When I was a kid, our annual trip into Melbourne’s CBD at Christmas was my favourite time of the year. With decorations and beautiful trees everywhere you turn, the famous Myer’s windows, and enough sweet treats to feed everyone in the southern hemisphere, Melbourne at Christmas time is amazing AF.
We might trade a white Christmas for the scorching heat of a dry Aussie summer (or tropical-like storms, because it is Melbourne, after all), but don’t let the sunshine fool you! A Christmas down under can be just as fun, if not more fun than a snow-capped Christmas on the other side of the globe.
Although, we might be a little biased since we’re both Christmas babies – me being born on Christmas morning, and Jenna just two days earlier.
But can you really blame us for loving the festive season so much? I mean, it’s just so darn festive! So, if you happen to find yourself in Melbourne, or you’re a born and bred Melburnian like us Christmas loving nuts, then these are the must-see things you need to check off your to-do list this December.
Christmas Shopping Made Easy
Melbourne has some pretty sick shopping spots all year-round, but come December, retailers really do take things to the next level.
Our first stop was The Block Arcade, which can be accessed via Collins Street. The beautiful ‘Once Upon a Christmas’ display pictured above is the front window of Crabtree & Evelyn, a beautiful gift store that stocks all manner of delightful bath products, fragrances and super fancy Christmas gifts. Although, this humble gift store has nothing on what was easily our best find of the day – The Art of Dr Seuss. Yes, you read that right, there is a Dr Seuss art gallery in Melbourne, where everything is for sale!
I was completely in awe staring at the beautiful artwork from some of my favourite childhood books, and I must admit, I got a little sentimental when I looked up at the wall and spied my favourite quote: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go!”
Written as a tale of growing up, it also seems super relevant for travel junkies like us. But alas, as much as I drooled over the artwork, one small piece costs a much as a flight to the other side of the world, so I had to leave empty-handed.
After The Block Arcade, the most notable shop that needs to be visited is the Myer on Bourke Street. If you’re Australian, you’ll know that Myer is pretty much our biggest, most exclusive department store, so it’s not surprising that they do Christmas right!
Grab the lift to the top floor and you’ll find all manner of decorations, way too many gift ideas, and of course, the man of the hour, Santa himself! Although, be prepared to join a huge line because he is in hot demand.
Their display trees are also so beautiful you’ll just want to grab them by the stand and take them home exactly as they are! But don’t despair, because they sell everything you need to recreate their beauty at home.
After a busy day of shopping, make sure you take a minute to refuel, and there’s no place better to do that than the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, who welcome bookings for one of Melbourne’s best high teas or walk-ins for lunch. I mean come on, how could you possibly resist those delectable cakes?
You’ll even get to admire some of the cute and quirky Christmas decorations that line Melbourne’s streets as you race around the city chasing the best holiday sales.
Soldier men and rugged up trees in embarrassing family holiday jumpers are just some of the decorations you’ll come across. Okay, so jumpers for trees might seem like an odd choice for us Aussies, but we’re nothing if not creative. These cosy little kintted jumpers might not be practical, but they sure are cute! Who are we to question the festive powers that are clearly at work here?
A Real-Life Gingerbread Village
Food-gasm any one? I kid you not, the smell and sight of Melbourne’s very own gingerbread village will have you believing such a pleasurable concept is actually possible.
In a small room in the corner of Melbourne Town Hall is a carefully crafted gingerbread village that perfectly captures the essence of Melbourne. Entry is free, but gold coins are also welcome, with all funds helping out the Royal Children’s Hospital. The best part is that you can also grab a cheeky gingerbread man on the way out!
Crown Casino’s Spectacular Christmas Display
Talk about getting into the Christmas spirit. Head over to the Atrium at Crown Casino and you’ll be delighted by the sheer size and beauty of their decorations, and completely mesmerised by their light and music show that takes place every 30-minutes.
As cheerful music starts playing popular carols, the domes that line the grand staircase open one by one, revealing moving puppets. Each dome contains a hidden Christmas character and has its own Christmas tune to accompany its grand unveiling.
At the end, all of the domes open all at once, which is a real feast for the senses! But, don’t forget to turn around and see the enormous Christmas tree change colours and rotate on its stand.
And it’s completely free!
A Splash of Yuletide Joy at Federation Square
You can also get your fill of yuletide joy at Federation Square. We went in the daytime, but at night, the towering, modern Christmas tree becomes even more spectacular. Picture, a giant, brightly-lit tree that can be seen from every knook and crannie of Fed Square – it has to be seen to be believed.
There’s also a life-size nativity scene and a giant, light-up bauble that’s totally Insta-worthy.
Festive Joy at Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall is another one that comes alive at night with a spectacular light display, but during the day, you can spot the soldier men, giant wreaths, and blooming festive trees that have been carefully planted in front of the building.
The Iconic Myer’s Windows
Every year, the Myer on Bourke Street unveil a new and exciting display in their front windows. People come from across the state to view them, and the line usually takes up most of the busy shopping strip.
I must admit, I felt like this year’s windows were a bit of a let-down, but they’re still worth seeing. The magical displays always tell a heartwarming, imaginative story, and only the finest, most magical puppets, decorations and props are used.
Melbourne really does come alive in December, so much so it becomes a little dull in the New Year when all the decorations are put into storage for another year. But, luckily we still have a few more weeks left to enjoy the spirit of the holidays in the city.