Don’t be deterred by a COVID-safe Christmas. While mass gatherings are still a problem for the usual Christmas calendar, we’ve gathered a list of Canberra’s best Christmas events to provide all the cheer you need within the realms of public health and safety.
Pop-up Xmas bar at Canberra Centre
Take a break from your Christmas shopping with a complimentary glass of wine and sweet treats at Canberra Centre’s pop-up Christmas Bar, located in Level 1 Monaro Mall, near David Jones. Bookings required; one drink per person. On Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December 12-3pm, they’ll be serving a selection of drinks from Mount Majura Vineyard.
From Thursday 17 to Friday 18 December 12-3pm, the bar will be serving a selection of wines from Tallagandra Hill Winery.
And until 13 December, Canberra Centre’s ‘Spend to win the Christmas’ promotion invites shoppers to win a share of over $22,000 in prizes when you spend $50 or more at participating stores.
Book and find out more at canberracentre.com.au
Real Christmas trees
Starting this Saturday 28 November until 23 December (excluding Sundays), RSPCA ACT is selling real Christmas trees from the shelter at 12 Kirkpatrick Street, Weston. Open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm.
More info: rspca-act.org.au
Pet photos with Santa
This Saturday 28 November is your last chance to get a pet photo with Santa at Sweet Bones Bakery Café in Braddon. Limited slots are available from 10am to 3pm. For a $10 donation, you’ll receive an email pack of 2-4 high resolution professional photographs while supporting Sydney Fox and Dingo Rescue. A Christmas tree, decorations and reindeer outfits are available.
YWAM Christmas Fair
On Saturday 28 November 4-7.30pm, celebrate Christmas with market stalls, food, games, traditional carols and an art exhibition. Around 6pm settle down with your sausage or picnic tea to sing some Christmas carols conducted by Northside Life Church. Bring or buy some food and drinks and enjoy a free sausage sizzle (you can donate to YWAM Jakarta’s Covid relief appeal).
YWAM Canberra, 76 Federal Hwy, Canberra.
Christmas high tea
If it hasn’t already, your silly season starts this Sunday 29 November with a classy catch up with friends. Pialligo Estate Christmas high tea provides stunning views, decadent festive cakes, finger sandwiches and scones, inspired by Christmas flavours and a Christmas cocktail upon arrival. $66.50 per person, two sessions are available, morning from 10.30 or afternoon from 2pm. Bookings essential.
Christmas lights locations
Canberra Christmas Lights Location will again provide a map of the best light displays in Canberra.
For more details or to add your display to the map go to: facebook.com/CanberraChristmasLightsLocations or email [email protected]
Canberra City Celebrations
Canberra’s very own unique kaleidoscopic Christmas tree and colourful summer decorations will deck the city centre throughout December.
The newly refurbished City Walk will allow you to listen to local musicians and participate in free, family activities in an urban oasis of gardens. Santa Claus will also be nearby in the Canberra Centre.
Visit Santa at Canberra Outlet Centre
You can still get your photos with the big guy in red this year, with socially-distanced Santa at Canberra Outlet Centre, 1-24 December. Inside the centre’s magical woodland forest sits Santa’s COVID-safe sleigh, where you can take as many photos as you like during your 10-minute session – make sure you have some fun with it! $5 donations to Marymead will be payable by tap and go.
Bookings are essential, secure your spot via canberraoutletcentre.com.au
Santa and Pet Photography
Throughout December, South.Point Tuggeranong invites you to “experience the magic of Christmas” with extended trading hours, Santa and pet photography, kids’ craft plus free giveaways and activities.
More info: southpointcanberra.com.au
Lightbulb Christmas Special
Join Lightbulb for light-hearted fun as they deliver a night of Christmas inspired comedy on Thursday 3 December at Smith’s Alternative in the city. In the spirit of Christmas, they’ll bring you improvised carols and comedy sketches. It’s a variety show like no other as it’s completely made up on the spot!
Tickets: $15 via smithsalternative.com/events/lightbulb-improv-70143
Rainbow Paws Program Doggy Christmas Party
Dogs and their humans are invited to Rainbow Paws’ annual Xmas party on Saturday 5 December 10am-12.30pm at the lawns outside Yarralumla Dog Park. There will be loads of activities for humans and doggos alike including Selfies with Santa (for the doggos), colouring-in competition, lucky dips, snacks and drinks. ACT Rescue and Foster, Labrador Rescue, and Pets In The Park will also be there.
