Our festive favourites

Christmas is just around the corner, and the UQ team has been taking full advantage of the festive season – lots of mince pies, advent chocolates and funny jumpers around the office.

With UQ team members from all over, we’ve been reminiscing about traditions from back home. Those from the Southern Hemisphere have been particularly glum about the weather; can’t blame them. What other holiday staples are on people’s minds…?

Giuliana from Brazil
‘In Brazil, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th and on the 25th of December. So, Christmas for us starts on the 24th in the evening, when one’s family gathers at about 21:00 for a big dinner and the gifts are exchanged at midnight with a glass of Champagne. Then, people gather again the next day for lunch at someone’s house or in a restaurant. We usually have some fireworks around midnight on the 24th too.’

Jayesha from Sri Lanka
‘In Sri Lanka, many who celebrate Christmas will go to midnight mass and on Christmas day they offer a Christmas food plate to the neighbourhood community. As kids, I remember we were waiting for that food plate. Christmas cake and Milk Rice are traditional in Sri Lanka and it will be on that food plate.’

Karen from Zimbabwe
‘If I was in Zimbabwe, my whole family would gather at my auntie’s house for a massive BBQ party. It’s a must to have Boerewors sausages on the BBQ menu and Biltong snacks. Sadza, salad, BBQ meat and sunshine would be the typical Zimbabwean Christmas day for me.’

Stefania from Australia
‘We BBQ with lots of seafood and swim in the pool at my Uncle’s place. No turkey; just lasagna, seafood galore, Italian potato dumplings called Zippoli which are traditional as well as Italian Xmas biscuits. Making me drool just thinking about it!’

Dan from England
‘I think this is a bit of a tradition all over the country but we do it in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham too. In Sutton Park, there is a lake and there is a Christmas tradition that people gather at the lake at 10 in the morning for a Christmas swim. They have been known to have to take polls down to break up the ice before they jump in!’

Safiyyah from Mauritius/England
‘At home we spend Christmas Day watching all the TV specials and meet family on Boxing Day. Even though our family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, my Mum always takes advantage of everyone being off work to get people together.

In Mauritius, my Nani (maternal grandmother) has a flower and decoration shop so Christmas Eve is always really busy. The whole family sets up a table outside the shop on the town’s main shopping road and sell last minute gifts and decorations till very late into the night.’

Bei from China
’21 December was Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival in China. People have to eat dumplings otherwise you will suffer from chilblains on your ears; this is what my mother use to tell me anyway.’

Sophia from New Zealand
‘For Christmas brekkie, we’d have pancakes on the deck with strawberries and blueberries, and lots of cups of tea. For lunch or dinner we usually do a whole fish in the oven, or some hot smoked salmon and mussels (my family doesn’t eat meat, so it’s all seafood!). Lots of bubbles and cold beer, usually a pavlova and maybe a trip to the beach or to visit my 95 year old great aunt. Making me homesick!’

Wade from England
‘Plenty of fake smiles and bundles of disappointment…in all seriousness for some weird reason we watch the EastEnders Christmas special even when no one watches it all year round.’

Mary from America
‘I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is the home of Heinz. A tradition among my Pittsburgh side of the family is to hide a Heinz pickle ornament in the tree on Christmas Eve. Of us cousins, whoever finds the pickle first gets an extra present.’

Rebecca from England
‘Christmas is pretty much the same every year! Christmas Eve we make stuffing from scratch which is pretty much an assembly line with my nan in charge and ice skating in the evening. Christmas day we eat the traditional Christmas dinner, break out the Quality Street, share a cheese cake and watch the new DVD’s my mum has bought for the year.’

Luke from England
‘Christmas tradition in our household (and I’m sure in many others in the UK) is the Christmas Pudding. I will go to my Gran’s on Christmas Eve and bake the pudding with her – always with a sixpence inside that we would fight to find on Christmas Day. If you find the sixpence it supposedly gives you good luck for the year ahead, although I care to differ! Of course, the Queen’s speech is another must as well as the EastEnders special.’

We hope you enjoy your favourite festive traditions this year.

Happy holidays!
The UQ Team

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