TOT: HOT OR NOT Melbourne Christmas Activity Advent Calendar (2023)

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!

If you’re looking for an advent calendar with little windows and treats inside, check out the Best Advent Calendars for Kids and Adults.

Christmasland Sugar Republic Fitzroy

When is Christmas in 2023?

Christmas is on Monday 25 December 2023.

Things to do in Melbourne at Christmas

1. December – Put Up the Christmas Tree

Readers tell me their favourite Christmas tradition is to put up the Christmas tree.

Here are the best places in Melbourne to buy a real Christmas tree!

You can make an occasion of it and go in person to somewhere like the Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm or have your Christmas tree delivered to your home.

Your local Scout group will also be fundraising by selling Christmas trees so you can help a good cause.

Christmas Tree Farm Plumpton px

2. December – Try the best mince pies in Melbourne

I loooove mince pies but I make myself wait until December to have the first bite for the season. I say one a day is just about right! 

Good Food has a roundup of the best mince pies in Melbourne (this is from 2020 but many bakeries will still offer mince pies).

Who do you think makes the best mince pies in Melbourne?

Related: Best Christmas cupcakes & Christmas donuts in Melbourne

cobb lane mince pies


3. December – Visit Christmas Square

City of Melbourne’s Christmas celebrations are centred around Federation Square aka Christmas Square.

See the 16m giant Christmas tree, Santa’s Workshop and enough sparkling lights to compete with the stars themselves.

Related: Free Christmas events in Melbourne

Christmas Square, Federation Square, Melbourne

Fri 25 Nov – Sun 24 Dec

Christmas Square Federation px

4. December – Listen to Handel’s Messiah

Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra will present Handel’s iconic Messiah for the world record 242nd time since 1853 at the Melbourne Town Hall!

With over 100 musicians from the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra and a magnificent cast of outstanding soloists, this concert promises to thrill as ever.

Related: Best Christmas events in Melbourne

Handel’s Messiah, Melbourne Town Hall

Sun 3 Dec

Handels Messiah

5. December – Visit a Christmas Shop

Melbourne is full of festive cheer, especially at dedicated Christmas stores in Melbourne where you can find all you need for your Christmas needs.

Best Christmas Shops Melbourne

Christmas Shop Knox

6. December – See A Christmas Carol

Don’t miss the smash-hit Old Vic production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring David Wenham, at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre this holiday season.

Conceived and directed by Matthew Warchus (Matilda the Musical) and adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), this brand-new take on a timeless classic is a special Christmas theatrical treat for the whole family.

The performances are wonderful, the singing is stunning and the message – love and kindness for all – is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Recommended for 8+ years.

Related: Best Christmas activities in Melbourne CBD

A Christmas Carol, Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition St, Melbourne

Sun 12 Nov – Sun 31 Dec 2023, $75

A Christmas Carol

7. December – Call Santa and bake Santa’s Christmas Cookies

Telstra has officially switched on their direct line to the North Pole, connecting kids to Santa until December 24.

Children can dial # HO HO HO (#464646) for free from any of Telstra’s 14,500 payphones around Australia and enjoy the magical experience of speaking directly with the jolly man in red.


The kids will love asking about him the weather in the North Pole, or what the reindeer like to snack on before their big Christmas Eve adventure – and of course have the opportunity to submit their wish list!

Afterwards, get your aprons on and whip up a batch of delicious Santa cookies. Decorate these vanilla cookies with ‘Festive Fairy Dust’ as gifts, for your Christmas Eve Santa plate, or your festive table. RECIPE HERE.

Festive Christmas Cookies in a Jar

8. December – Book Your Santa Photos

Every shopping centre will have Santa photos available during the festive season, but only Myer Santaland has a virtual train experience!

Check out other locations with the best Santa Photos in Melbourne.

Myer Santaland, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne

Sun 12 Nov – Sat 24 Dec

Myer Christmas px

9. December – Make a donation

Donate money, clothing, canned food or toys to those less fortunate this Christmas. This year we’ve chosen to donate to Monty Christmas Charity Myer Bears to the Myer gift appeal.

Check if charities are collecting material goods – for instance, every year West Welcome Wagon run a toy drive.

Melbourne City Mission is accepting gift vouchers for children and families in need this festive season as well as accepting donations for their Christmas Appeal. 

Help The Smith Family by donating or purchasing a charity Christmas gift online.

The Salvos are asking us to give back this Christmas by donating to their Christmas Appeal or making someone’s Christmas Wishes come true.

And for that relative who has everything, why not make a gift on their behalf to donate a goat, provide childhood immunisation or send a girl to school via World Vision!

Myer Christmas Giving Tree

10. December – Enjoy Christmas decorations in the city

If you’re looking for some pure holiday joy, visit the streets, arcades and laneways of the city as it transforms into a magical wonderland.

Look out for the Christmas trees dotted all around the city, spectacular decorations and even augmented reality photo opportunities.

Related: Where to see Christmas lights and decorations in Melbourne CBD

Christmas Pop up Playground

11. December – Shop at a Christmas Market

Melbourne is hosting a myriad of Christmas markets and fairs in December. Explore stalls stocking handcrafted and locally made items, the perfect option for those looking for a one-of-a-kind gift this festive season.

