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Christmas Eve in Australia

Many Australians celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24 each year. It is a busy time of the year for many people who celebrate the Christmas season, as many spend Christmas Eve preparing for Christmas Day.

Is Christmas Eve a Public Holiday?

Christmas Eve is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Christmas cookies are in abundance during the Christmas period.

©iStockphoto.com/Adrian Assalve

Celebrate Christmas Eve

Many people spend Christmas Eve preparing for Christmas Day celebrations in Australia. Many offices have pre-Christmas lunches or parties on Christmas Eve although these events may occur as early as the second week of December. Some workers may have a half or full day off. Those who have time off may take part in summer (southern hemisphere) activities or sports such as swimming, surfing, tennis, windsurfing, football, cricket, barbecues and beach volleyball.

For some people, it is a time to travel to the northern hemisphere to experience a Christmas with snow. Those who travel within Australia may visit relatives or friends in their home towns or cities, while others choose to visit places such as north-east Queensland, the hinterlands along the eastern states, coastal parts of Western Australia, or escape to cooler places such as Tasmania. The weather is hot in outback Australia and other regions during this time of the year so visits to shopping centers are a popular way to escape the heat.

Some people spend the day doing last-minute preparations, particularly if they are expecting guests in the evening or on Christmas Day. Some shopping centres are open until midnight for last-minute shopping for decorations, food, presents and other Christmas items. Some churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, may have midnight masses that occur at midnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Public Life

Christmas Eve is generally not a public holiday but some workers may be given a half-day holiday. Schools and other educational institutions are closed on this day as Christmas falls within the school holiday period in Australia. Although it is a working day for many businesses, some offices may shut early on Christmas Eve. Those intending on travelling via public transport will need to check their schedules with the local transport authorities.

About Christmas Eve

Christians in Australia and worldwide celebrate Christmas as the day Jesus was born. They believe that Jesus is the son of God. A Roman almanac confirms that 25 December was used to celebrate Christmas in 336 CE, although it was nearly 600 years later that the churches created a liturgy - a service for public worship - for the occasion. Different denominations have various traditions and church services on Christmas Day.

The first official Australian Christmas Eve was most likely celebrated on December 24 in 1788, as Christmas Day was first celebrated at Sydney Cove, Australia, on December 25 that year. Governor Arthur Phillips presided over a traditional Christmas meal with his officers ending with a loyal toast to King George III on Christmas Day.

Did You Know?

The custom of placing a holly over the doorway was believed to drive away evil.

About Christmas Eve in other countries

Read more about Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015ThuDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2016SatDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2017SunDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2018MonDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2019TueDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2020ThuDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2021FriDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2022SatDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2023SunDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2024TueDec 24Christmas EveObservance
2025WedDec 24Christmas EveObservance

We diligently research and continuously update our holiday dates and information. If you find a mistake, please let us know.

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