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The TOT: HOT OR NOT Melbourne Christmas 2017 Activity Advent Calendar

christmas activity advent calendar

It’s only 4 weeks until Christmas which means it’s time to pull out the Christmas Advent Calendar.

After last year’s success with the TOT: HOT OR NOT Christmas Activity Advent Calendar I’m continuing the tradition with another version for 2017.

If you’re on social media I’d LOVE to see your version of the Christmas Activity Advent Calendar. Please use #tothotornot #totxmas on your posts so we can all be inspired to enjoy experiences together!

Save time and read this post later!

Click here to get a pdf of the Christmas Activity Advent Calendar 2017


Friday 1 December – Put up the Christmas tree

Readers tell me their favourite Christmas tradition is to put up the Christmas tree, so why not do it on Friday night and turn it into a party! This year we’ve bought our Christmas tree from Oxfam, meaning that the trees are ethically sourced and also tackle poverty. They deliver to metro Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide or you can pickup.

While you’re putting up your Christmas tree take the opportunity to bite into the first mince pie for the season. I say one a day is just about right! Gourmet Chick provides a comprehensive round-up of Melbourne’s best mince pies.

cobb lane mince pies


Saturday 2 December – Shop at The Big Design Market

The one-stop shop for all your Christmas shopping is at The Big Design Market, the biggest design market in Australia.  Entry is free for children and there’s a kids creative play area.

The Big Design Market | Fri 1 Dec – Sun 3 Dec | Fri: 10am – 9pm Sat: 10am – 7pm Sun: 10am – 5pm | Royal Exhibition Buildings Carlton



Sunday 3 December – Visit the Gingerbread Village by Epicure

gingerbread village melbourne

Admire the hours of handiwork behind the Gingerbread Village by Epicure, a display of iconic Melbourne landmarks and locations all made out of gingerbread.

Gingerbread Village by Epicure | Fri 1 Dec – Sun 24 Dec 9-8:15pm | Melbourne Town Hall



Monday 4 December – Visit the new Scienceworks Children’s Exhibition

Ground Up Scienceworks

Not strictly a Christmas event but just as long-awaited…Scienceworks’ new permanent children’s exhibition ‘Ground Up‘ is opening as a STEM-focused play and learning space for 0-5 year olds.

Group Up: Building Big Ideas, Together | From Mon 4 Dec daily 10-4:30pm | Scienceworks, 2 Booker Ave, Spotswood

Tuesday 5 December – Visit Federation Square

christmas federation square

City of Melbourne’s Christmas celebrations are centred around Federation Square this year. You’ll find Santa underneath the new supersized 16 metre tall Christmas tree, take a selfie inside a 6m high white bauble, visit the ‘Be Present’ Snow Dome and be filmed singing along to your favourite Christmas Carol and every night from 9pm be amazed at the Christmas tree light show.

Christmas at Federation Square | Fri 24 November – Mon 25 Dec | Daily | 9am – late


Wednesday 6 December – Make a Christmas decoration

As a (non-religious) parent part of what makes Christmas meaningful for me is that it marks the passing of time with my kids (here are posts memorialising the first Christmases of Lady AB and Baby 2.0).

Make it a tradition to create a Christmas decoration with your children to add to the tree every year. Here are some easy suggestions.


Thursday 7 December – Visit the Myer Christmas windows

myer christmas windows 2017

A visit to the Myer Christmas windows has been a family tradition for 62 years. This year’s windows are based on the original story of Elf and ‘The completely and utterly, absolutely perfect Christmas’ written and illustrated by H C Floren. There’s also an app to bring the story alive!

Myer Christmas Windows | Sunday 12 November – Sunday 7 Jan 2018 | 7:30am – late, Myer Melbourne Bourke Street


Friday 8 December – Admire the POD Christmas window

Check out the ‘alternative’ Christmas windows with the annual display by Post Industrial Design featuring icons of Melbourne’s west.


Saturday 9 December – Join me for a Family Festive Picnic

Wynter Projects and I (Wheelie Good Fun) have been busy preparing for the best Christmas picnic ever! The Family Festive Picnic is a free event will feature a Christmas cracker hunt with special messages from Santa inside, live music, yard games, hula hooping workshops, and face painting. Finally, there’s a visit from the jolly man himself!



Sunday 10 December – Go Strawberry Picking

The Strawberry Forest

Go picking for the best strawberries at the Strawberry Forest, where the berries are grown vertically so no back-bending required! A really fun day out with kids and the fresh fruit make a delicious Christmas gift.

Strawberry Forest | Every Sunday from 10am (check site for further dates and times) | 391 The Avenue of Honour, Bacchus Marsh

Monday 11 December – Write a gratitude list

Midway through the Christmas madness and it’s worthwhile taking the time to slow down and consider what you’re grateful for this year. Do this exercise with your children too so that you can help them develop an attitude of gratitude.

Why is it important? Because there is always something to be grateful for. Here are 13 Things You Could Learn from writing a gratitude list.


