There's something about Christmas that can bring out the best in people. In all corners of the globe, including Launceston, Christmas decorations are hung, carols are sung, and people tend to be much more considerate and giving. It's the festive spirit, and if you're looking for your own burst of Christmas cheer, why not consider one of the community Christmas events you'll find throughout Launceston? There's no better place to celebrate Christmas than in this beautiful city of lovely Victorian architecture, tree lined streets and lush green parks.
So how about the Christmas shopping? There are three main shopping malls in Launceston: Brisbane Street Mall, Quadrant Mall and Civic Square. If you're looking for a little inspiration, the Launceston Christmas decorations, trees and lighting displays will help to get you in the Christmas shopping mood. Brisbane Street Mall is Australia's oldest shopping mall, and is home to the larger department stores. You'll find Myer here and this is one place that's always worth visiting this time of year. Take the children in to see the incredible in-store displays and magical window displays. Children can visit with Santa and you can admire the handiwork that has gone into creating the fabulous Santaland and striking windows (often the result of months of work).
If you're looking for more unusual gifts, head to Quadrant Mall which has smaller gift stores and boutiques, or even drive north to the Tamar Valley. This wine trail is dotted with fabulous antique and craft stores, the perfect spot to find that truly unique present for family and friends.
The Apex Club of Tamar organises Launceston's annual Christmas Parade. The 2011 event has already been scheduled for Saturday 26 November (add it to the calendar now). It's a fantastic day for the whole family. The parade winds through the city centre, and features an array of brilliantly decorated floats, along with marching bands, live performers and of course the star of the show, Santa Claus. Crowds line the streets and follow the parade as it moves along.
Following the parade is the Tamar Apex Club's annual Kids' Christmas Carnivale. This is a fantastic day of performances, rides, face painters, a jumping castle and other children's' entertainment, all in a magical carnival setting.
The carnival traditionally also sees the lighting of the Christmas tree, which is always a site to behold in the middle of Brisbane Street Mall. Visit by day and night to see the tree in its various stages of lighting.
For another family favourite, don't miss Carols by Candlelight. This longstanding event is held annually at City Park. Families and groups of friend arrive with picnic blankets and plenty of energy to sing along to the carols, or just enjoy the myriad of live entertainment from local performers. Carols by Candlelight is held all over Australia, with proceeds going to various charities.
To contribute directly yourself, consider the Make a Wish Foundation. Christmas should be a magical time for children everywhere, and the Make a Wish Foundation strives to spread the magic to children all over Australia who are suffering life-threatening illnesses. Money goes to granting individual wishes, which might be to see a place for the first time, meet one of their heroes or heroines, or to have a pink cubbyhouse! You can help out by donating over the phone or via their website. Every little bit helps.
And to create some magic for your own children, why not make a trip to unearth the festive spirit in the suburbs of Launceston. Christmas decorations, Christmas-themed characters and amazing lighting displays can be found every year at households all over town. In 2010, some of the best examples could be found in Invermay, Kings Meadows, Mowbray and Newnham. The Examiner Newspaper ran a competition where the public could vote for their favourite displays. Keep an eye out on the paper this year for tips on where to explore.
However you choose to spend Christmas this year, the important thing is to gather around family and friends, share a meal, and enjoy the beautiful Australian summer.