Many traditional Christmas carols sing of snowy fields and chestnuts roasting over open fires...which is hardly reflective of an Australian Christmas!
So I've put together a quick collection of songs and books that are a little more reflective of the reality of a down under Christmas!
Please note, we don't actually stock these books or CDs, I simply want to share some of my personal favourites because I've seen how much joy they bring to the children in my preschool and I'd love to spread that happy spirit with more Aussie children!
Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas Album, The Wiggles
This album is full of the absolute children's Christmas classics, such as Rudolph and Jingle Bells, but with Australian accents singing! Can't go past The Wiggles as an example of the Aussie larrakin spirit so they're the perfect band to 'Wish you a Merry Christmas' or with whom to sing 'Feliz Navidad'!
Happy Christmas To You, Peter Combe
A lovely and original Christmas carol that is perfectly appropriate for the Australian setting. When we sing this song it is accompanied by the sign language gestures for 'happy Christmas to you' - a beautiful combination of communication and coordination!
Christmas Where the Gum Trees Grow, Greg Doolan
The catchy chorus plays in my head every day as I drive down streets decorated with the purple hue of Jacaranda..."Christmas where the gum trees grow, there is no frost and there is no snow, Christmas in Australia's hot, cold and frosty is what it's not, When the bloom of the Jacaranda tree is here, Christmas time is near!"
Aussie Christmas with Bucko & Champs album
This is full of cheeky and hilarious "Aussie" songs, from 'We Wish you a Ripper Christmas' to '12 Days of Aussie Christmas' (in which "five golden rings" are replaced with "TO-TAL FIRE BAN!") There are also some slower and sweeter songs, such as 'Everywhere it's Christmas', that really celebrate the family element of an Australian Christmas.
This segues us nicely to the topic of Books:
Several of the 'Bucko & Champs' songs are also available as books, including...
We Wish you a Ripper Christmas! Colin Buchanan
Deck the Shed with Bits of Wattle, Colin Buchanan
I also love...
Aussie Night Before Christmas, Yvonne Morrison
A beautiful adaptation of the classic!
The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas, Heath Mackenzie
This is the version I prefer to use with preschool children (rather than the Bucko & Champs adaptation) partly because it's easier to follow and more age-appropriate but also because it focuses on Australian animals! It's always fun to get back to our starting point of a "kookaburra up a gum tree" but the children are always most passionate about singing..."FIVE KAN-GA-ROOoooOOOOS!"
There are so many other beautiful options out there but these are the ones I wholeheartedly recommend! I do believe it's important for Australian children to build an understanding of, and appreciation for, their own unique cultural context and it's great when we can take global traditions but give them a local twist. It's equally important to be aware of and respectful towards other cultures, so there's no need to hide the traditional carols or stories - instead it's a great jumping off point to talk about diversity and to consider geographical concepts such as explaining why it is winter in one hemisphere while it's summer in the other!