Tuesday 12 December – Donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree

After writing your gratitude list, support the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal. Australia’s largest and longest running Christmas gift Appeal supports families and individuals who are unable to provide gifts at Christmas.

There are many ways you can take part in the Appeal: by placing a gift under a Kmart Wishing Tree in any store nationally (gifts do not need to be purchased at Kmart, nor do they need to be wrapped); making a monetary contribution at any Kmart register or by donating online at


Wednesday 13 December – Send a letter to Santa

Iconic Post Box by Make Me Iconic


Tomorrow’s your last day to write and send a letter to Santa in Santa’s Post Box! While you’re there donate a gift to the Australia Post Giving Box where your donation will be delivered to a child in need.

Santa’s Mailbox | 3 November to 15 December| Outside the Australia Post GPO and The District, Docklands


Thursday 14 December – Visit the ultimate Lolly shop!

Allen’s Lollysmiths have a pop-up store in Melbourne Central where customers can pick ‘n’ mix their favourite lollies – including Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs – to create personalised, custom lolly jars, or select from a range of never-before seen limited edition sweets.

Allen’s Lollysmiths | Melbourne Central in front of KitKat Chocolatery | Wed 15 Nov – Sun 24 Dec | 10-7pm daily, 10-9pm Thursday


Friday 15 December – Get festive at Santa’s Magical Kingdom

santa's magical kingdom

Three hours of festive fun including rides, craft, storytelling, circus show and more! FULL REVIEW.



Saturday 16 December – See some Christmas lights

Talk to your neighbours and find out which suburban houses or streets are displaying Christmas lights.

The best known lights can be found in The Boulevard in Ivanhoe and Thomson Street in Northcote and you can search for the best Christmas lights in Melbourne by suburb.


Sunday 17 December – Bake Santa’s Christmas cookies

Festive Christmas Cookies in a Jar

Decorate these vanilla cookies with ‘Festive Fairy Dust’ as gifts or for your festive table. RECIPE HERE.


Monday 18 December – Build some Christmas Lego

christmas lego

Over the years we have been collecting LEGO’s annual Christmas sets, waiting for the years until our children were old enough to help build. This year we’re going to tackle the latest set – Winter Village Station!


Tuesday 19 December – Buy a Christmas book

myer christmas windows 2017

Books are the gift that keep on giving and every year we pull out our ever-expanding collection of Christmas books. This year our addition is the book based on the Myer Christmas Windows – ‘The completely and utterly, absolutely perfect Christmas’ written and illustrated by H C Floren. Visit one of Melbourne’s best children’s bookshops to make your selection. 

Wednesday 20 December – Watch a Christmas movie

Get ready for the big day by chilling out at home with your favourite Christmas movie. Will it be Love Actually? The Night Before Christmas? A Christmas Carol? What’s your favourite Christmas film?


Thursday 21 December –  Make Festive Christmas cookies in a jar

Santa's Christmas Cookies with Festive Fairy Dust

Need a last minute gift idea? Just whip together this DIY cookie mixture, fill up a jar and add a pretty ribbon for a home-made treat. INSTRUCTIONS HERE.


Friday 22 December – Wrap Christmas presents

See if you can wrap your presents in a ‘sustainable’ way this Christmas and don’t buy new wrapping paper and trimmings. Previous years gifts have been covered with newspaper and bits of ribbon (collected throughout the year), the year’s collection of kinder artwork, leaves and twigs and brown paper drawn on and decorated by the kids.


Saturday 23 December – Admire the Christmas Projections 

On the night before Christmas Eve, head out see City of Melbourne’s annual Christmas Projections with new feature sites at the State Library Victoria, Federation Square and Docklands.

City of Melbourne Christmas Projections | Fri 1 Dec – Sun 24 Dec 9pm -10:20pm daily


Sunday 24 December – Carols by Candlelight

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight has been a Christmas tradition for 79 years, bringing Australia classic Christmas carols and an evening of entertainment with something for the whole family. For the first time ever we’ll be attending this year!




Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned entrepreneur. She combines her love for kids, food, travel and bikes into several passion projects.

She owns an online bike store; develops and produces bike-related creative experiences for families via; and writes another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne with (non-kid related) reviews about things to do and places to go in Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Hi, given I have been sharing this concept prolifically over the last five years, I’m going to draw the conclusion you have become aware of the Activity Advent from one of my posts on IWBSS, IWMB (of which you are a member) or from the FB page I created to share ideas.

    While I appreciate the activity ideas are you own, I would appreciate a credit for the concept (…if indeed my conclusion is correct).

    Teesha Melville (aka Missy Llewelyn)

    1. Hi Teesha

      Thanks for your comment. I think a Christmas Activity Advent Calendar is a pretty widespread concept and I have not actually come across your FB page before. If you like please include your FB page as a link in the comments, it’s always great to get new ideas on how to spread the Christmas spirit!

      Cheers Joyce

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