Christmas time in Australia: it’s festive, fun, happy, and bloody hot. Christmas day generally brings in some of the hottest temperatures of the Australian summer. This especially true in Northern New South Wales and Queensland. You’re slaving away in the kitchen, singeing your eyebrow hairs a little every time you open the oven to check the turkey. You can feel beads of sweat start to drip down your neck as you stand over the hot stove. To make matters worse, the whole family has come for Christmas this year, even crazy Aunty Sue! And the weather is so hot, your beer isn’t even staying cold long enough for you to drink it.
Tourists may find our Aussie Christmas traditions strange. They can’t believe that we spend it in the sweltering heat instead of gathered by a fire on Christmas Eve watching the snow float down outside our window. We like to think that our Aussie Christmas’s are more of the real deal. We are surrounded by more than just snowy scenery, mulled wine, and hot apple sauce. It’s not only the fiery temperatures we have to endure, it’s also the flies, the always possible chance of rain, and copious amounts of alcohol. Don’t forget that drunk guy wandering down the street in a Santa jacket and board shorts. Then there’s the lingering thought that we’ve got to do it all again tomorrow on Boxing Day.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, and as much as we embrace our hot Aussie Christmas’, sometimes we do wish it would cool down a bit (as we continuously linger inside the fridge a little too long). That’s why we have put together a few nifty tips for how to beat the Australian summer heat this Christmas. Keep your beers cool and yourself even cooler with our Aussie Christmas hacks. This way, when crazy Aunty Sue starts to get on the wines, you’ll be in a much better mood to deal with her inappropriate behaviour!
Tips for how to beat the Australian summer heat this Christmas
– These are your best friend over an Australian summer. Not only are they filled with amazing tangy flavour, they are also key for cooling yourself down in the sweltering heat. Other icy treats are great too. The trick is just to eat them as quickly as possible so they don’t melt into a huge sticky mess over your face and hands. Icy cold drinks are also a must, and even better if they’re alcoholic.
DIY air conditioner
– If you’re not lucky enough to already have air conditioning in your house then why not make one yourself? All you need is a Styrofoam container, dryer vents, a fan and some bottles of ice. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, it’s reasonably easy and will only cost you $8. See the tutorial here.
Wear light clothing
– This is a given through a standard Australian summer but we figured we’d mention it anyway. If you haven’t already, it’s time to pack away your thick clothing and bring out the lose-fitting lighter ones. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s of a lighter hue so you’ll absorb less sunlight.
Ditch the doona
– Through winter, doonas are pieces of fluffy goodness sent down to cover us with comfort and contentment. However, through the summer, they’re comfort killers that smother you in sweat and irritation. Therefore, once the calendar turns to December, it’s probably time switch to a lighter sheet, unless you want to spend all your Christmas savings on your electricity bill.
Be a fan of fans
– Pedestal fans should be your best mates throughout an Australian summer. They’re much more affordable to run than air conditioning and, if you put one close enough to your bed, you may even be able to sleep underneath your sheet, instead of on top of it. You can get them for $12 from Bunnings or Kmart and have one in every room of the house.
Cool down your car
– There’s nothing worse than stepping out of the fresh, breezy air into the fiery depths of your car. The 2 minutes it takes for you to turn the air conditioning on and wait for it to cool down are the longest 2 minutes anyone on earth has ever lived. Apparently, if you open one window of your car, before getting in it, and then open and close the opposite door a handful of times, your car will cool down significantly: you may just look a little strange in the process. So, to avoid turning too many heads, maybe just quickly turn the key and leave the air conditioning on for a minute or 2 before getting in your car.
Spray it don’t say it
– Stop complaining about how bloody hot you are and grab yourself a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with cold water and spray yourself with misty refreshment all day long. The neck, ankle and wrists are the best places to spray yourself as they all contain pressure points. This means that you can feel your pulse in these spots because the blood vessels are so close to the skin. Because they are so close to the skin, you can also cool off your blood and body by putting these areas in contact with cold water.
Bedder cool down in bed
– Being hot in bed is like being cold in bed… unpleasant and disappointing. One great way to cool your bed down before getting into it is to line the mattress with frozen gel packs or ice cubes wrapped in a towel. The trick here is to make sure you don’t leave them on too long, otherwise you’ll be getting into a wet bed instead of just a cool one. An alternative to this is to just hug the ice pack like a teddy bear as you slowly drift off to sleep.
Iced tea for me
– Chrysanthemum tea, with all its amazing properties, is known to lower body temperature. As it’s too hot to drink anything that’s not iced, cool it down to maximise your refreshment. You can buy bulk chrysanthemum tea off Tea Life for $7.50 for 40 grams, or just pop down to your local Coles or Woolworths.
Water you doing not drinking water?
– As well as delicious teas and icy cold beer, make sure you’re drinking lots of water! It’s easy to get dehydrated in hot weather, which doesn’t end well for anyone, so make sure you’re drinking 2-3 litres of water per day.
