Christmas is always a magical time. Whether you're shopping, heading for the work Christmas party, or spending time with family and friends, there's something about Christmas that can put a smile on anyone's face. People celebrate Christmas differently all over the world, but there are some traditions that have permeated every corner of the glove: from Salzburg to San Francisco to Sydney. Christmas decorations, a beautiful tree and a striking display of lights will add a touch of festive spirit to any location. If you're in Sydney for Christmas, here are just a few suggestions of places that always keep the Christmas spirit alive.
If you're shopping with little ones, don't miss the children's departments at both Myer and David Jones. These department stores always create a Christmas-themed wonderland, and there's the chance to havsyde a photo with Santa. Myer and David Jones also create lavish store window displays in Sydney. Christmas decorations, figurines, music and movement add to the spectacle, and the windows are always a hit with kids and adults alike.
And be sure to pay a visit to the QVB (Queen Victoria Building). Not only are there great shopping opportunities in this beautiful, atmospheric arcade, you can stop by Australia's largest indoor Christmas tree. This incredible 24-metre Christmas tree is adorned with thousands of Swarovski crystals and 60,000 lights. In 2011 the final tree will be the result of 12 months planning and 72 construction technicians, engineers, lighting consultants and crystal makers (both from here and from Austria).
If you're looking for dates for the Christmas 2011 calendar, start with Thursday 24 November when the Martin Place Children's Concert and Tree Lighting takes place. This annual event sees people flock to witness the lighting of the 21 metre high Christmas tree that is something of a landmark in Sydney. In tandem with the Martin Place festivities will be the Green at Hyde Park concert, also featuring children's entertainment and a visit from Santa himself. This is a relaxed event, so bring a picnic rug, lie back and enjoy the festivities.
And don't forget to pay a visit to Sydney Town Hall. From 8.30pm til late every night been 24 November and 25 December, a whole array of Christmas themed images will be projected onto the Town Hall in Sydney. Christmas decorations, lights and projections will together create an eye-catching display that's hard to miss. The City of Sydney will be holding four Village Christmas concerts in various locations. These are great family-friendly entertainment, with live performers, and fantastic children's entertainment. Santa will of course pay a visit.
When it comes to Christmas entertainment in Sydney however, nothing quite beats the annual Carols in the Domain event. This year will mark the 29th year of the carols and will no doubt draw some of the biggest names in Australian entertainment. This popular family event will generally kick off at noon and continue until 11pm. Many people arrive very early in the day to grab prime position. Be sure to bring the picnic blanket and sunscreen!
Every year Carols in the Domain raises funds for charity, with last year's recipient being The Salvation Army Oasis Youth Support Network. This is a fantastic charity if you're looking to make some worthwhile donations this Christmas. For those unable to make it to the carols event, it's broadcast live each year via the Seven Network.
If you are looking for Christmas festivities in the suburbs, then be sure to keep an eye out for Christmas lights. Every year individual houses and some whole streets create huge displays with Christmas lights.
And nothing quite says Christmas in Sydney like a trip to the beach on Christmas Day. Every year thousands of people flock to the city's beaches to make the most of the Australian summer. Head over early to avoid the crowds, and you'll be sure to have a Christmas to remember.