Things to do with your family at Christmas

Christmas is a time for families to come together and share in the joy of the festive season. But, with all those age groups in the mix, it can sometimes be a little tricky to keep everyone happy. Luckily, Melbourne offers a raft of sights, sounds and celebrations to delight all.

Make a date for the free outdoor Christmas cinema 

Every Saturday night during the Christmas Festival, Argyle Square will transform into the outdoor Carlton Christmas Cinema. Take your pick from family classics like The Grinch and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Or, find your spot with the older family members to enjoy The Holiday, a star-studded romantic comedy. 

Marvel at the 16 metre high Christmas Tree

Marvel at the huge 16-metre Christmas Tree which comprises 192 individually-programmed LED branches, topped by a twinkling star. Don’t miss the magical first lighting of the Tree at the Christmas Festival Launch Party on Friday 29 November. Then, make sure you pop back to Christmas Square during the Christmas Festival to watch the tree come to life from 9pm each night. With a sound and light show that changes every week, there’s always something new to discover. 

A group of people looking at twinkling Christmas tree and giant bauble made from Christmas lights

Christmas Square

Take a Mini Melb virtual reality tour

This year, Christmas goes virtual! Experience the magic of VR as you wear a headset and navigate through the Melbourne’s biggest Christmas events and activities at the Melbourne Town Hall Visitor Hub. 

Visit Santa’s House

Visit Santa’s House in  Christmas Square to catch a glimpse of Santa and his merry helpers. Here, little ones can take part in free daily activities, and have the chance to whisper their Christmas wishes to the man himself. 

Santa’s House

Gingerbread Village at St Collins lane

A delicious and fun-filled activity for the whole family. Follow the heavenly scent to discover Melbourne’s iconic cityscape, recreated in gingerbread by the team at Epicure.  See if you can catch the gingerbread bakers getting up to mischief, and spot your favourite landmarks. The Gingerbread Village offers plenty of treats and activities for the kids, as well as delicious baked goods that make fantastic gifts. And even better, it’s open from 9am until 8.15pm daily.

Be dazzled by the Christmas Projections

There’s never been a better excuse to take the family for an evening stroll through the city. Start with the feature show at State Library Victoria, a very Melbourne Night Before Christmas, written by Marieke Hardy and narrated by Lee Lin Chin. Then, wander on to discover epic static Christmas Projections on the Melbourne Town Hall and, for the first time, Princes Bridge.

An old building at night lit up with colourful Christmas projections

Christmas projections at the Melbourne Town Hall

Santa’s Mailbox and Giving Box

Help the kids write their Christmas wish list, and drop the letter into Santa’s Mailbox at the Australia Post GPO on Elizabeth Street, or the letterbox outside The District Docklands. Every letter will get a personalised reply, as long as you remember to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Better yet, share the giving spirit with someone who might otherwise miss out –  you can drop your gift donations at the Giving Box at Australia Post GPO. 

Errol Street Christmas Party

Head to North Melbourne as Christmas fun takes to the streets for the Errol Street Christmas Party on Thursday 12 December. Little ones can meet Santa, join in the Elf hunt, and maybe win a special prize. Meanwhile, Mum and Dad will enjoy late-night shopping and retail offerings, while everyone is entertained by Xmas Angels and street performers. 

Visit the Myer Christmas Windows

Now in its 64th year, the Myer Christmas Window is one of Melbourne’s most eagerly anticipated Christmas traditions. This year’s beautiful display celebrates The Gum Nut Babies, from beloved Australian author and illustrator, May Gibbs. Join the queue to make your way past each window and see some of Australia’s favourite bush fairies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Watch the Snowman with a live orchestra

Head to the Melbourne Recital Centre and enjoy a Christmas tradition delighting families the world over. Watch as the beautiful animated film, The Snowman, is projected onto the big screen and accompanied by live orchestration. Featuring glorious music composed by Howard Blake, The Snowman promises a magical event for young and old.

A cartoon of a boy with a snowman

The Snowman

Sing under the stars at Carols by Candlelight

Musical theatre stars Marina Prior and David Campbell lead the way in this year’s Carols by Candlelight. Partake in this glowing ritual in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as thousands join their voices to sing with joy and hope. All funds from this heartwarming event go to support Vision Australia.

Treat yourself to Christmas Melodies 

Join Michael Cormick, Johanna Allen, the National Boys Choir, and the Salvation Army’s Melbourne Staff Band at the ever-popular Christmas Melodies at the Arts Centre. With a big band, choir and special guest vocalists, this is Christmas entertainment the whole family will love.

Read more about the Christmas Festival.