Top places in Melbourne to get into the Christmas spirit

Follow Melbourne’s Christmas lights trail

Location: Multiple

Cost: Free

Melbourne’s famous Ivanhoe Christmas Boulevard has been cancelled for the second year running due to COVID-19 restrictions, but there are plenty of homes in the suburbs putting on a light show.

Christmas Light Search has compiled a list of the best spots throughout Melbourne to drive by spectacular light displays. Here are some hand-picked examples across the city:

Ivanhoe residents Jennifer Bell, right, with daughter Louise. This year’s Christmas Boulevard has been cancelled. Credit:Justin McManus

North:

  • Shaftsbury Street in Coburg: The walk-in display includes thousands of lights, inflatable figures, animated bears, a train, smoke and snow machines, and projections.
  • Chesney Road in Melton: Moving figurines, a nativity scene, and a curtain of festive lights decorate the front lawn of the display, which is open every night through to Christmas.

East:

  • Warwick Close in Wantirna: The display features colourful inflatables and roof displays accompanied by festive tunes.
  • Hansford Close in Kilsyth: Thousands of lights adorn this Hansford Close property to create a display that keeps growing year after year.

South:

  • Grange Road in Sandringham: Lights, an inflatable dinosaur wearing a Santa hat, and window displays decorate the property. There’s music, a snow machine, and roof decorations.
  • Lebanon Crescent in Mulgrave: A deer dressed in winter gear welcomes visitors to this display, which has been running for several years and accepts donations from the public.

West:

  • Bethany Road in Hoppers Crossing: The display features inflatables with a cinematic flavour, featuring Frozen’s Olaf, Minnie Mouse, the Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer.
  • Gillespie Road in Kings Park: This computarised light display features lasers and projections, interactive displays and moving figurines that dance to the rhythm of festive tunes.

Check out Melbourne’s best Christmas trees

Locations: Multiple

Price: Free

Federation Square’s 16-metre tree is Melbourne’s tallest Christmas tree. It was custom-made in 2017, its design is based on a Grand Fir tree and allows for fully programmable sound and lighting treatments. It twinkles with 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights and 500 baubles.

For those looking for an equally picturesque but away from the crowds, the gold and red decorated Christmas tree at 333 Collins Street provides an alternative. Approximately eight metres high, adorned with classic red and gold decorations, it takes a weekend to erect.
The State Manger for 333 Collins Alberto Rice said the added layer of post-lockdown freedom makes this year’s tree extra special. “This year, for us, it was a more special occasion because we wanted to participate in the after-COVID spirit.“

Visit Myer’s Christmas windows on Bourke Street

Location: 336 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Cost: Free

Nothing says Christmas like the line outside of Myer’s flagship store on Bourke Street Mall.

The retailer giant’s Christmas windows have been a Melbourne tradition since 1956 and continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as other attractions were forced to close.

Hundreds of Melburnians, including Lorinska Merrington and her daughters Penelope, 5 and Florence, 2, lined up to see the first showing of the Myer Christmas windows.Credit:Chris Hopkins

This year’s display will be open daily from 7.30am to 10pm until Christmas Eve and feature comedian Magda Szubanski narrating Beatrix Potter’s classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

The characters across the six windows include 19 rabbits, gardener Mr McGregor, a cat, birds, mice, goldfish, ducks and insects, as well as 3000 handpainted leaves, vegetables, and flower petals.

There are also more than 100 individual animated movements.

A Myer spokeswoman said staff would oversee COVID-safe measures at the windows, such as social distancing and cleaning of hard surfaces.

Buy a tree from a Melbourne Christmas tree farm

Location: 319 Leakes Road, Plumpton

Cost: Free entry, approximately $100 per tree

Ongoing uncertainty over Victoria’s current COVID-19 restrictions has forced Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm near Melton to cancel its annual festive market – a celebration of local produce and crafts with music, live entertainment, rides, and helicopter flights.

But fret not, the farm is still open to those looking to buy their own Christmas tree and is offering delivery and click and collect services for those concerned about the spread of coronavirus.

Melburnians can pick their own tree, chop it down and take it home.

