FAQs: Christmas in Australia

'Tis the season to visit with friends and family, eat delicious food, spend time outdoors, enjoy time off of work, and – of course – shop! With Christmas just around the corner, Aussies are gearing up for the holiday by planning parties and organising Christmas lists. As you get ready for your own holiday celebrations, consider these FAQs about Christmas time Down Under.

How do Australians shop for Christmas?

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, many Australians still appreciate going to the store to browse for gifts for their loved ones. The average NSW family will spend about $936 on Christmas gifts, decor and other festive paraphernalia this week alone, according to ANRA CEO Anna McPhee.

Ms McPhee also noted that shopping for gifts online is growing in popularity.

"The majority of Australians prefer to shop in bricks and mortar stores," she told the Sydney Morning Herald. "But online represents an important part of the retail mix."

International research echoes the claim that shopping online is an increasingly common pastime. The Adobe Digital Index 2014 Holiday Shopping Prediction report found that Australia was the 5th most mobile country in terms of shopping, following the UK, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Just over 5 per cent of holiday shopping this year is predicted to be done by phone, and more than 15 per cent will be done by tablet.

How do Australians celebrate Christmas?

The Australian government confirms what we already know about the festive season: Aussies sing Christmas carols, revel in the end of the school year, and often head to the beach to ring in the holiday. In fact, up to 40,000 people visit Bondi Beach on Christmas Day on a typical year.

Most families with children also look forward to the visit of Santa Claus. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that about 7.4 million Australian households anticipate St. Nick's arrival.

How can I make my Christmas more sustainable?

Unfortunately, with all this fun and revelry, there is a great deal of waste associated with Christmas, but this is a season of peace and joy! Eco-friendliness fits in perfectly with the ideals of the season.

First, take a reusable bag along while you're Christmas shopping. Disposable plastic bags are known to contaminate rivers, streams and natural land, and bring about ill health effects to native wildlife.

Secondly, reduce the amount of food you waste over the course of the season. With about one-third of the country's food going to waste on an ongoing basis, according to Oxfam Australia. Buying only as much food as you need is good for the planet and helps raise awareness about humanitarian issues.

Our final tip? Buy second-hand, recycled goods as gifts! Whenever possible, source your presents from companies that practice ethical manufacturing principles.