Prime Minister Tony Abbott has wished all Australians a Merry Christmas in his video message. He thanked all Aussies who will not be spending the holidays with their families because they may be away serving either the country or community.
REUTERS Traffic moves along under the Oxford Street Christmas lights after they were switched on in central London, November 12, 2013.
In a pre-recorded message, Abbott said Christmas is a time for reflection and should be thankful for the blessings that Australians now enjoy. The Australian leader paid tribute to the nurses, doctors, police officers and emergency services personnel who will be working even on Christmas Day.
He also acknowledged the efforts of those working with charities to ensure the less fortunate will have something to celebrate this Christmas. The prime minister ended the message by wishing Australians a "peaceful and safe Christmas" in behalf of his family. Abbott is spending his Christmas with his family in Paris, France.
Labour and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urged Australians to remember people who are currently facing an uncertain future on Christmas day. He also thanked those who will be working throughout the holidays for their dedication.
Earlier in December, 2,900 employees of Holden in Victoria and South Australia have found out they will be losing their jobs when the company stops making cars in Australia in 2017. Shorten said while for most Christmas means spending time with loved-ones, others might be going through tough times with their families. He called on Australians to reach out to those who are in need.
Australians are in the mood to celebrate Christmas with the Australian National Retail Association expecting shoppers to shell out AU$3 billion or US$2.6 billion dollars over the weekend.
According to the figures, 90 percent of Australian shoppers will flock to brick and mortar stores to shop while 10 percent will stick with online shopping.
Printed books are the hottest Christmas gifts in Australia due to an increasing demand for books based on local reports. According to the Australian Booksellers Association, book sales have increased this year compared to 2012.