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TOT: HOT OR NOT Melbourne Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

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


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 cupcake deliveries in Melbourne (including Christmas cupcakes!)


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 12 Nov – Sat 25 Dec, 8am – 11pm

Christmas Square Federation px

4 December – Watch a movie at the Christmas Cinema

Pick a spot for a balmy evening movie and picnic with provisions from Lygon Street’s famous delis, restaurants and gelateria at Argyle Square which has been beautifully decorated for the Christmas Season.

Bean bags and deck chairs will be available but you can also bring your own picnic gear to enjoy the movie at your preferred spot the best spot. The film screening starts at 8:30 pm.

Related: Best Christmas activities for kids

Christmas Cinema, Argyle Square Carlton

Sat 4 Dec, Sat 11 Dec, & Sat 18 Dec, 7:30pm – 11pm

Christmas Cinema

5 December – Watch the 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 5 Dec

Handels Messiah

6 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

7 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 a special live performance by the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a virtual wand workshop and a free screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Related: Best Harry Potter Experiences in Melbourne

Christmas in the Wizarding World at Federation Square

Tue 7 Dec 5pm- late

Harry Potter Wizarding Room Airbnb Melbourne 50

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

Sat 12 Nov – Thu 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 the Crown Christmas Display

If you're looking for some pure holiday joy, visit The Atrium of  Crown Towers and feel the festivity as it transforms into a magical wonderland.

The six-story high Christmas tree will return to greet you, accompanied by cheeky encased Christmas characters that are sure to please. Visit the Crown Christmas Display to view the spectacular decorations, lighting, and animatronics!

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

Christmas at Crown, Whiteman St, Southbank
Mon 29 Nov 2021 – Mon 3 Jan 2022

11 December – Shop at Arts Centre Melbourne Weekend Markets

Arts Centre Melbourne is hosting a Weekend Christmas market from Sat 13 Nov – Sun 19 Dec! Explore the stalls stocking handcrafted gifts including locally made candles, soaps, wooden items and more.

Winding along St Kilda Road, the Arts Centre Melbourne Weekend Markets are a showcase of genuine talent and the perfect option for those looking for a one-of-a-kind gift this festive season.

Arts Centre Melbourne Weekend Markets, Between Hamer Hall and the Theatres Building

Sat 5 Dec 12pm to 5pm

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 one of four amazing prize packs like family passes to Imaginaria, O’Brien Icehouse, ArtVo, Chipmunks Playland and more as you make your way through this giant present-themed maze!

Docklands Christmas Maze, Docklands

Sat 27 Nov – Fri 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.

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

Thu 16 Dec – Fri 24 Dec

ckturistando xxocVqCAI unsplash px

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 – Bake Santa's Christmas Cookies

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

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 2021 sets

18 December – Go on a Magical Christmas Quest

Join in the Christmas Quest and rediscover the city! Each Friday in December, five new clues will send you on a jolly quest as you navigate through Melbourne’s laneways, arcades and CBD streets to find the answers.

Magical Christmas Quest, Melbourne

Sat 18 Dec

Christmas Quest

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 home-made treat.

 INSTRUCTIONS for Christmas Cookies in a Jar HERE.

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 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.

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

21 December – Visit the Myer Christmas Windows 

Enjoy the annual Myer Christmas Windows for the 66th year while meeting the mischievous Peter Rabbit and his adorable woodland friends.

The delightful brand new set based on the classic tale written by Beatrix Potter and narrated by Australian actor Magda Szubanski.

Myer Christmas Windows  Myer Melbourne Bourke Street

Sun 14 Nov – Fri 24 Dec, 7:30am – 10:30pm

Myer Christmas px kb

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 that we purchase as a fundraiser from Hobsons Bay Toy Library.

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!

Gingerbread Folk Gingerbread House

23 December – Admire the Christmas Projections

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

Melbourne’s famous Christmas projections return. Stroll Swanston Street and see animations at Melbourne Town Hall, or head over to Hamer Hall to see their gorgeous static displays light up the iconic riverside facade, and finally don't forget to check out the mesmerising display at Chapter House Lane.

City of Melbourne Christmas Projections, Melbourne Town Hall, Hamer Hall, Chapter House Lane

Mon 15 Nov – Sat 25 Dec, 9pm -11pm daily


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

As a family of book lovers we have adopted the Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood”. We 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

Find Accommodation in Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday 25 December – RELAX AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Best Advent Calendars for Kids and Adults

Best Places for Santa Photos in Melbourne

Best Christmas Lights Melbourne

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This post contains affiliate links. If you book using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits 1000 X 667

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.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. […] 2) Tot Hot or Not – So just last week Joyce posted a Christmas Activity Advent Calendar which has so many fun things to do it’s like she read my mind! Now I don’t have to come up with my own list because Joyce has  covered it beautifully and created a printable for you to keep and follow along as December rolls by. Lots of great ideas to see many amazing things that Melbourne has to offer during this time of the year. […]

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