Spice up your life
– It may sound crazy but a great way to cool yourself down in summer is to eat spicy food. The theory is that spicy food increases your blood circulation, which heats you up inside, which encourages sweating, which cools down the body. Basically, you’re making yourself hot to cool down but science says it works so, if you love spicy food, give it a go!
Breathe, just breathe
– An effective cooling technique is to curl your tongue by pulling both sides upward towards the middle, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath and then slowly breathe out through your nose. Repeat it 5-10 times and you’ll feel your body temperature drop.
Slip, slop, slap
– Not only do you need sunscreen for sun protection, but it is also good for cooling you down. Seeing as you’re all incredibly responsible and applying sunscreen regularly anyway to protect yourselves from the brutal Australian sun, buy one of those cool down spray sunscreens and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. The Cancer Council Ultra Cooling Sunscreen and the Nivea Sun Protects and Refreshes Cooling Mist are both great products and can be found at your local chemist or supermarket.
Look at photos of cold things
– Tell yourself that the heat is all in your head while you look at photos of ice bergs and snow storms. This may make you feel a little sad as you long for the luxuries of cold weather, but hopefully the images of cool things will transfer from your eyes, through your brain and into your body.
– If it all just gets to be too much for you, do what any normal person would do when faced with a problem, and run away from it. Take out a Nifty personal loan and get yourself to the Northern Hemisphere. We hear Canada is quite nice this time of year.
These are some nifty tips on how to survive the Australian summer heat. Follow these and you’ll be sure to get through this Christmas without breaking into too much of a sweat. Once the Christmas period is over, you’ll be able to take these tricks all the way through to the end of the Australian summer.
How to know you’re having an Australian Christmas
– Every Australian knows the feeling of waking up on Christmas morning, energised with Christmas cheer only to collapse as you step out of bed. You’re unable to move as your limbs are tied down by thick ropes of heat and humidity. Your body temperature reaches dangerously high levels and only an ice-cold breakfast beer can save you now.
– Carols by Candlelight is a strong Australian Christmas tradition. It would be incomplete without the smooth Christmas melodies of Denis Walter. Despite the rotating roster of talent that the production boasts each year, Denis Walter holds a permanent appearance and we couldn’t be happier. It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without his booming performance. Not quite sure who we’re talking about? Here’s 12 examples for you to refresh your memory:
Interesting Christmas trees
– Australians aren’t as dedicated to the colour matching or symmetry of their Christmas trees as other nations. There’s always a weary droopiness to Australian Christmas trees that doesn’t quite resemble the works of art you see in the movies. We like to think that Australian Christmas trees have more character though, so that’s something to be proud of.
You get a beach towel for the 4th year in a row
– Beach towels are a classic Australian Christmas gift that you’ll always find under the tree. You know you’re having an Aussie Christmas when someone unwraps another over-sized and colourful beach towel.
Santa gets beer
– Instead of the traditional act of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, many Australians leave beer. This demonstrates a high level of consideration from the Aussies as Santa has been eating milk and cookies all night long and would need a little diversity. What better way wash down all that calcium than with some beer?
We dress to impress
– Forget the stuffy Christmas jumpers, Australians are all about looking the part over Christmas. This may include bright board shorts and a Santa hat but, for the most part, we look good at Christmas.
We really do put ‘shrimp’ on the barbie
– Christmas is the one day of the year that we live up to our nationwide stereotype of always putting shrimp on the barbie. If you want to get technical, they are actually called ‘prawns’ that we’re throwing on the barbie. But either way they’re a common delight throughout Australia on Christmas day.
– This is something that is played throughout the whole Australian summer but it is a common activity on Christmas day.
– Most countries, especially those on the northern hemisphere, will do their big festive meal on Christmas Eve. Being the non-conformists that we are, our tradition is to indulge in Christmas lunch. What better way to fight the Australian summer than with a hot and filling meal right in the middle of the day?
Other nations may not agree, but as far as Christmas traditions go, we’re doing it right, Australia. And now that we know how to stay cool over the Australian summer, we’ll be able to enjoy these traditions in a much more comfortable state.
To get you extra prepared for the Australian summer and Christmas this year, here are some Aussie slang terms you’re bound to hear this festive season.
Australian summer slang
This esky is chockers – This cooler is quite full.
Just gonna duck down to the bottle-o and grab a few cold ones – I’m just going to go to the bottle shop/liquor store quickly and buy some beer.
Gee, the mozzies are out this arvo – Wow, there are a lot of mosquitoes around this afternoon.
It’s raining cats and dogs – It’s raining quite heavily.
Just gonna get into my budgy smugglers and go for a dip – I’m just going to put my Speedo on and go for a swim.
I’m dead set keen for Chrissy tucker – I’m truly excited for Christmas lunch.
Chuck us another tinnie cheers mate – Pass me another beer thanks, friend.
It’s hotter than a shearer’s armpit – It’s very hot.
We hope that you are now prepared for the Australian summer months and Christmas period. Follow our tips on how to beat the Aussie heat this Christmas and you’ll stay cool all summer long (in all respects of the word).