If you have ever wondered what an Australian Christmas is like, I’m not going to lie: it’s a little stupidly idyllic.

My brother, Rob, and I would always wake up early and open our stockings, which were filled with the most random, thoughtful things plus lollies (that’s ‘candy’ in Aussie speak). Once the sugar high hit and it being beautiful summer weather, I would stroll to the beach just down the road for a morning swim. It’s like a little local meeting of sorts — you see all of your neighbors and friends, and get to wish them a merry Christmas. I know, I know… It’s a tough life in Sydney!

The main event is always lunch with my big, crazy extended family and we always feast on fresh seafood. We’re loud and loving, and we end up talking for hours about everything that’s happened that year, good and bad, and each of us dish out expert family advice on so-and-so’s love life. Someone is usually at the center of the “when are you going to get married?” interrogation from my grandmother.

Lunch turns into coffee, and coffee turns into dinner. Finally, we all go home feeling fat and happy, probably in a new t-shirt that was a gift and one of those flimsy paper Christmas crowns.