Let’s get one thing straight here: you will never forget your first Christmas in Australia. Sure, we could go on about the weather over here or how it’s the BBQ that’s fired-up – instead of your dad’s arse after a few brussel sprouts – but that would be stating the obvious. The biggest difference is the spontaneity of it all. When have you ever had the opportunity to create your own Christmas Day? When it comes to Xmas in Oz, you make the rules. But if you fancy being entertained Down Under, there’s plenty of festivals taking place wherever you are in Australia:


“Please sir, can I have some more?” The Orphans Christmas Party is on at the Slip Inn (111 Sussex St) on Saturday 23 December. For $10 you can score a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings. There’s resident DJs and $10 jugs of Tooheys New. It’s on from 12-6pm. Cracker – Night Before Christmas gets the dancefloor pumping with Peewee Ferris, Yoshi, John Ferris and Archie at Gaelic Club (64 Devonshire St) on Christmas Eve. Presale tix $15+bf or $20 on the door. Spend Christmas with Sydney’s Irish community at the Hyde Park Barracks courtyard for this historic television broadcast live to Ireland on Christmas Day. There will be a Christmas Mass, an account of the Irish in Sydney, a greeting from President Mary McAleese and an opportunity for Sydney Irish to greet families back in the Emerald Isle. Gates open at the top of the morning, 8.30am for a start of 10am.  Route 69 set sail on the Sydney Harbour for their annual Christmas Eve’s Cruise 69. It’s a four-hour cruise with unlimited drinks all night, food and live DJ’s, plus a VIP ticket to HOHO official after party. Tix are $79, order now on Ph: (02) 9212 2069.  Gatecrasher Global Sounds System hits the Bondi Pavilion on Christmas Day for all us orphans. Catch Norman Jay, John 00 Fleming, GTR Gareth Emery and Dave Lee, all straight from the UK, plus plenty more. Tix start from $65+bf. Sounds on Sunday and Ministry Of Sound team up for Boxing Day with GT (Tonite Only) Dirty South, Goodwill, and more. As usual it’s at the Greenwood Hotel spread over three arenas. Tix are $27.50 or $30 on the door.


Head down to St Pauls Court, Federation Square, for the Giant Advent calendar and choirs running until Christmas Eve. At 9pm there’s the 20-minute aerial performance and multimedia show. If you’re looking for a sweet Christmas this year, head to the Christmas Kandy and get caned with Dave Joy (Switzerland) at Billboard Nightclub (170 Russell St) on Christmas night, where all’s not quiet in this house. Crash the gates on Boxing day at Metro Nightclub when Gatecrasher Global Sounds System brings the best of the Brits – Norman Jay has the good times while John 00 Fleming, GTR Gareth Emery and Dave Lee mix it up in the mainroom, with plenty more adding to the mix.


Saturday 23rd December… okay, we’re starting early. Freefall vs Fingerlickin’ hits the Shamrock Hotel for your Christmas Breaks. Locals Teschnik and Bitrok test their skills against Slyde, rocking into the wee hours of Christmas Eve. Bunk Backpackers are running a deal: book five nights between 20th December to 5th Jan and receive a free Christmas Lunch and exclusive New Years Eve tickets to Birdie Num Num’s theme party “Rumble in the Jungle”.


Teknoscape Christmas Party is an extra special party at Eurobar (110 Aberdeen St, Northbridge on New Years Eve. Breakfest is a Boxing Day delight. Catch Freestylers (UK), Freq Nasty (NZ), The Loose Cannons (UK), Z-Trip (US), Slyde (UK) and more at Belvoir Amphitheatre (1155 Great Northern Hwy.) Tix $70+bf. For the rock ‘n’ rollers though, catch Aussie excellence with Grinspoon, The Butterfly Effect, Frenzal Rhomb, Gyroscope, Downsyde and plenty more at Hall Park, Western Foreshore, Mandurah. Tix $55.


The Christmas Eve Glitter Party is on at Crown & Sceptre Hotel (308 King William St) and the beauty is, it’s free. White Christmas serves up a spicey dose of musical eggnog with Mobin Master, Karina Chavez, Mr Damir and many more at HQ (1 North Tce) on Christmas Day, $10-15.

Christmas Day Survival Kit

Phoning home

You’ve probably figured out by now that the cheapest way to call home is by using an international phone card. The best time to call home is in the morning, when it’s still Christmas Eve in the UK. This way you can boast about the weather and not sound like a drunken tramp – until they ring back 12 hours later at least. You’ll also find most phone cards won’t work the later you call, due to everyone else jamming the network.


Bottle shops do not open on Christmas Day at all, so unless you want to spend the day sucking the dregs from ashtrays, do your shopping beforehand. Go with some mates to grab a few slabs and some delectable cask wine. Cheeky. When it comes to purchasing ice to cool your booze, get as much as you can carry from the supermarket beforehand. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Last year, TNT thought we could just pop down on the day. But spending a few choice hours at various petrol stations while everyone else was getting on it reminded us of the benefits of planning.


The second most important thing for an Aussie Christmas after the booze. Make sure you get all the snags (sausages) and prawns a couple of days before, or you’ll be queueing up for hours behind everyone else. The same goes for using the free BBQs at most Australian beaches – you have to literally be there just after Santa empties his sack (eww). And when it’s actually time to start cooking, like back home, it’s mandatory that the guys take charge of the cooking. Don’t ask me why… it’s a guy thing.

Aussie laws

Remember to observe the local laws when you’re partying, particularly when taking booze down to the beach. For instance, Bondi Council will be enforcing alcohol-free zones on Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches over the festive period. Spending Christmas in the slammer wouldn’t be much fun. So if you want to drink, do so in a licensed venue. It’s also a good idea to be careful in the sea. The busiest people in Australia on Christmas Day are the surf lifesavers who patrol the beaches. They spend the whole day pulling out inexperienced – and pissed – swimmers who get caught in the waves or rips. We’re not gonna do the whole “mum thing”, but try to at least be careful after the 50th beer.