johannesburg, south africa, travel

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere (A Guide for Christmas Haters)

December 24, 2015

I hate Christmas. I hate Christmas so much I want it to disappear so we never have to experience it ever again. Did I mention I hate Christmas?


It’s the darkest, dreariest day of the year, which might not bother some people, but for a depression sufferer, this can really get you down. Secondly, the whole idea of family, togetherness and unity makes me frustrated. How dare they decide that I must be happy on this day? No, it’s not going to happen. I’m going to sit and sulk for an entire month in protest!


This is how I feel most of the month of December and how I will almost definitely feel tomorrow on Christmas day. Last year, however, was a little different. I spent Christmas with my Uncle and his family in Johannesburg, South Africa.The experience of Christmas in the Southern hemisphere is extremely foreign to me, growing up in the North of England. The media, films and songs all portray Christmas as a winter, white wonderland with families bundled up by the fire, wearing warm jumpers and woolly hats. In fact, Christmas in the sunshine seems so strange to us up north, that some people actually believe that Australians and other southern hemisphere dwellers celebrate Christmas in July. Apart from the odd reminder of Santa Clause on the beach pictures from Aussie facebook friends, we’d forget that our southern friends are having an entirely different Christmas to ours.I was looking forward to this. I had my phone playing, ‘White Wine in the Sun’ by Tim Minchin on repeat, my summery heels and party dress on and I was ready to spend Christmas day by my Auntie’s pool, perhaps not hating everything about the world for once. But apart from the weather, is Christmas in the southern hemisphere really that different?Let’s see, tinsel is everywhere, trees are indoors and dressed up to the nines, lights and jingle bells are pretty much everywhere. There’s no escape the dreaded Christmassy feeling, even if you are on a beach and it’s 30 degrees Celsius.


So, although it’s still the same ol’ Christmas you can’t escape, it’s still way better than a northern Christmas, if only for the fact that it’s sunny outside and the radios go easy on the Christmas songs, or at least are more subtle than we are.


Is escaping to the southern hemisphere on Christmas day a solution to the Christmas blues? Maybe. If you’re a seasonal depressive, it might help. If you’re someone who hates Christmas for another reason, don’t get your hopes up. Christmas is still Christmas, even on the other side of the world.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Elsa December 24, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I also dislike xmas. This is our first December in Tel Aviv and it’s so amazing not to be bombarded by all the holiday crap.

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