Day 28: Feel-good festive events

Dig out the reindeer earrings and don your Christmas clogs, it’s time to get festive! With so much happening in the city during the lead-up to Christmas, even the grumpiest grinches will be humming carols by the time Santa’s sleigh pulls into town.

Here’s our go-to list for feel-good Yuletide fun to get you into the spirit of giving.

Launch of the Christmas Festival
Seasonal celebrations kick off in style at the official launch of the Christmas Festival at 7.30pm Friday 28 November. Come and see City Square’s amazing transformation into Christmas Square, watch the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, enjoy a concert and welcome Santa to Melbourne.

Large wooden soldier standing on city street

Christmas Square transforms into a festive forest and home to Santa until Christmas Eve

A Swingin Bella Christmas
Let the Bella All-Stars take you on a musical caper through traditional carols, new favourites and original festive numbers. Catch the show on 18 and 19 December, at Bella Union in Carlton.

Gingerbread Village
Don’t tell Hansel and Gretel, but the much-loved Gingerbread Village is back! On display at Melbourne Town Hall from 1 December, this magical food feat took 2,000 hours to create, and includes some tasty recreations of Melbourne’s favourite landmarks. Free entry with spicy aromas for all. Gold coin donations are welcome, with funds going to the Make-a-Wish foundation.

Model of Melbourne Town Hall made from gingerbread

Melbourne icons recreated in gingerbread

Spirit of the Square
Spirit of the Square is a free program of events every day at Fed Square from 1 December right through to Christmas Day. Enjoy live entertainment, Christmas flicks, ‘crafternoons’, big screen gaming and a taste of the North Pole with the ‘Whiteout’ installation.

Organ & … Symphonic Band
Experience the mighty musical power of the Australian Air Force Band in a free Christmas concert performed alongside the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ. Held 16 December from 1 to 3pm, no bookings are required so head down early to grab a good possie.

Band performing in front of town hall organ

Don’t miss an unforgettable free Christmas concert performed by the Air Force Band

QVM Giving Tree
Drop into the Queen Victoria Market every market day during December and leave a present for a family in need under the Giving Tree. A great way to give something back this Christmas.

Santa in Christmas Square
If you need to deliver your Xmas wishes to our favourite red-suited gent in person, bring the family down to Christmas Square for some one-on-one time with Santa. He’ll be meeting and greeting littlies right through to Christmas eve, so pop down and put in your orders.

Santa on throne with elf standing beside him

Visit Santa at Christmas Square every day until Christmas Eve

Christmas at the Johnston Collection
Each year Christmas at The Johnston Collection exhibits the works of country-based artists and makers for the public to enjoy. This year’s exhibit shines a well-deserved spotlight on talented people from the Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast region.

Interior of ornate room with Christmas tree and decorations

The Johnston Collection – Image credit: Adam Luttick, Luts Photography

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight
Get everyone singing their favourite yuletide tunes at the main event at Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve or watch it free from Federation Square. There’ll be live entertainment and kid’s activities from 5pm (we’ve heard rumours of a ‘Frozen’ karaoke tent), and the concert screens from 8pm.

What’s your favourite Christmas event in the city?