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.
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.
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?
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
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
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.
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.
A Christmas Carol, Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition St, Melbourne
Sun 12 Nov – Sun 31 Dec 2023, $75
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
Wed 14 Dec – Fri 23 Dec
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.
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.
Fri 16 Dec 5pm- late
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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