas Time"
  • "Yobbo Santa"
  • "We Wish You a Ripper Christmas"
  • "Deck the Shed With Bits of Wattle"
  • "Cunnamulla Santa"

Australian Version of "Jingle Bells"

Aussie Slang in This Song

  • Esky: an insulated cooler
  • Boot: the trunk of the car
  • Holden Ute: a utility vehicle like a pick-up
  • Singlet: a sleeveless undershirt
  • Shorts: very short shorts for casual wear
  • Thongs: rubber flip-flops
  • Beaut: wonderful or beautiful
  • Kelpie: An Australian sheepdog
  • Swaggie: a swagman or worker who travels about with a rolled-up bedroll (swag)
  • Family snap: group photo or snapshot
  • All shoot through: to leave a place quickly
  • Washing up: washing the dishes after the meal

"Aussie Aussie Christmas" by Amber Lawrence

Blinky Bill's Songs

If you don't live in Australia, you may wonder who Blinky Bill is. The short answer is that he is a character in a children's book that first came out in 1933. It was written by Dorothy Wall. The character is a koala, and the book was turned into an animated television series in the 1980s. The show highlights the adventures of Blinky Bill and his friends, who are all Australian animals.

Later there was a movie, and eventually, songs like the one in the video below were produced as well. The song "Blinky Bill's White Christmas" is enjoyable for the littlies, but grown-ups will enjoy it too.

"Blinky Bill's White Christmas"

My First Christmas in Australia

I left snowy Baltimore, Maryland, one December and arrived a bit travel-worn and jet-lagged in Sydney, Australia. The summer sunshine seemed blinding, and I felt disoriented, but I walked about seeing the oldest parts of the city and learning a little history.

The next day, I flew onward to Alice Springs to join my husband there. I'd shipped some boxes of Christmas decorations ahead thinking we would try to have the holiday traditions we were used to.

Naively, I'd forgotten that the strings of lights for the Christmas tree were for American current and wouldn't work on the electricity there. Then I realized that a real fir tree in the house wasn't practical in a climate with 100+ degree weather at Christmas. We did get a tiny tabletop tree and let it go at that.

By my second Christmas in Central Australia, I'd adjusted my thinking about how to celebrate in a country with its own unique style and traditions. I'd come to appreciate the variety of music they had. That was years ago, and now that I'm back in the States, I still get out my Australian Christmas albums to listen to in December each year. It brings back the special times we had living in the land down under.

Here I am, boarding the plane to Australia. Note my sweater and heavy coat, which I would not need in sunny Australia.

Here I am, boarding the plane to Australia. Note my sweater and heavy coat, which I would not need in sunny Australia.

© 2020 Virginia Allain

Comments

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on June 15, 2020:

I imagine there are some unique songs, Dora, from where you grew up too.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 15, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the unique Christmas songs of Australia. Now I can no longer take it for granted that the songs we know are universal. Makes me want to see and hear for myself. I appreciate the slang definitions.

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