South African Christmas Essentials

South African Christmas Essentials

Isn’t it great that in South Africa we celebrate Christmas in summer? It means that our holidays are filled with sunny days, beach trips, soccer games, thunderstorms, braais, family, friends, and of course, watermelon.

But these are just a few of the essentials that make a South African Christmas memorable. Here is a list of some other things you can count on to add to the flavour of the day.


Christmas Morning

First things first, there is family. Who better to join you in the excitement of opening presents first thing on Christmas morning? Together you struggle to finish breakfast because you’re focused on the festivities ahead, excited about wearing your brand new Christmas outfits and eager to see what’s inside those oddly-shaped gifts with your names on them. For some, the next step might be church, for others it’s the start of preparation for the big Christmas meal. Whatever it may be, everyone knows exactly what comes after that…


The Christmas Lunch

A firm Christmas favourite amongst South African families is the yellow savoury rice and an assortment of meats and salads. And as the familiar aroma of Rajah Flavourful and Mild wafts through your home and the homes of your neighbours, the feeling of Christmas lunch togetherness grows.

And then there’s the Christmas crackers! You can tell when your neighbours have gotten to the crackers. Loud shrieks of laughter can be heard erupting with each crack as the kids run around collecting the little trinkets that spill out.

And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a few ‘uninvited’ guests coming over. Mince pies, Quality Street chocolates, watermelon and the all-time favourite, Bakers Biscuits, are bound to make themselves at home once everyone’s tummies have started to recover from the big lunch.



Christmas evenings are a time to relax with the family. Everyone nibbles on the mound of leftovers as they reflect on the activities of the day. Kids start to fall asleep mid-activity — their fingers sticky, their faces grimey, and their new toys strewn across the living room floor. Finally, all the grown-ups will make their way to bed — with slow steps, full stomachs and wide grins.


All in all, our hot South African Christmas (which usually includes a sudden shower of rain), reminds us about what’s really important in life. Although there is much excitement about gifts and fancy outfits, at the end of the day what everyone really remembers is the great time they had with family and friends.