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Australian Christmas Songs

Australians love a good party and Christmas is no exception. December twenty-fifth sees the beer flowing, bon-bons popping and ridiculous amounts of food being shovelled into hungry bellies! Of course, music is a huge part of the celebrations too. Traditional carols are heard in shopping centres, church services and at parties throughout the holiday. Christmas in Australia however is far from the winter wonderland celebrated in many English and American songs. December brings long, hot summers and Aussies are more likely to be cooking seafood on the barbecue rather roasting chestnuts on the fire.

To commemorate their own unique way of celebrating Christmas, Australian writers and composers have produced many catchy carols. Many of these are parodies of traditional Christmas songs like Deck the Sheds with Bits of Wattle the fun Aussie Jingle Bells. Full of clichés yet nonetheless popular, the song retains the original tune, with the singer "dashing through the bush in a rusty Holden Ute" instead of through the Christmas snowfields of the American original.

The Aussie Twelve Days of Christmas is another parody of a Christmas classic. Rather than the traditional five golden rings, the singer receives a herd of Australian animals for Christmas. The parody lyrics feature animals of all shapes and sizes, from wombats washing, snakes on skis, lizards leaping and a kookaburra in a gum tree. Over the years the parody has been changed and rewritten so many times that countless versions now appear each December.

Many other Australian carols follow in the footsteps of Aussie Jingle Bells with songs like C'Mon It's an Aussie Christmas and Aussie Bush Christmas choc full of swagmen, beer-filled eskies and kangaroos. Whilst songs such as these can be popular among school children, they are more often resigned to long-forgotten compilation albums. They are generally regarded as cheesy and cliché amongst a population whose Christmas festivities- despite the hot weather- are generally devoid of both swaggies and kangaroos.

Australian group The Wiggles have been entertaining kids since 1991 and now count four Christmas albums among their extensive discography. These records feature covers of traditional holiday classics, but also original tunes in the Wiggle's fun signature style. As the band's popularity grew both at home and overseas, their Christmas songs became hits among children and their parents alike. Now each December kids all around Australia dance to Yule Be Wiggling and have a Wiggly Wiggly Christmas!

But not all Australian Christmas songs are light-hearted and fun. On Christmas Day in 1974, the northern Australian town of Darwin was razed to the ground by the massive Cyclone Tracey. The emotive ballad Santa Never Made it into Darwin by Bill and Boyd tells the story of the tragedy. The song became popular amongst a mourning nation who, in the words of Bill and Boyd were: "shocked and saddened… That suffering and heartbreakCould happen in this wayA natural disasterCould come on Christmas Day"

Among the many original Christmas songs written in Australia, there are also a number of well-known covers that have become popular during the holiday season. Popular folk band The Seekers are known for their versions of a range of Christmas songs. Throughout their fifty-year history, they have covered carols from Away in A Manger to Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and even the American ballad There are No Lights on Our Christmas Tree. In 2001 The Seekers complied their holiday hits into the popular album Morningtown Ride to Christmas. Australian pop vocal quartet Human Nature became known for their cover Wham's Last Christmas, while even the Bee Gees recorded their own cover of Silent Night.

There is no doubt that come December, Australians will be celebrating Christmas with as much gusto as their northern hemisphere cousins. They'll just be doing it in their