From Chinese banquets to backyard barbecues, how we celebrate the holidays around Australia is unique to every family.
We catch up with some of our favourite stars to hear how they mark the most wonderful time of the year.
Anthony & Lucia Field
While other dads spend Christmas mornings knee-deep in wrapping paper with their kids, a long-standing tradition means Anthony starts the day with children other than his own.
Since co-founding The Wiggles in 1991, Anthony and the band visit the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick each year. “Only the children who are really sick are still in the wards – they do try to get everyone home,” he explains.
“We go around and sing Christmas songs. And if the children don’t celebrate Christmas, then we’ll sing their favourite Wiggles song. We all try to hide our emotions. I’m a bit of a downer driving home but then I get there and I’m very grateful to be with my own family.”
“I went a couple of times when I was little,” adds eldest daughter Lucia, who recently donned a blue skivvy of her own. “It was a lot of fun being a mini-Santa, giving the gifts. Now I can join in again.”
As she prepares a 2023 tour to mark 20 years since the release of her debut album, Innocent Eyes, Delta vividly recalls the Christmas that cemented her future career. Under the tree were two special gifts – one from Santa and one from her mother, Lea. “They doubled up that year for my first microphone,” she laughs. “My mother bought one that had a little diamond on the front and Santa gave me a black microphone that I kept in my room.”
Also starting young? Her self-confessed sweet tooth. The Goodrem home was an open house gathering for friends and family where croissants would kick off the morning feast while her grandmother’s famous trifle would round out dessert. Today, her aunty continues the tradition; something Delta
is grateful for as she prepares to spend the day with her nearest and dearest.
“My family is usually spread out across Australia but this year we’ll all be in the same city. It will be nice to see everyone and enjoy the wonder of Christmas with my niece and nephew.”
Head to deltagoodrem.com/events for tour information.
Belinda Russell with Maddi, Coco and Tallulah
Each Christmas starts the same way in the home Belinda shares with husband Mark Calvert and their three daughters. After the girls have chosen a colour scheme, the tree is erected on December 1, the duty of placing the star rotating each year. But since eldest daughter Maddi left the nest to attend Elmhurst Ballet School in the UK, things have changed – albeit in the gentlest of ways.
“We’ll wait until she gets back on December 20 to do it all together,” the Nine Network’s Weekend Today host says. “On Christmas Eve, we all wear matching PJs, which is fun.
“Generally there will be a concert that the girls create. That may actually be my favourite part of the day – that, and the post-feast nap! It will be three months since the five of us have all been under the same roof so that will be the best gift ever.”
Marc Fennell with Madeleine Genner, Max and Sophie
Growing up, Marc has vivid memories of the day it came time to set up the Christmas tree. “We’d pull this very plastic tree from the garage and say, ‘Is this the year we need to replace it? Nah! It’s just a little threadbare, she’ll be right!'” Now that he’s a dad himself, however, that has changed. “It’s my favourite time of the year but the pinnacle is not Christmas Day – it begins the day we get our tree,” the ABC TV presenter smiles.
“My wife’s family have a Christmas tree farm and they save us a good one. Then there is always a period of how many spiders are going to crawl out once we get it to the house, but that’s part of the fun!”
Marc has travelled for work for much of 2022, so for the Fennells, the Christmas period will be relaxed and – hopefully – spent mainly outdoors. “It’s nice to have a sprawling cavalcade of people drop over,” he says. “I just want to be able to sit in the backyard and watch the kids. What I crave for this year is normality.”
Moana Hope with Isabella Carlstrom, Vinny, Ahi and Svea
After years of lockdowns scuppering plans, Isabella can hardly believe she’s able to make what was once an annual pilgrimage to New Zealand for Christmas. “To be able to do that again with my little family is really special,” the model – who wed Moana (left) in 2019 – says. Since the couple’s last visit, their brood has expanded with the arrival of daughter Svea, two, and son Ahi, five months, which clearly delights Moana’s sister, Vinny, for whom the former AFLW star is a full-time carer.
“The day is endless entertainment,” Isabella adds. “My grandparents go to Mass in the morning then we spend all day cooking Christmas lunch. We are up by the Bay of Islands in Kerikeri so Dad goes diving to get some crayfish. It’s all beach, family, seafood and sunshine.”
Over lunch, they’ll kick off another Carlstrom family tradition. “We sit around and say three things that you are thankful for,” says Moana. “This year I’m thankful and grateful for the family I have. We have a beautiful daughter, a beautiful son and Vinny is happy and healthy and fit. What more could we ask for?”
You can read this story and many others in the Christmas issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly – on sale now.