The earthy smell of pine trees, the taste of turkey and the sound of Christmas carols loom but what is there to do on Christmas Day in Australia? Don't stay cooped up at home; get out there and immerse yourself in the high festive spirits. Chloe Johnson's put together a few ideas to make your Down Under Christmas unforgettable.
Soak up the sun
Unlike Christmas in Europe or Canada, the only white to see on Christmas Day will be froth on the beer and sand at the beach.
Australia's coastal lines are magnets for travellers, in particular backpackers, so on Christmas Day if you find yourself solo this is an ideal place to immerse yourself in company. A particular hot spot which attracts a wide range of people from sex symbols to beach babes, bogans and grandpas in budgies, is Bondi in Sydney. The beach is just 7km east of the city's centre and can host up to 40,000 people on the big day. Other popular Aussie beaches where you can meet some backpacker brethren include Scarborough in WA, St Kilda in Melbourne, and Airlie Beach in Queensland.
Tip: Remember that it can above 40C in December, so make sure you drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and be smart about tanning.
The Orphans' Christmas
If you're in a different city from your fam this Christmas and the thought of missing out on mum's turkey is causing your bottom lip to scrape along the ground, then arranging an Orphans' Christmas is the ideal way to beat the festive blues.
This involves getting a group of friends, who are either travelling or living away from home, together for lunch. One person is elected host and everyone brings a plate of food or meat for the BBQ. To top of the festivities, organise a Secret Santa so no-one misses out on the fun of gift giving. Pop open a bottle of bubbles, spark up the barbie and you're bound to forget about mum's (normally dry, anyway) turkey.
Tip: Arrive with a carton of stubbies under your arm and you'll make mates for life.
Have lunch with the animals
It's not common for most of us to spend the hols with crocodiles, snakes, lions and cheeky monkeys let alone have lunch with the wild animals, but it's totally possible in several capitals.
The Melbourne Zoo offers a three-course meal ranging in price from $130-160 for adults and $70-100 for children on Christmas. Other Australian zoos which are open on Christmas Day include Perth Zoo and Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
Tip: Public transport is free in Melbourne on Christmas Day so save your taxi money, and the planet, by hopping on board the Metlink services.
Hotel and backpacker parties
Whether you're slumming it at the backpackers or splashing cash in the finest hotel it's highly likely your hosts will get into the festive mood and offer a travellers' Christmas lunch or dinner.
The beauty of hotel, motel or campervan resort parties is that you're not the fish out of water here most people are looking to meet new friends who they can share the day with.
The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne is cooking guests a traditional Christmas menu for $250 per adult and $125 per child, while the Sydney Surfside backpackers is giving their guests a free Aussie BBQ.
Tip: Make sure you enquire when booking or during check-in as the hosts may need confirmation or payment.
Do a good deed and volunteer
While many of us will be playing with our new tech toys and scoffing our faces until our waistlines match Santa's on Christmas Day, many Aussies are less fortunate.
If you're away from home this year and think you'll be alone pulling your own Christmas cracker, why not immerse yourself in the festive spirit, meet new people and help others by volunteering? Hundreds of organisations around Australia need volunteers on Christmas Day. They include retirement homes, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, animal shelters and guided walking tours.
The Ronald McDonald House always needs volunteers (in particular on Christmas Day) as children with cancer don't go home to their families. If you can cook, play games with kids, provide face painting or donate a gift, you'll give the children, and yourself, a Christmas to remember.
Tip: You won't be alone on this idea so you'll need to get in quick and organise it prior to your arrival.
Free lunch in the park
If you think you're the only one who's alone this Christmas, think again. Every year for the past 35 years, Mission Australia have been organising a Christmas lunch in the park for people who are looking for companionship and a place to celebrate the festive season. The event takes place in Perth's Wellington Square Park and it's completely free. Each guest will receive a traditional Christmas lunch, a gift from Santa, entertainment and fantastic company. The event relies on more than 400 volunteers so if you'd rather give than take this Christmas, Mission Australia will no doubt want to hear from you.
Tip: There's no need to book, just turn up on the day.
Find a friend on forums
Solo travelling has become more and more popular over the years but that doesn't mean you have to be alone on Christmas Day. It takes only a minute on a search engine to find many public forums where people are looking for fellow travellers to team up on December 25.
This is a fantastic way to meet new people and potentially gain travel buddies for the New Year.
Tip: As with any internet forum be wary and stay safe when meeting your cyber friend. Always arrange to meet in a public place.
Listen to the church bells ring
While many people get caught up in the presents, the food and the excuse to have a few too many drinks there are also many people who celebrate a particular birthday this time of year.
Australian churches hold several services throughout the day that are open to anyone for free.
You don't need to be religious to attend and, in fact, it can be quite a moving experience if you have never stepped foot inside the holy building before.
St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney is holding several events leading up to Christmas Day (such as a Latino fiesta, storytelling and a night of Christmas carols). They'll hold a midnight mass on Christmas Eve at 11:15pm followed by a day of cantor, choir and carols from 7am until 6pm on Christmas Day.
Tip: If it's your first time try to go without preconceptions. Attend the services with an open mind and you will get the best out of it.
Related article: Aussie Christmas holiday ideas
Got any more ideas to add to our list?