Every year, Brisbane comes alive with festivities around Christmas time. The massive Christmas tree illuminates King George Square, gift shopping is in full swing at the various Christmas markets around the city, and Mariah Carey is heard often. For those looking for some inspiration to get into the festive spirit in Brisbane during the holiday period, we’ve curated a list of things to do (and checked it twice, of course).
1. Check off your gift list at a Christmas market
With Christmas fast approaching, our attention is turning towards gifts, good times and good food. And some of the best places to get these gifts, have a good time and get your hands on a huge array of good food is at one of Brisbane’s Christmas Markets.
There are more than a couple happening in the lead-up to the big day. You’ll be able to grab plenty of presents, festive trinkets and more amongst a range of locally-made goods. You might even hear some carols, see Santa himself, or find the perfect pressie for yourself.
The market closest to Christmas Day is the BrisStyle Twilight Christmas Market at King George Square on Friday, December 22.
2. Marvel at the neighbourhood Christmas light displays
Every year there are some neighbourly neighbours that go above and beyond with their Christmas lights, meticulously planning their displays days, weeks or even months in advance as the best designers do, and when the time strikes they get to work setting up and decorating.
We love it as much as we love this time of year, when we can marvel at all the bright lights flashing and twinkling in the night. But, to save you from searching for bright beacons of light in the distance, we’ve done a bit of digging to find some truly special setups that are well worth the visit.
3. Satisfy your sweet tooth with gingerbread and pavlova dessert baos
Harajuku Gyoza is getting into the holiday spirit with their new festive dessert baos, which come in three drool-worthy flavours: Rum Balls, Gingerbread and Pavlova. Yum!
Available at both their Brisbane City and South Bank stores.
4. Sip on a festive martini
To celebrate the silly season, South Brisbane bar Midtown is mixing up some Christmas-inspired martinis throughout December. There are three to choose from: the Christmas Orna-martini, made with vodka, cranberry, lime and bitters, as well as the Candy Cane Martini, which is whipped up with candy cane-infused vodka and creme de menthe. And last but certainly not least, we have a gingerbread espresso martini, for when you need a festive pick-me-up.
5. Attend a Christmas Candlelight Concert
Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Brisbane. Buy your tickets now to discover the music of Christmas Classics at St John’s under the gentle glow of candlelight on December 2 and 22.
6. Putt your way through this Christmas-themed mini golf course
Get into the festive spirit at Christmas Putt Putt, a themed mini golf course that’s popped up for the festive season. The course has undergone a merry makeover, decked out with tinsel, giant candy canes, Christmas trees, reindeer, lights and of course a massive Santa statue.
This is a perfect Christmas-themed activity for the whole family, which you can pair with lunch or dinner at the Victoria Park Bistro.
Open until January 3, 2023.
7. Tuck into a Christmas Day lunch at one of these iconic Brisbane venues
If you and the fam are looking for a restaurant in Brisbane to have lunch at this Christmas Day, there are plenty of options. Christmas lunch packages vary between venues, but here are some that we recommend for the occasion: The Inchcolm and The Lex for indulgent hotel meals, Riverland for dining on the river, Fosh for seafood Christmas boxes, and Royal Hotel Nundah for that traditional pub feel with a buffet.
8. Catch a festive flick at this outdoor cinema
The December program for Moonlight Cinema is now out, and unsurprisingly, there’s heaps of Christmas classics to get you in the holiday spirit.
Love Actually, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Die Hard, Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf will play during December.
Moonlight Cinema returns to Roma Street Parkland from November 23 to February 18.
9. Wander around Brisbane’s largest interactive lighting display
Returning for another year, The Enchanted Garden will be on display and open to visitors at Roma Street Parkland in the lead-up to Christmas, from November 23 until December 20.
The spectacular sensory experience will envelop the plants, trees and gardens in a kaleidoscope of colours and light for an incredible trip.
10. See King George Square light up at night with a 22-metre Christmas tree and projections on City Hall
From December 1 until January 8, Brisbane’s famous 22-metre Christmas tree will make a return. The tree is one of the largest Christmas trees in the Southern Hemisphere, so be sure to catch it in all its glory.
If the display is anything like previous years, City Hall will also become illuminated with lights and projections.
This is perfect for something free to do at Christmas in Brisbane.
11. Enjoy carols and entertainment in South Bank
South Bank is set to come alive with festive cheer this Christmas. There’s plenty of events and activities to look forward to, from the return of the South Bank Christmas Show to carols by the river, a pop-up cinema at River Quay Green and more.
12. Make your own gingerbread house at these boozy Christmas events
W Brisbane is bringing back their Festive High Tea in the lovely Living Room Bar. Every Thursday to Sunday from November 24 – December 31, you’ll be able to tuck into some delectable Christmas-inspired bites such as raspberry eggnog mousse cake and lamb croquettes alongside a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.
The legends at WillowWood Studio on the other hand, are running build-your-own gothic gingerbread cathedral workshops, complete with edible stained glass windows. The sessions are also BYO booze, so gather the gang for a unique and fun Christmas event in Brisbane.
13. Find Christmas-themed tiny doors in the city
In case you missed it, Brisbane is full of whimsical tiny doors that have been built in unassuming places around town.
In the city this year, there will be six Christmas-themed tiny doors to find from December 1, with locations in King George Square, Queen Street Mall, Burnett Lane, Edward Street and Elizabeth Arcade.
14. See a Christmas-themed show
Whether it be a cheeky cabaret performance or a comedy show, there are plenty of laughs and entertainment to be enjoyed over the Christmas season in Brisbane. Iconic Aussie comedians Rhys Nicholson and Joel Creasey will hit the stage for their ‘Family Christmas’ show at the Powerhouse on December 2, followed by Merry Mixology: A Boozy Christmas Cabaret from December 10 to 22, as well as A Very Naughty Christmas, the cheeky festive musical.
15. Get cosy at home with a Christmas movie on Netflix
It’s that time of the year again where our viewing pleasures turn red and green as the twenty-fifth fast approaches. And although there are plenty of festive things happening around the city, sometimes it’s nice to just get comfy at home and watch a Christmas-themed movie or series.
16. Try new Aussie coffee roasters in the lead up to Christmas with this advent calendar
Christmas is a busy time of the year too, but you can make it a fun time, starting with your morning brew. Elevate the days of December with a coffee advent calendar from ‘Feind Coffee.More info here