Used to swinging from branches of the eucalyptus tree in the outback, the marsupial, named Daphne by the family, had made herself at home until she was discovered by the dog.
“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and was sniffing around and Mum thought that was a bit weird,” Taylah, 16, told the Guardian.
“There was baubles all over the floor … and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree.
“It was pretty tangled up in the lights. It was a fake tree and very old but she still tried eating the leaves off it … I saw her munch down on some but she stopped when she realised it was plastic.”
The family called animal rescue but had to convince call handlers it wasn’t a hoax.
The charity 1300 KOALAZ posted pictures of their daring rescue to Facebook adding: “At first our call handler thought she was the victim of a prank call.
“But no, a koala desperate to get in the Christmas spirit had wandered into Amanda McCormick’s house and decided it wanted to be the fairy on the Christmas tree.
“Amanda was not so sure and rang us for help.
“Thanks Amanda for the great pictures and making sure this little koala got its wish, even if it was just for a short while.”
The rescuers were then filmed wrapping Daphne in a pink towel and easing her off the fake branches.
The rescue team released Daphne into a tree in a nearby bushy area, and the McCormicks say they will be looking out for her from now on.
Dee Hearne-Hellon, co-founder of 1300KOALAZ, told the Standard: “Daphne is fine I saw her today and she was high in the tree she went up yesterday, totally oblivious to the media storm she has caused.
“We all care for the koalas at home as we prefer to use donations to care for the koalas and regenerate lost habitat.”
Online commentators claimed that Daphne’s discovery had “saved 2020”.
One wrote: “Thanks for this. After all the koalas (and other fauna) we lost in the fires, I think a koala in our Christmas tree is a lovely new tradition.”
Another added: “That is SO Australian! You got to be the best fairy on the tree but the outside is best for you sweetie!”
Koalas which survived the devastating wildfires that tore across Australia earlier this year could now lose their habitats through logging.
Campaigners and environmentalists have urged the state government of New South Wales to stop cutting down trees until they have a better understanding of how many koalas are in the area.