Jonathan Brown saw the joy on the faces of his nieces and nephews when they opened their gifts. There were two things on the table. The crackers and hats were festive.

It was a typical family Christmas, except for the fact that it happened on November 27th.

Brown's mother wanted the family that lives interstate to be able to afford the flights.

The distances between Australia's cities have not grown, but the air fares to reach them this Christmas have left many with no choice but to spend the holidays alone or out of pocket.

Trying to get my brother from Western Australia to South Australia was a lot of money for him and his boys. Brown says we are used to international airline prices.

He said that the cost of going back to Australia for Christmas was more than it had ever been before.

Jonathan Brown and family celebrate their premature Christmas.

Jonathan Brown and family celebrate their premature Christmas. Photograph: Jonathon Brown

Brown wants to bring everyone he knows who can't be with their family for Christmas together.

The owner of a travel agency says air fares are outrageous.

People don't travel for Christmas. They can't pay for it.

On forced annual leave due to Christmas shutdown between 22 Dec - 8 Jan, I need ideas of what to do. Flights back to Perth too expensive.. anyone going on any Vic trips?

— solaxeris 🔻 (@solaxeris) November 15, 2022

It used to be that you could fly to Europe for the price of an air fare.

Airfares to Europe and other international destinations have made it hard for families to get together for the holidays.

He moved to Australia before his sister's child was born. He went to a family wedding in 2016 and only met his nephew once.

He thought about travelling again after the border opened. It was my hope that we would be able to see our family this Christmas.

The flights from Hobart to the UK got out of control when the war began. The fares went from $2,000 to $4,000.

He says they can't afford that, that's like a month's wages per person. It is on hold for at least a year.

More Australians are using interstate train travel as a cheaper alternative to fly.

After 14 hours on a train from Australia to Australia, Bridget Hassed will be going to her family for Christmas in the early hours of the morning.

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She said she wasn't in a position to start looking for flights until early December because she wasn't in a position to pay $600 for a flight. She didn't want the cost to become "that thing that just ruins your week" and found a hire car to be just as expensive as a flight.

With Hassed's rent having gone up $50 a week recently and everything being so expensive, the train was the most viable option.

It would take well over a week to travel from Sydney to Perth by train or car.

It is difficult for a young woman to travel alone in the middle of the desert for that long. The cheapest ticket she could get for $1,000 on the redeye was more expensive than she anticipated.

It will affect how much I can spend on Christmas presents and the family activities we do back in Perth because I don't have extra in my budget.

The Browns decided to celebrate Christmas in November with their family because they couldn't afford the December air fares.

She says people have had to make difficult choices because of the rising costs of power, food and housing.

I don't know if I should forgo a mortgage or walk to work so I can pay for an air fare.

She says that a lot of people need to be at Christmas because they haven't seen their family in a while.

Cooper is worried that the situation may lead to debt.

Your heart tells you to hang the expense, put it on the credit card and visit your family for Christmas. What do you think will happen after that?

People will try to do what is best for the family, but then think about how many families will be sad on Christmas Day.