Melbourne gets into the Christmas spirit

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has launched a month-long Melbourne Christmas Festival.

The fun starts tonight, November 25, with the lighting of the Melbourne Christmas tree in City Square, appropriately renamed Christmas Square for the next month. Families are invited to come down and check out the fun.

Throughout December, the streets of central Melbourne will be decked out with decorations and free events will be hosted to help families join in the festive spirit.

The Lord Mayor hoped Melburnians would take their kids to enjoy the experience. “We expect visitors to flock to Melbourne from today right through to Christmas Day as crowds of people explore everything the city has to offer at this exciting time of year,” Mr Doyle said.

The decorations and events had involved 35 contractors and required nearly 226 hours of work to install. “It costs us about $3.8 million dollars to do the decorations. There are something like 2000 kilos of decorations in Swanston Street alone.”

Christmas Square

Visitors can come down to the renamed City Square on Swanston Street to get a photo with Santa or one of his elves. Throughout December carollers will perform and children’s activities will be held in the square to spread happiness. The Christmas tree will later be planted in one of the city gardens.

Gingerbread Village 

Melburnians can visit the town hall to view a Gingerbread Village that showcases iconic Melbourne features such as the MCG and Flinders Street Station. Anyone overcome by hunger and tempted to descrate the display can buy gingerbread cookies. Gold coin donations from the event will be donated to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Myer Christmas Windows 

The Myer Christmas Window display, now in its 61st year, has transformed the Bourke Street Mall facade into a Christmas wonderland. The windows are based on a Melbourne Children’s story – One Christmas Eve. People can watch puppets play out the story with Channel 9’s Jo Hall narrating.

Santa’s Mailbox 

Children who want to send their wishlists to Santa before he sets out on his long night can wander around the city and deposit them into special Santa mailboxes. Santa has promised to reply to all children before Christmas Eve. – Megan Simmonds

Photo supplied by the City of Melbourne.

For what’s on in Sydney see “It’s beginning to look like Christmas in Sydney”.