Christmas on Bondi Beach and why it was such a disappointment

The thought of spending Christmas on Bondi Beach makes most people swoon. Imagine lazing in the sunshine, relaxing on the golden sands with a cold beer as you open your Christmas goodies. Sure, the good old fashioned turkey dinner may have to be replaced by an Aussie barbecue but that’s something we can get over.

I was really excited at the possibility of sharing in this dream Christmas experience and I had my Santa bikini ready and waiting. I couldn’t wait to phone my family who were stuck in cold, old England and tell them about how amazing my Christmas day was.


Unfortunately it didn’t quite happen like that…


You wouldn’t want this guy coming down your chimney

This dream Christmas experience all revolves around it being hot and sunny, but what happens if it rains? And that is exactly what happened Christmas 2009 on Bondi Beach. It rained ALL day!

In true British style we headed down to the beach in the rain, hoping for some miracle that would magically turn the cold drizzle into the 30 degree sunshine that we’d been promised by every stereotypical Australian notion out there. I’d optimistically worn a bikini beneath my hoody but there was no chance I was going anywhere near the sea.

We huddled beneath a shelter, exchanging gifts (all bought from the dollar shop) and getting stuck into a box of goon that was swiftly confiscated by the police. So much for Christmas cheer!

We lingered around the beach, trying to be festive and fun but something was wrong…this just wasn’t Christmas.

The day way long, cold, drunken, sandy and remarkably un-Christmassy.

At around 11 pm my parents called to wish me Merry Christmas. My mum spoke first, telling me how she’d been up since 6am making mince lies, lighting the big coal fires throughout our house and basting the turkey.

My dad had been shovelling snow off the drive ready for their guests to arrive while my brother threw snowballs for the dog.

As my mum spoke I could hear Christmas songs in the background, I heard my dad open the first bottle of champagne (one of many in the Stott household) and I heard my family opening presents, laughing and shouting before they each took turns to hold the phone and wish me a merry Christmas.

It actually sounded like a scene from Home Alone, only the family were all at home and I was the one who had left.

I could almost smell the mince pies; I could feel the warmth from the fire and the tingly feeling in the tips of my fingers that you only get from throwing snowballs for far too long. I could hear the excitement and anticipation for Christmas dinner and taste the champagne they were all sipping. But worst of all, I could hear the sadness in my mum’s voice. Christmas is one of my favourite times of year and we both knew that I would be in my element if I was there, joining in with all the festivities.

During this conversation I was sat on my own on the stair case of my hostel, sipping cheap wine from a plastic beaker while picking at a soggy kebab. I was still slightly damp from a rainy day on the beach and I was feeling more homesick that I ever felt during my entire life.

I think this was the one and only time that I got homesick during my travels and I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. I was slowly sobering up and my head was pounding; I was tired and cold and I just wanted to be at home. I just wanted it to feel like Christmas.

There’s always one who peaks a bit to early…and then gets abused for it by everyone in the hostel

So this year I am ridiculously excited about being home for Christmas. I popped back to my parents house last weekend to put up the tree, I’ve bought all my presents and they’re all wrapped and waiting. After two years on the road and two Christmases away from my family, I can’t wait for a good old fashioned family Christmas.

My Christmas tree this year

Were there any times you were homesick on the road or had disappointing experiences? There are some things you think are going to be different and amazing but it turns out that the traditional experience is way better.


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of the best holidays. Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!


  • Jen
    December 15, 2011

    Ahhh I actually felt a bit teary reading this Mon especially at the image of you pickin at your soggy kebab… I know what you mean, I hate the British weather, I hate the cold dark nights I hate everything about being here at Winter but there’s something about Christmas that calls for all that – where you can’t WAIT for your xmas dinner because it warms you up for practically a week afterwards, where you can drink wine in the snow from 9am and it’s ok, where you can actually appreciate the sparkles in the trees because it’s dark and it makes the rain actually look pretty. Have an AMAZING one this year babe, you’ll probably appreciate it all the more after last year xxxx

  • Bird
    December 15, 2011

    Ahh you’re feeding my fears about my Christmas in the Gold Coast, Australia. After two months roasting like the proverbial Christmas turkey in Southeast Asia I now fear a the Sunshine State of Australia won’t live up to it’s name.
    I am a softie so no matter what I know that I will miss the food, the reluctantly fun family games and even the Eastenders Christmas Special.
    I agree with Jen – Christmas IS winter and vice versa for us Brits, however maybe that’ll be the silver lining if it does rain for me on Christmas Day down under as at least it’ll be more like being at home!
    Enjoy your special family day and all those mince pies!
    Bird x
    P.S. That tree is very fabulous!

  • December 15, 2011

    Aww Mon that image of you picking at your soggy kebab and drinking cheap wine from a plastic cup while your Mam’s back home baking mince pies is heartbreaking!!

    We spent Christmas in Bondi last year (2010) and, as we had our own flat there for a month, we cooked a proper christms dinner and had everything just like it was at home: except it was actually hot that day.

    I’m so glad you’re home for Christmas this year, enjoy it hun. The tree looks amazing!!

  • December 15, 2011

    Wow that sucks! Think I’m going to have to cross ‘Bondi Christmas’ off my to do list when I get there.

    So sorry to hear it was so disappointing especially when you spoke to your parents…talk about rubbing salt into the wound :/

  • December 15, 2011

    Mon – it seems I was on Bondi with you!hahaha! I’ve even got the same sky writing pic as you 😛

    small world hey?!

    …sucks that we hit oz for the first rainy xmas on bondi in 40 years! and i’m totally with you on the homesickness thing – I ended up getting totally drunk with my roomiesafter a failed ‘sunburnt xmas’ outting!


  • December 16, 2011

    Lovely Santa outfit. Hope there were lots of good girls to share presents with.

  • December 18, 2011

    It’s only after you try out new things, that you can say that “yep, the old traditional way of doing it is better!” 🙂 But imagining you eating your soggy kebab does paint a heartbreaking picture, hope you have a nice Christmas this year!

  • September 10, 2012

    I know exactly how this feels – I was away for Christmas a couple of years ago, and without my Mum it’s just not quite the same! I’m away again this year and hoping I’ll be in good compant!


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