To residents of Christmas Island, a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean, it's Christmas every day. 'Santa just can't compete with our cache of natural gifts,' says Linda Cash, a long-time resident of the tropical paradise made up of just 135 sq km, named by British sea captain William Mynors, who arrived there on December25, 1643. This remote island is part of Australia, yet it feels more like Southeast Asia. Located 2,600km north-west of Perth and 360km off Java, the island is home to only 1,500 people who share their paradise with some the most fascinating marine, land and airborne creatures on Earth - hence its nickname, 'the other Galapagos'. The island's human residents are an ethnic mix of Chinese, Malay and European, and whenever a holiday comes around almost everyone, regardless of religion, take part. Christmas Day, Lunar New Year and Hari Raya are all cause for celebration on Christmas Island. Locals say that a typical Christmas Day starts with a morning get-together with one's 'Christmas Island family'. Around lunchtime, they start gathering for a community party at Flying Fish Cove, the island's main settlement area, sharing a typical Australian meal of barbecued seafood followed by a snorkel or swim in the ocean. According to resident Timothy Bull, a main attraction at Christmas is the annual migration of the island's endemic red crabs - estimated to number more than 120million - marching across the sands to lay their eggs in the sea. Many naturalists have described these blood-red crab species as one of the most spectacular on the planet - and as Mr Bull points out, 'they are Santa colours, too'. Flying Fish Cove is also an idyllic snorkelling spot, where myriad tropical fish swim by in only metres of water. A short distance away, divers can cruise the drop-off which plunges dramatically into the abyss. Festive revellers exploring the ocean's warm waters may even bump into one of the local spinner dolphins, or encounter a majestic whale shark, the world's biggest fish. Christmas Island Tourism Association's theme is 'Christmas 365 days a year'. So enamoured were British-based photojournalists Beth and Shaun Tierney, who visited the island as tourists in 2005, that they produced a book, The Essential Christmas Island Travel Guide. 'There is a truly special ambience to this tiny island. It's not really Australia and it's not really Asia, instead it reflects something of both, but mostly it's a haven for some of the rarest wildlife on the planet,' wrote the authors. Residents agree their home is paradise wrapped up. 'It's an absolute gem,' says Ms Cash.