More info: contact Natarsha on [email protected] or 0416 646 050.
Christmas Sparkle Market
Held over two days, 5-6 December, at the Pearce Community Centre, this little market features Canberra region makers and artisans. A good choice if you like to shop minus hectic crowds.
Details can be found at facebook.com/events/799655970855291
Sensitive Santa Photography
Until 6 December,Westfield Woden is offering a sensitive Santa experience tailored to children with sensory challenges. Families can visit the Christmas wonderland and have their photo taken in a relaxed environment. Please note, there will be no walk-ins available.
For more details and to book, visit the website https://bit.ly/2GXLgke
Pop Canberra’s ordinary ornaments workshop
On 10, 12 and 18 December, the lovely folks at Pop Canberra in Braddon are paying homage to his strange year by hosting the ‘ordinary ornaments workshop’, where participants will make terrible Christmas ornaments while sipping on Christmas themed cocktails. Sounds like the perfect kind of self-care!
Carols by Candlelight
Canberra’s 76th Carols by Candlelight at Stage 88 has been officially approved for a COVID-safe, ticketed event for 2,000 people on Saturday 12 December at7.30pm. Get in quick to listen to the Woden Valley Youth Choir and singer songwriter Lucy Sugerman live on stage. Alternatively, the event will be broadcast on ABC Canberra’s Facebook page for the first time.
Tickets are available and on sale now at trybooking.com/BMPGN
Market Day @ St Ninian’s
Head to St Ninian’s in Lyneham on Saturday 12 December 9am-2pm for: craft and Christmas craft gifts and decorations; books to suit all ages; plants to bloom throughout summer; a large range of treasures and white elephant including puzzles, games and kids’ things; new and pre-loved jewellery; and sausage sizzle cooked on the premises. Social distancing and other Covid guidelines will apply.
Canberra International Music Festival – A Ceremony of Carols
On Sunday 13 December at Wesley Uniting Church,Britten’s ceremony of innocence features the pristine voices of the Luminescence Children with award winning harpist Alice Giles. Due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions, A Ceremony of Carols will be run twice, once at 3pm and again at 4.30pm. Each performance will go for 45 minutes.
At Wesley Uniting Church, 20-22 National Circuit, Forrest ACT. Bookings: cimf.org.au/luminous-christmas-events
Slo-Ho-Ho! Join the Social Creative in the city on Tuesday 15 December 6.30-8.30pm for a festive evening creating your very own super fun Christmas sloth. Their creative workshop leaders will guide you through an enjoyable acrylic painting session to create your very own Christmas sloth painting! By the end of the evening, you and your friends will take home your very own masterpiece.
Bookings: [email protected] or facebook.com/thesocialcreativecbr
Christmas with Marty K
Celebrate Christmas with family and friends at Tallagandra Hill Winery, Gundaroo on Saturday 19 December 6.30-10.30pm with Bella’s Christmas Dinner and live party music from one of Canberra’s favourite performers, Marty K. The Christmas Dinner Show is part of Tallagandra Hill’s We Love Local Festival – supporting local artists and producers.
Limited tickets include the show, 3 course dinner, and a glass of Tallagandra Hill white or red bubbles on arrival. Drinks are available from the bar throughout the night.
Bookings are invited for a minimum of 4 and maximum of 30 due to seating requirements and COVID 19 rules. Car-pooling is encouraged.
More info: tallagandrahill.com.au
New Year’s Eve
The ACT Government is currently reviewing several events, including New Year’s Eve Fireworks, and possible modifications in line with the COVID Safe Events Protocols and public health directions.
Since March, the Government has already ‘reimagined’ events such as Floriade to ensure they can still be delivered in some capacity, without creating a public health risk.
An announcement on NYE fireworks will be made in coming weeks.
The ACT Government would like to remind us that it is everyone’s responsibility to follow health advice and keep our community safe.
When coming to the city, please keep 1.5 metres of physical distance between yourself and others, and, if you are feeling unwell, stay home. Visit covid19.act.gov.au for all the latest health advice.