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Christmas is celebrated in similar fashion all over the world. From Dakar to Dallas to Darwin, Christmas decorations, coloured lights, tinsel and a visit from the red-suited one himself are sure to be found. In Australia we've also made some Christmas traditions our own (Carols by Candlelight started in Melbourne many years ago) and we can also offer some truly unique places in which to spend the festive season. Darwin is a tropical city on the northern tip of Australia that blends people and cultures from all over the globe. If you're looking to spend Christmas in Darwin, here are just a few suggestions to get yourself into the holiday mood.

Make the most of your unique location to find some truly unique gifts. Darwin has some of the best markets in the country with Nightcliff Markets, Parap Markets and Mindil Beach Markets being just a few popular options. At each you'll find stalls laden with hand-made homewares, clothing, jewellery, artwork and gifts. The Parap and Nightcliff Markets are held every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, and the Mindil Beach Markets operate on Thursday and Sunday night. You'll not only get in some great shopping, but see some of the most beautiful coloured skies as the sun sets over the beach.

In Darwin, Christmas decorations can be found all over town, from the Smith St Mall, to outlying shopping areas. Darwin City Council provides plenty of these decorations, and puts on a range of Christmas festivities for the whole family starting in November. You'll find festivals with carols, live performances, dancing and a whole range of children's entertainment. There is also a special lighting of Darwin's city Christmas decorations, which includes a visit from Santa on the night. Keep an eye on the local news or council website for this year's dates and details.

The highlight of the Christmas season in Darwin is undoubtedly Carols by Candlelight, which is held annually in the Amphitheatre at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. This gorgeous location is the perfect place to bring the family and set yourself up with a picnic, watch the fabulous performers and sing along to your favourite carols. Crowds in previous years have been treated to the Darwin City Brass Band, Darwin Youth Choir, the Kormilda College Choir and many well-known special guests. The main event usually kicks off at 6.30pm and concludes with a fireworks extravaganza. The Carols by Candlelight is a charity fundraiser event and entry is by gold coin donation.

It's certainly the time of year to think about people in need and if you're looking to make some donations you might consider the Australian Red Cross. This fantastic organisation helps people in need all over the world, including those faced with natural disasters. It was certainly there to lend a hand when Darwin faced it's most horrific of Christmas Days in 1974. Cyclone Tracy devastated the town but thanks to the good work of charities such as the Red Cross (along with a little help from the Army, the emergency services, and the locals) Darwin recovered and began to develop into the fantastic city that it is today.

In Darwin, Christmas decorations, lights and fabulous displays can also be found at homes all over town. From Kurrajong Drive in town, to Gunn, Moulden, Palmerston and Woodroffe, families have been decorating their homes every year at Christmas. Be sure to check out the local papers closer to December, for tips on just where to see the best of Darwin's light shows.

And however you choose to spend Christmas, be sure to take the whole family along, because Christmas is first and foremost about spending time with the ones closest to you.