This post is a part of the Christmas Around The World series, in which bloggers from across the globe have been telling us all about Christmas in their home country. Today we have Tim from Urban Duniya, sharing an insight into the holiday season in Australia.

Why don’t you start by introducing yourself?

I'm Tim, a Sydneysider living in Melbourne! I'm not Christian, but growing up in Australia I've celebrated Christmas almost every year of my life. I love the food and the atmosphere!

What does a typical Christmas day look like in Australia?

Christmas in Australia happens in summer, so it's really quite different from the Christmas experienced in the Northern Hemisphere. In our cooler, southern cities the temperature could be anywhere between 18 and 40 degrees celsius, while the northern cities would always experience between 28 and 38, but with a whole heap of humidity. However, unlike many other southern hemisphere countries, Australia's Christmas culture is predominantly Anglo-Saxon, so we have a strange mix of cultures, with traditions like roast turkey served up in the middle of summer! Growing up in Australia, this doesn't seem strange at all, but it's easy to see how outsiders do a double take!

Many people go to the beach after the main lunch, and the beaches are already filled with travellers who have nowhere else to go. City centres are lonely places - shops and business are all closed. Schools are on holiday from a week before Christmas to the end of January. Unlike the cute, warm, almost provincial atmosphere of a European Christmas, Australia's Christmas forms part of an ongoing party season which extends into January, taking in New Year, many city festivals, and lots of beach weather!

Australia isn't a particularly religious country, but many people still celebrate Christmas as a cultural festival with little reference to religion. Those without a Christian background may also celebrate, but usually at the invitation of friends who do have a Christian background. Australia is quite multicultural, and many non-Christian Australians take the opportunity to go for a picnic.

What food is on the dinner table on Christmas day?

It's often Christmas lunch, instead of dinner, but there's a curious selection of British staples, seasonal favourites and quirky compromises. Traditionally Christmas lunch is a roast turkey, chicken or ham, with dressings such as gravy, mint or cranberry sauce, baked potatoes, pumpkin, corn, carrot, peas and beans.

The heat of the day often makes a cold meal a more attractive option, and the fresh summer produce is really worth enjoying. Cold cuts of meat (roast turkey, again with all the trimmings) are popular, along with potato salad, coleslaw or other salads (replacing the baked vegetable component). Seafood is usually of excellent quality, and it wouldn't be unusual to eat cooked prawns (shrimp) served cold and shelled by hand, barbecued fish or oysters.

Some of my best Christmas memories are devouring the fresh summer fruit after lunch. Mangoes, cherries, grapes, peaches, nectarine, plums, pineapples - I love it all! And of course, the warm weather means that Australians (famously fond of a tipple) consume a lot of cold beer, wine and spirits around this time.

What are the essential activities in the run up to Christmas?

There's always a tree, a mad rush for Christmas gifts at the shops, and children have special events at school. Shops and cities put up decorations, families adorn their homes with flashing lights, and there's always a Santa Claus in the shopping centres - most children love them. There is also a lot of travel - many Australians travel to be with family for Christmas, whether it be to another part of their city or to another city altogether. Needless to say, airlines make a lot of money, flight prices go up, hotels get booked out, and especially on Christmas morning, local roads are often busy with traffic.

What are the most popular Christmas songs?

The standard English language Christmas carols are here in Australia, although the tradition of 'carolling' (going from door-to-door to sing) is not prevalent. I always have to laugh when I hear the Christmas carol White Christmas, when it's perfect beach weather outside!

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Unlike in many Catholic-majority countries, a lot of Australians have a quiet night with the family on Christmas Eve, and the celebrations begin first thing in the morning of the 25th December. One of my favourite memories is waking up early to get the gifts - it was like the whole year led up to that moment! And memories of my parents telling us the earliest we were allowed to get out of bed was 6am - even if we had woken up long before then!

Thanks Tim! Are there any other Australian readers out there? What does your Christmas look like?