Keith Urban grew up with holiday traditions far removed from the frigid temperatures and fireside celebrations that are commonly associated with Christmas.
The “Somebody Like You” singer recently reflected on the holiday traditions of his upbringing in Australia and how he’s keeping those customs alive today.
“I have great memories of getting up early and going and jumping on your parents’ bed and getting them up,” he said in a conversation with his label, Capitol Records Nashville. “And then of course you tear open the presents and then it’s done and it’s like eight in the morning, and you’ve got all morning now to sort of wish you had more presents to open.”
The Christmases of his youth were never white. December is summer in the land down under, a time when locals hit the beach to enjoy the sun and surf in the 90-degree heat.
“We had great Christmases growing up. I really, really enjoyed them,” Urban recalled. “Mostly, we’d go to the beach, you know, ’cause there it’s summertime. Load up the station wagon and head off to the beach.”
A holiday at the beach is a tradition he’s kept alive with his own family. “We still love going to the beach at Christmastime, as long as we’re in Australia because it’s like the Fourth of July. It’s huge. Everybody’s out. It feels very celebratory.”
The swelter of the beloved day is something that feels very natural. He adds that keeping with the Christmas customs in the heat is nothing out of the ordinary.
“Albeit it, we still had all of the same Christmas songs, so we’re in like 90-degree heat with shorts and tank tops singing ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland,’ and I remember getting Christmas cards of like Santa on a surfboard, so that probably explains a lot.”
For Urban, the frostbitten Christmas scenes that have become synonymous with the holidays are just as good when experienced through film.
“I love A Christmas Story, that’s a good one, and It’s a Wonderful Life, of course,” he spoke on his affinity for holiday-themed movies. “One of my main guitars is called Clarence, and it’s named after the angel [in It’s a Wonderful Life], and then for some reason, I swear, no matter what you’re doing flicking around the TV, but you’re gonna land on Charlie Brown [Christmas]. I don’t know how that happens, but it happens every year.”
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