Christmas Traditions – An Aussie Year Sneak Peek (December)

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The winner was Julie:

I’ve always made my Grandmother’s delicious mince pies; they melt in your mouth. This year’s will be even more special as she’s just passed away.

This post is part of my 10 Week Christmas Planning Series. Click here to read more posts – Christmas Planning 2013.

An Aussie Year is a gorgeous picture book written by Tania McCartney and illustrated by Tina Snerling. Today they share some of their personal traditions and give us a sneak peek of some of the traditions they share in the book.


An Aussie Year is a snapshot of who we are as a nation, covering our melting-pot culture, lifestyle and traditions. Its pages feature trailing, meandering text, dates and gorgeous illustrations showing our five Aussie children at play, at school, at home, enjoying their homeland––from the tropical north to our rugged west.

Ned, Lily, Zoe, Kirra and Matilda–– are Aussie kids keen to take you on a journey through a year in the life of Australian children, from cultural celebrations to traditions and events, to our everyday way of life.

When I look back at my childhood, there is little steeped in more tradition—and magic—than Christmas. It was truly a time of juvenile abandon … toys, sweets, tinsel, hot days and balmy nights, and of course, that delicious anticipation kids love so much.

Now that I’m a mum, my kids enjoy new family traditions at Christmastime. Mum and dad always have coffee under the tree on Christmas morning, and the kids have hot chocolate (yes, even when it’s a warm morning). A child is nominated to be the ‘elf’ and we sit patiently as each person unwraps their treasure.

Tina Snerling , who illustrated An Aussie Year, also has family traditions. One particular tradition her family always upholds is crab cracking. King crab claws are a favourite, and the family loves to see how many claws they can crack and eat!

In An Aussie Year, Christmas is (of course!) a feature for the month of December, but what other events and traditions do many Aussie kids celebrate in December? Here is a sneak peek:

An Aussie Year

Of course, December heralds those hots days and balmy nights; it’s summer! Aussie families love a little creativity. Some of us have traditional, German-style evergreen Christmas trees, but a lot of us have introduced new traditions, with trees made of small eucalypt trees, driftwood, or even string! If we live near the beach, we might even decorate our tree with shells.

An Aussie Year

We sing Christmas carols at school, and on December 10, we celebrate Human Rights Day—a very important day for people all over the world, not just Australia. On Christmas Eve, some of us open gifts early, but many of us have to wait until Christmas morning. When Santa visits Australia, he goes surfing! Some of us call Santa ‘Father Christmas’.

An Aussie Year
Christmas Day is a time of celebration. We stuff ourselves with Christmas lunch. We might eat turkey, chicken, ham and pudding, or crisp salads and cold platters of seafood. We might even gobble a good souvlaki!

On Boxing Day, we eat all the Christmas Day leftovers. We go swimming in the creek or at the beach. We play cricket on the lawn or we have a snooze in the lazy afternoon sun.

On New Year’s Eve, we wave sparklers in the dark night sky, and hope for a bright and shiny new year.

An Aussie Year

WIN! A copy of An Aussie Year

To celebrate the release of An Aussie Year, you could win your own copy of the book, valued at $19.99! To win all you need to do is:

  • Leave a comment on this post, 25 words or less, stating which December tradition you celebrate with your children and why.
  • The winner will be notified via email. You must have a valid email address to enter. If no response is received with 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.
  • This give away is available to Australian residents only.
  • The give away will close 9pm AEDST Monday 14 Nov 2013.
  • Good luck!

An Aussie Year Virtual Tour Schedule

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Join Ned, Zoe, Lily, Kirra and Matilda on this journey around the webosphere, from 21 October to 21 November. There will be reviews, sneak peeks, guest posts and lots of fabulous giveaways including some publishing opps! See the entire tour schedule right here.

Visit the An Aussie Year website  to meet all the characters from the book, see updates and behind-the-scenes work. There’s also some Fun Activities for kids, including gorgeous paper dolls you can print, cut out and make.

An Aussie Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Australian Kids by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling
(Oct 2013, EK Publishing, $19.99, hard cover, 9781921966248)



  1. Jo says

    Putting the Christmas tree up the first weekend of December and a traditional hot meal for Christmas Lunch with family :)

  2. Maureen Timms says

    The tree goes up on the first weekend in December. Dad usually does it in 20 minutes flat, ornaments, tinsel, lights, the lot. Kids dance around wanting to help but he moves so quickly they don’t get a chance. Then, just about every night before it is taken down, we have the ceremonial turning on of the Xmas tree lights. Everyone just stops what they are doing (making dinner, working from home, fighting in mortal combat), and we all say “Ahhhh, it’s beautiful” and it is.

  3. Louise says

    We recognize Human Rights Day with discussion about people, particularly children, in other counties. Like to do this before the excess of the festive season.

  4. Jane says

    We get all our Christmas books out, stack them up and rediscover our favorites. It’s a big stack that gets added to each year.

  5. Sandra says

    We started our own tradition of finding feathers (originally for a giant Santa decoration, so he wasn’t scary and to help the reindeer fly)

  6. Julie says

    I’ve always made my Grandmother’s delicious mince pies; they melt in your mouth. This year’s will be even more special as she’s just passed away.

  7. Felicia says

    A trip into Melbourne to see the Myer windows and city decorations, icecreams and choosing presents for the Grandparents- it’s rather magical.

  8. Nina D says

    My children are 4 and 2 so we are slowly starting new traditions. This year I can’t wait to start an advent calendar to countdown!

  9. Fiona Bryany says

    We have a lot if tradiotins but my 2 favourite are decorating our front gate on 1 December (we live on a farm) & making special reindeer food.

  10. Elissa says

    “Turning on the Christmas tree lights”
    Family BBQ, play Christmas themed games, sing carols, officially light the tree & give out advent calendars. The countdown begins!!

  11. Judy says

    We decorate the tree as a family at the beginning of December, watch Carols by candlelight and put up all out Christmas lights inside and out. Then the fun begins!

  12. Ellen says

    Our favourite traditions to kick of the Christmas period are both Advent, such a lovely focussed way to anticipate the big day and also, on the 6th of December, we celebrate the feast of St Nicholas. If you leave your boots out, St Nick will leave you some chocolate gold coins, a special ornament for the Christmas Tree and some books relating to Christmas. The kids LOVE these, and we love creating memories!

  13. Jane says

    I’ve got a 3 year old and so we are only just starting traditions. One that we started last year was an advent calendar quilt with little pockets that I made. He loves it! Putting up the Christmas tree together in the first week of December is also a must.

  14. Sara says

    We have tea in our pjs, eat Christmas morning muffins while my daughter gives out the pressies as well as often unwrapping them all too!

  15. says

    Each year I make a list of advent activities and my boys help me make a calendar for the lead up to Christmas. First up is always put up the Christmas tree on the 1st December.