December is just around the corner which means it’s time to get ready for the annual TOT: HOT OR NOT Melbourne Christmas Activity Advent Calendar!
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!
SATURDAY 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 Saturday night and turn it into a party!
You can buy real Christmas trees and get them delivered to you via Melbourne Christmas Trees or Real Christmas Trees. Or make it an occasion and visit the Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm in Plumpton, Santa’s Place Moorooduc, Narre Warren Christmas Tree Farm or the Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm. Your local Scout group will also be fundraising by selling Christmas trees so you can help a good cause.
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! Who do you think makes the best mince pies in Melbourne?
SUNDAY 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. I’ll be there all weekend peddling cool cycling gear with my business CycleStyle (pun intended!). Find me at Stand B43 behind eatery Miss Chu on the right when you enter from Nicholson St.
The Big Design Market | Fri 30 Nov – Sun 2 Dec | Fri: 10am – 9pm Sat: 10am – 7pm Sun: 10am – 5pm | Royal Exhibition Buildings Carlton
MONDAY 3 DECEMBER – VISIT THE GINGERBREAD VILLAGE BY EPICURE
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 | Sat 1 Dec – Mon 24 Dec 9am-8:15pm | Melbourne Town Hall
TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER – VISIT THE MYER CHRISTMAS WINDOWS
The Myer Christmas windows 2018 return for their 63rd year! This year is an Alice in Wonderland theme. Also make sure you check out Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows, a temporary exhibition at Melbourne Museum.
Myer Christmas Windows | Friday 9 November – Monday 24 December 2018 | 7:30am – late, Myer Melbourne Bourke Street
WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER – VISIT FEDERATION SQUARE
City of Melbourne’s Christmas celebrations are centred around Federation Square this year. Celebrate under the giant tree with sound and light shows every night from 9pm throughout December.
Christmas at Federation Square | Fri 30 November – Tue 25 Dec | Daily | 9am – late
THURSDAY 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. Make it a tradition to create a Christmas decoration with your children to add to the tree every year. Here are some easy suggestions.
Friday 7 December – Chillax at Santa’s Beach Club
After doing your Christmas shopping celebrate sun, surf and Santa at Santa’s Beach Club!
Take a dip (and a selfie) in the ball pit, chill out with snacks on a banana lounge and enjoy a cool beverage with some cool tunes.
Santa’s Beach Club Highpoint | Friday 23 November – Sunday 9 December various times
SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER – Book your SANTA PHOTOS
Every shopping centre will have Santa photos available during the festive season, but my pick for the best backdrop I’ve seen so far is the Enchanted Forest in Eastland. On Saturday 8 December there will also be the Eastland Christmas Carnival with a huge range of entertainment; carnival rides, roving performers, aerial acrobatics, and pop-up food treats from 12pm to 10pm with proceeds going to Vision Australia.
Christmas at Eastland | Santa Photos from Saturday 11 November various times, Christmas Carnival Saturday 8 December 12pm-10pm
SUNDAY 9 DECEMBER – GO STRAWBERRY PICKING
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 10 DECEMBER – Take photos of the CROWN CHRISTMAS SHOW & ARTVO POP UP
This Christmas one of the best free things you can do to celebrate the festive season is to visit the Crown Christmas Show. The Atrium of Crown Towers comes alive with a spectacular lighting and musical display which goes for about 15 minutes. The show runs daily, every 30 minutes from 10am to midnight.
Crown Atrium Spectacular & ArtVo Exhibition| Sunday 25 November – Wednesday 2 January 2019 | Daily 10.00am – midnight
TUESDAY 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.
WEDNESDAY 12 DECEMBER – MAKE BELIEVE
The exhibition Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows, at the Melbourne Museum features a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved Melbourne tradition. You’ll find stories, displays, models, sets and puppets from some of past Myer Christmas Windows.
Make Believe: The Story of the Myer Christmas Windows| Saturday 17 November – Saturday 9 February 2019 | Daily 10.00am – 5.00pm, 11 Nicholson St
THURSDAY 13 DECEMBER – SEND A LETTER TO SANTA
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 14 December| Outside the Australia Post GPO and The District, Docklands
FRIDAY 14 DECEMBER – GET FESTIVE AT SANTA’S MAGICAL KINGDOM
Get ready for three hours of festive fun at Santa’s Magical Kingdom including rides, craft, storytelling, circus show and more!
Santa’s Magical Kingdom | Friday 23 December – Monday 24 December | 10am and 2pm sessions
SATURDAY 15 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 16 DECEMBER – BAKE SANTA’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES
Decorate these vanilla cookies with ‘Festive Fairy Dust’ as gifts or for your festive table. RECIPE HERE.
MONDAY 17 DECEMBER – BUILD SOME 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’s latest set is the Winter Village Fire Station.
TUESDAY 18 DECEMBER – BUY A CHRISTMAS BOOK to gift to someone else
Books are the gift that keep on giving. So this year we’re buying a book to donate to our school library and another one to put into the Santa’s Gift Giving Box for a child in need. Visit one of Melbourne’s best children’s bookshops to make your selection.
WEDNESDAY 19 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 20 DECEMBER – MAKE FESTIVE CHRISTMAS COOKIES IN A JAR
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 21 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.
If you’re all thumbs when it comes to gift-wrapping then wrap some cool minimal waste vibe for your Christmas presents this year at Wrappaporium “Wrap it Good” events.
SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER – DECORATE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Each year we whip on our aprons and whip up a Gingerbread House thanks to the kits at Gingerbread Folk. They made a gingerbread, chocolate and gluten-free versions and it’s delicious! The key to great gingerbread house styling – stick to two or three colours!
SUNDAY 23 DECEMBER – ADMIRE THE CHRISTMAS PROJECTIONS
See City of Melbourne’s annual Christmas Projections with new feature sites at the Federation Square and Docklands.
City of Melbourne Christmas Projections | Fri 30 Nov – Tue 25 Dec 9pm -10:20pm daily
MONDAY 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.
TUESDAY 25 DECEMBER – RELAX AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!