Melbourne’s best Christmas markets and fairs

Arts Centre Melbourne Weekend Markets

12. December – Find Santa’s missing elves in the Docklands Christmas Maze

Santa’s lost his elves and needs your help to find them!

Get a chance to win prize packs as you make your way through this giant present-themed maze!

Docklands Christmas Maze, Docklands

Wed 29 Nov – Sun 24 Dec

Christmas Maze

13. December – Admire Some Christmas Lights

Christmas Light Search has compiled a list of the best Christmas Lights Melbourne-wide.

Also, talk to your neighbours and find out which local 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.

Coburg Christmas Lights Melbourne

14. December – Enjoy the Thrills at the Christmas Carnival

Ride the ferris wheel, drive the dodgems or get the best view of the city lights as you spin 35 meters in the air on top of the Sky Flyer, try your luck at much-loved carnival games and complete the experience with classic carnival food at the Christmas Carnival on the banks of the Yarra!

Entry is free but tickets for each ride can be purchased at the ticket box on site

Christmas Carnival, Birrarung Marr

Wed 14 Dec – Fri 23 Dec

dbf e bb ebaacdf

15. 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.

City of Melbourne’s Christmas festival also offers free and paid Christmas decorations workshops for crafty folks.

Laneway Learning Kindness Kristmas Fest

16. December – Christmas in the Wizarding World

Harry Potter fans, grab your wands and dress up in your favourite Wizarding World inspired costumes – this event is one not to be missed! 

Celebrate Christmas in the Wizarding World at Federation Square with giveaways, a virtual wand workshop and a free screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Related: Best Harry Potter Experiences in Melbourne

Christmas in the Wizarding World at Federation Square

Fri 16 Dec 5pm- late

Harry Potter Wizarding Room Airbnb Melbourne 50

17. December – Build some Christmas Lego

Over the years we have been collecting LEGO Christmas sets and once a year they get pulled out and rebuilt, forming part of our home’s Christmas decorations.

You can purchase these coveted sets from retail outlets, including LEGO Store Doncaster and LEGO Store Highpoint.

Shop LEGO Christmas 2023 sets

christmas lego

18. December – Write a Gratitude List

As the holiday of giving approaches, 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.

For kids, I recommend using the Big Life Journal Daily Edition for developing a daily gratitude habit. As an adult, I use the 5 Minute Journal (which really does take 5 minutes or less).

Big Life Journal Daily Edition For Kids

19. December –  Make 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 homemade treat.

 INSTRUCTIONS for Christmas Cookies in a Jar HERE.

Santa's Christmas Cookies with Festive Fairy Dust

20. 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 year’s 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.

Here are some ideas for how to wrap presents zero waste.  

21. December – Visit the Myer Christmas Windows 

Enchanting families for almost 70 magical years, the Myer Christmas Windows are a Melbourne Christmas tradition and the big reveal is complete for a truly Aussie Christmas in 2023.

This year Bluey and her family have arrived at the famous Bourke Street Mall flagship store – for real life!

Take a tour through original and recreated scenes from the Heeler family holidays, and experience Bluey’s Christmas day with everyone’s favourite characters. Comprising over 500 handmade pieces, kids young and old will be in awe passing through each of the six windows.

Myer Christmas Windows  Myer Melbourne Bourke Street

Sunday 12 November – Saturday 6 Jan 2024

Myer Christmas Windows px

22. December – Decorate a Gingerbread House

Each year we whip on our aprons and whip up a Gingerbread House using a Gingerbread House DIY Kit. It’s delicious and decorative fun!

The key to great gingerbread house styling – stick to two or three colours!

Best Gingerbread House Kits in Melbourne

Gingerbread Folk Gingerbread House

23. December – Admire the Christmas Projections

See City of Melbourne’s annual Christmas Projections at two locations in the city.

Stroll Swanston Street and see animations at Melbourne Town Hall, or head over to see stunning projections take over buildings on Flinders Street, opposite Fed Square.

City of Melbourne Christmas Projections, Melbourne Town Hall, Flinders Street

Fri 24 Nov – Mon 25 Dec, 9pm -11pm daily


24. December – Buy a Christmas Book to gift to someone else

As a family of book lovers we love the idea of the Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood”. It’s when you give and unwrap new books on Christmas Eve, eat chocolate and cosy up with family, reading into the night.

When choosing the perfect book for Jolabokaflod support a local independent Melbourne bookshop as well the best children’s bookshops in Melbourne.

You could gift a book subscription, a kids book subscription or a kids magazine for a literary gift that keeps on giving!

Related: Best secondhand bookshops in Melbourne

Readings Kids Bookshop Carlton

25. December – Gather around a Christmas feast

Make Christmas lunch easy with a beautiful Christmas grazing platter created by one of Melbourne’s best grazing box companies.

Best Christmas Grazing Platters in Melbourne

Implattered Christmas Grazing Box

Best Advent Calendars for Kids and Adults

Best Places for Santa Photos in Melbourne

Best Christmas Lights Melbourne

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

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

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