In Melbourne, Christmas decorations, lights and carols are ever popular ways to spread the Christmas cheer. If you're eager to get into the festive spirit, be sure to get yourself to some of the following. You'll be singing and smiling before you know it!
Fast becoming one of the city's favourite events, the Myer Christmas Parade, celebrates the start of the Christmas season and is the perfect way to get into the Christmas mood. This free event is perfect for all ages, with a spectacle of Christmas themed floats, children's characters, television and sporting personalities, all paving the way for the arrival of the main attraction: who else, but Santa Claus! Santa arrives in his sleigh and accompanied by his Christmas helper, Myer Ambassador, Jennifer Hawkins. This year will be the sixth year of the event, which generally runs from 11am to 12.30pm, and travels down Bourke Street from Spring Street through to Hardware Lane, Keep an eye out for this year's date.
When you're ready to start your Christmas shopping, you'll have no shortage of fabulous spots in shopping-mecca Melbourne. Christmas decorations and carols are perfect mood makers, and you'll always find both in abundance in destinations such as the Bourke Street Mall, Collins St, the Melbourne Block Shopping Arcade, David Jones and Myer. For gifts, you also can't go past Melbourne's favourite shopping strips: Chapel St in Prahran (and South Yarra), Fitzroy St in Brunswick, and Acland Street in St Kilda.
Be sure to take the children into David Jones and Myer, where the children's departments are turned into magical wonderlands each year, complete with Santa. Myer's one is called Santaland, and children can take a ride on the Santa train and post a letter to the North Pole. Both stores also do incredible window displays in Melbourne. Christmas decorations take on a whole new life in these magical windows that have a different theme each year. The theme is kept a secret until the unveiling, and might come from a nursery rhyme, film or perhaps the theatre, bought to life with animation, sound and plenty of colour.
If you're looking for Christmas entertainment, the traditional Royal Melbourne Philharmonic choir performs Carols and other Christmas Music at St Paul's Cathedral, which is a striking location. The 2011 concerts will be held on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th December. The biggest Christmas entertainment would have to be carols by candlelight.
Carols by candlelight is something of an institution in Australia, and the biggest one you'll find in the country is Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight, held annually at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in King's Domain Park. These carols have been running since 1938, and the date is set (as it is every year) for Christmas Eve, Saturday 24 December. This sell out event draws over 10,000 spectators and for those without tickets the event is broadcast live on big screens in Federation Square, and is telecast on Nine Network, 3AW, Magic and Vision Australia Radio.
Carols by Candlelight also raises money each year for Vision Australia, with donations used to support children who are blind or have low vision to help them participate in every part of life they choose. Vision Australia is just one worthwhile charity to think about at Christmas. And don't forget to keep an eye out in your own neighbourhood for displays of Christmas lights. Every year from Altona to Wheelers Hill, you'll find homes and sometimes entire streets that have been decked to the nines in Christmas lights.
Christmas is about family and friends, about giving and sharing. So however or wherever you choose to spend your Christmas, be sure to carry a touch of festive cheer with you!