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How to Celebrate a White Christmas in Canberra

Home > Canberra > Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Food and Wine | Family | Christmas
by Belladonna (subscribe)
Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published May 7th 2019
Thirteen ways to enjoy a winter wonderland kind of Christmas

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow..."

And so goes the popular, timeless Christmas classic, which we Canberrans sing along to while we swelter and soak in sweat in the scorching summer heat. We live in a sunburnt country, a land of drought and flooding plains. But come December and Christmas time, we merrily decorate our homes with snowmen and reindeer and Santa Claus in his heavy red suit and fake snow and fake fireplaces and everything that's the complete opposite of our down under summer.

celebrate a white christmas in canberra

Why do we Canberrans (and Australians in general) persist with this seasonal madness? Well, because the celebration we know today as Christmas actually has plenty of its traditions rooted in pre-Christian European winter festivals, such as the Yule festival celebrated by pre-Christian Norse and Germanic peoples. And the date for Christmas is fixed to December 25 which means winter in the Northern Hemisphere. So for a very, very long time now, winter themes and images such as snowmen and sleigh bells ringing have dominated the Christmas season and our very own thoughts and memories of this most wonderful time of the year.

But while celebrating a white kind of Christmas doesn't make a lot of sense during our hot December days and nights, we can, however, celebrate a white Christmas- but during our winter, that is, during the months of June, July and August. And with Canberra possibly being the coldest city in Australia ever during our seemingly eternal winter, then there really is no better place to experience a white kind of Christmas!

Now, if you're the kind of person who's not exactly thrilled at the prospect of celebrating Christmas in June let alone December, then stop reading this article right now and do something else with your life. But if you love Christmas as much as I do and would love to celebrate its winter magic, then read on. Here are thirteen ways how you can keep the spirit of a white Christmas alive during Canberra's winter.

1. O Christmas tree!
Christmas isn't Christmas without a Christmas tree. So pull it out from the attic, cupboard, garage or wherever it's been hibernating since you'd taken it down last, return it to your favourite spot in the house, and decorate it. All those winter-themed baubles you usually hang on the tree in December will make so much better sense during our winter months.

2. Deck the halls with boughs of holly... Don't stop at the tree. Decorate other parts of your house for a white Christmas too. So pull out all your Santa Clauses in their heavy fur coats, the snowmen and snow women, the sleighs, the reindeer, the snow globes, the Christmas villages, even the plastic boughs of holly-they all feel right during winter, not summer. You could even decorate your house with real holly, as they grow everywhere in Canberra during winter. But be careful, especially if you have children and/or pets. Holly is a toxic plant.

3. Here we come a caroling... Play Christmas songs such as 'Winter Wonderland', 'Jingle Bells', 'Frosty the Snowman,' 'Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer', 'Good King Wenceslas' and 'Sleigh Ride'. They're winter-themed songs, after all. I start playing them from Winter Solstice (around June 21) right up to August. It drives my husband crazy! But hey, I have to put up with watching the footy on the telly during winter, so I guess playing Christmas songs non-stop makes up for that!

4. Away in a manger. If you are religious, then why not put up a Nativity scene as part of your white Christmas decorations? Nobody really knows when Jesus' birthday actually was. Even the Pope doesn't know. December 25 was a date set by the church long, long ago. So there's no reason why you shouldn't put up your Nativity scene. After all, Jesus may have been born in June or July too!

5. Dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh..
It's brutally cold in Canberra during winter, and yes, sometimes it snows here. But there's one place in the ACT where it snows all winter long. The winter wonderland that is Corin Forest is the best place near Canberra where you and your family can experience the closest thing to a sleigh ride. You can dash through the snow on a toboggan ride in the snowplay area, have a snowball fight, or make Frosty the Snowman! Afterwards, head on over to the comfy lodge for delicious wood-fired pizzas, hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows over the open fire.

Prices and times are set for snowplay sessions at Corin Forest. Go here to find out more.

6. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Thanks to Nat King Cole's unforgettable take on The Christmas Song, Christmas means roasting chestnuts! So why not buy a bag of fresh chestnuts and roast them on your open fire (if you have one). If you don't have one, then keep a lookout for the red 'Tweenhills Chestnuts' van at Fyshwick Markets on weekends in May and June. They will be selling roasted chestnuts from 9am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

7. Enjoy a Christmas movie night. Pop some popcorn, make some steaming mugs of hot chocolate, rug up in your pjs, and snuggle up on the sofa for a night of Christmas movies. And yes, that includes Die Hard!

8. Enjoy a white Christmas feast. You can enjoy a 'Christmas in July' lunch or dinner hosted by a Canberra dining venue (check back with us later for more details), or better yet, host one yourself. Invite the family, neighbours, or friends over to your house for a winter's feast with all the Christmas trimmings. This is the time when the hot Christmas roasts make absolutely perfect sense. So roast the pork (which is a traditional Christmas dish), or lamb or chicken, roast the veggies, bake some ham, or whip up your other favourite warming winter dishes. And even though traditional festive favourites such as Christmas pudding and mince pies may be hard to get ready-made at the shops during June or July, you can still make them yourself if you have the time. And you can still make pavlova and gingerbread cookies and a chocolate Christmas log as well. Go here for some scrumptious Christmas in July recipes.

celebrate a white christmas in canberra

9. Do your Christmas shopping without all the crowds and Christmas shopping frenzy. Get a head start and browse the stalls for unique gifts and Christmas-inspired food at the Queanbeyan Christmas in July markets, held this year on July 7 at the Queanbeyan showground. Or head down to Bredbo and visit the amazing Bredbo Christmas Barn for all of your Christmas decorating needs. The Bredbo Christmas Barn re-opens on June 1.

celebrate a white christmas in canberra

10. Celebrate a white Christmas with Mr Christmas: Michael Buble. Well, maybe not the real Michael Buble, but for many of us, this will be the closest we'll ever get in our lifetimes to Mr Christmas himself! Christmas is definitely not Christmas without Michael Buble belting out his best-selling Christmas album, and you'll get your chance to hear many of his Christmas hits at the 'Michael Buble Experience Christmas in July' show, hosted by the Harmonie German Club on July 20. Book your tickets here.

celebrate a white christmas in canberra

11. Celebrate Christmas in July in Canberra. There'll be lots of festive fun happening in July in Canberra and the surrounding region, such as Christmas in July lunches and dinners, the Queanbeyan Christmas in July markets and the Michael Buble Christmas in July show at the Harmonie German Club. Join your fellow Canberrans in celebrating a white Christmas! Make sure to check back with us for more details and updates.

12. Wear your ugly Christmas jumpers. Winter is the best time to wear them, after all! If you don't have one, then what are you waiting for? Get one. Order it online or knit one yourself. Christmas isn't really Christmas without a daggy Christmas jumper!


13. Get into the spirit of Christmas by giving to the poor and those in need. One of the best things about a white Christmas in June, July or August is that there's absolutely no expectation of giving gifts to your children, family or friends. So there's no need to inundate your children with gifts or play Secret Santa or Kris Kringle with your family or workplaces. Which leaves you to focus on the true spirit of Christmas giving. That is, giving to the poor and those in need and less fortunate than we are.

Most of us are very, very lucky that we have warm houses to live in and everything we need to keep warm during winter, but not everybody in Canberra is so lucky. Please spare a thought for those doing it tough this winter and give whatever you can to organisations such asRainbow Paws program, Canberra period project, Roundabout Canberra, St John's Care and Karinya House. You can also support the Vinnies Winter Appeal ACT, or start putting together Christmas hampers for Vinnies and Anglicare. You can even start getting some toys at all those midyear toy sales for the Smith Family Christmas toys and books appeal. Or if you're part of a church community, start collecting items for your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Winter is coming, Canberra. So let's celebrate the most wonderful time of the year all over again, but this time, we'll have real snow and we can actually wear our daggy Christmas jumpers and we can roast chestnuts on our open fires with Jack Frost nipping at our noses and the folks around us dressed up like Eskimos.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

"I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year."
Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles' Dickens 'A Christmas Carol'

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Why? Because we all dream of a white Christmas!
When: June, July and August
Where: In your own home as well as various places across Canberra
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