Melburnians can choose to buy pre-cut trees or take a walk down the forest to select and cut a tree of their own choosing. Trees average $100 each, with fuller, more luscious specimens costing $150, and last about four weeks indoors.

Unlike other Christmas tree retailers that have experienced supply shortages over the past few weeks, there are still thousands of trees available at the farm, which stocks about 150,000 trees.

Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm is open between 8am and 8pm every day until December 23 and from 8am until 2pm on Christmas Eve.

Watch the light projections in the CBD

Location: Town Hall, Chapter Lane and Hamer Hall
Cost: Free

The century-old Town Hall building, Chapter Lane, and Hamer Hall will be lit up with Christmas projections every night until Christmas between 9pm and 11pm.

Visit Santa at his workshop on Christmas Square

Location: Federation Square

Cost: Free

Federation Square has once again become the home of Christmas, with festive decorations, a 16-metre tree, and plenty of colourful lights.

Santa and his elves will also be available for a photo at the workshop from a COVID-safe distance between 10am and 12pm, and 1pm and 3pm every day.

The Christmas tree at Federation Square.Credit:Picture: Wayne Taylor

The workshop will be open for an additional four hours on Thursday and Friday, closing at 7pm.

There will be no professional photographer on-site, so visitors should bring their camera or phone to take photos.

Peek inside Melbourne’s gingerbread village

Location: Level four at Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale Street

Cost: Gold coin donation

The chefs behind Epicure have shaped more than 600 kilograms of gingerbread, 460 kilograms of royal icing, and 200 kilograms of marzipan into some of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks.

For a gold coin donation, Melburnians can take a peek inside the tiny metropolis, which is populated by tiny gingerbread villagers and features Luna Park, Federation Square, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The gingerbread village is located on level four of Emporium Melbourne on Lonsdale Street. People can go up the escalators outside the Pigeon Hole store on level three and walk through the signed entrance.

Tap-and-go payment facilities will be provided for those without a gold coin. All proceeds will be donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Listen to Christmas story time at the City Library

Location: City Library on 253 Flinders Lane

Cost: Free

After the COVID-19 pandemic saw story time at libraries across Victoria put on hold for almost two years, Melbourne’s City Library has brought storytelling back just in time for the festive season.

Children aged three to five can visit the library to hear Christmas stories and songs before taking part in a seasonal craft.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, adults and children need to book a free ticket online before attending.

Attend this year’s Carols by Candlelight

Location: Sidney Myer Music Bowl at Art Centre Melbourne

Cost: $48-$140

After going ahead without an audience last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Carols by Candlelight will return to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Up to 10,000 Melburnians will be able to attend the event this year, which will be presented by singer and presenter David Campbell and TV presenter Ally Langdon and broadcast by Channel 9.

Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight went ahead last year but without a live crowd.

Carols by Candlelight started as a humble concert in 1938 and has since grown into one of Melbourne’s signature Christmas events, attracting performances from big names such as Gladys Moncrieff, Madame Florence Austral, James Morrison, and Marina Prior.

The event, which raises funds for Vision Australia to help children who are blind or have low vision, will be open to fully vaccinated patrons (children under 12 are exempt).

“It’s always a wonderful night for a great cause, raising much-needed funds for Vision Australia, and after such a tough year for millions of Australians, I’m so glad that crowds are back to help lift our Christmas spirits,” Campbell said.

Gates will open at 4pm before performances start at 8pm.

Midnight Mass

One of Melbourne’s oldest and grandest places of worship, St Patrick’s Cathedral, will hold services across the Christmas period with selected masses broadcast online to the Archdiocesan YouTube Channel and Community Channel C31.

Dial in or attend in person at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve for Carols sung by Cathedral scholars, followed by Midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop Peter Comensoli.

The 11am services on Christmas Day and December 26, known as the Feast of the Holy Family, will also be livestreamed.

If you choose to worship in person, you will need to be double vaccinated and check in manually or via QR code upon entry.

There are no restrictions on how many people can attend, and it is recommended you arrive 15 minutes prior to mass and wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.

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