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.
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?
Related: Best cupcake deliveries in Melbourne (including Christmas cupcakes!)
3 December – Visit 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
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
Sat 4 Dec, Sat 11 Dec, & Sat 18 Dec, 7:30pm – 11pm
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
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.
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.
Tue 7 Dec 5pm- late
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
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.
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 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!
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
12 December – Find Santa's missing elves in the Docklands Christmas Maze
Santa’s lost his elves and needs your help to find them!
Docklands Christmas Maze, Docklands
Sat 27 Nov – Fri 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
Thu 16 Dec – Fri 24 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 – 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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
Find Accommodation in Melbourne, Australia
Wednesday 25 December – RELAX AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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