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Brisbane is a beautiful city, and Christmas is a beautiful time, so what better way to spend Christmas than in the Queensland capital? If you're looking to get into the festive spirit this year, there are better ways, and no doubt healthier options than the office Christmas party! Why not get along to one of these attractions and discover why they are ever popular with people of all ages during the festive season.

Your first stop will no doubt be the Christmas shopping. And to get in the shopping mood in Brisbane, Christmas decorations are in order. For great displays of colour at Christmas, head to the Queen Street Mall. This mall is made for shopping with over 500 stores. The mall is bookended by the Wintergarden Shopping Complex and the Myer Centre, so you'll not only have the gifts sorted, you'll be inundated with Christmas displays and carols.

If you're looking for unusual or one-off gifts, there's no better spot in Brisbane than the South Bank Art and Craft Markets. Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the markets are brim full of eclectic gifts, artworks, jewellery, clothing and homewares.

Myer is renowned for its Christmas windows, which are transformed each year into a wonderland of colour, light and sound. They're a hit not only with the children, but with adults as well, who can appreciate the time, effort and craftsmanship that goes into creating each incredible display.  Each year the windows have an official unveiling at the Myer Christmas Parade. The parade begins in Queen Street Mall at 10am and features a procession of Christmas themed floats, children's characters and live performers. In 2010 Australian country music star Troy Cassar-Daley was the star of the show (not forgetting Santa Clause in his sleigh of course - always the main drawcard for the little ones!)

And be sure to take the children into Myer's Santaland, a wonderful world of Christmas decorations, lights and Christmas characters. Children can meet Santa, have a photo, and also post a letter to the North Pole. They'll have all bases covered when it comes to letting Santa know what they'd like for Christmas.

One of the most iconic of family Christmas activities is Carols by Candlelight, which in Brisbane is called the IGA Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols (they're also known as Carols in the City). The carols are normally held on the first Saturday in December at the Brisbane River Stage of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. It's a gorgeous setting and the perfect way to spend an afternoon and evening. Bring a picnic and picnic blanket and you'll be set for a leisurely family get-together.

The great thing about Carols by Candlelight all over Australia is that they not only provide great entertainment, but they also raise funds for worthwhile charities all over the country. The IGA Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the incredible outback medical service. If you're looking to make a donation, this is one of several excellent charities that can always use your help.

One other great way to get in the mood for Christmas is to pack the family into the car and go in search of Christmas lights. Every year suburban homes put on great displays. In Brisbane, Christmas decorations, lights, tinsel and Santa's can be found all over town. The addresses may change from one year to the next, but in 2010 some fantastic displays were to be found in Westlake, Wynnum West, Loganholme and Dennis Road in Cedar Vale (better known as Elf World).

There's a lot to love about Christmas, and however you choose to spend it, it's always great to share the festive spirit with people around you. Family and friends are what Christmas is all about after all. And while Brisbane Christmas decorations and carols aren't the only important element of Christmas, they can certainly do a brilliant job of getting everyone into a Christmas frame of mind.