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Boxing Day survival guide

Beatrice Smith

Hello troops and welcome to the hallowed ground that is the Canberra Boxing Day Sales.

I want to thank each and every one of you for coming today.

There is no denying that this challenge is one that sometimes defeats weaker humans, that forces them back inside their air conditioned dwellings to browse online instead, but we know that the best bargains are the ones you grab with your bare hands!

…Ok, I’ll stop.

It may not be an actual battleground, but heading into the Boxing Day sales does require a game plan and a lot of forethought.

‘But it’s Christmas!’ I hear you say. We know. You have a million tiny yet integral things to worry about (presents for the cousins, dietary requirements for the lunch, did you buy enough Christmas crackers, what is that weird stain on the tablecloth) so we’ve done all the leg work for you!

Here’s your game plan for Saturday 26 December in Canberra.


Don’t be that family who decides to ‘take a look at the sales’ at 11am on Boxing Day, isn’t out of the house until 1pm and are so fed up with the crowds by 3pm that they give up and renounce the sales for the next four Boxing Days, telling any person who will listen that they’re kidding themselves to go.

With the right planning you can make the sales work to your advantage and avoid fatigue, impulse buys and bad choices*.


Make sure you have your team on board. Whether it’s your mum who can spot faux leather from the real thing at 100 paces, your besties who can carry ten bags on each arm or your child whose walking speed settings are ‘fast’ and ‘Usain Bolt’, make sure they’re briefed on exactly when and where you’re meeting and your plan of attack.

Start the day with a breakfast that is wholesome, delicious and useful using one of our Christmas leftover recipes.

After you’ve fuelled up, make sure to dress appropriately. Loose clothes like maxi dresses, pants with drawstrings and shorts are best as they can be whipped on and off easily.

Pro tip: Wear nude coloured underwear and pack a strapless bra if you’re going after any formal or summer dresses 

Sandals and thongs are the easiest to slip on and off in the hectic rush of the shoe section but be aware that you could be walking for quite a while, so sometimes there’s a trade off between ‘Difficulty’ and ‘Comfort’ in the shoe choice, with trainers winning out.

Pro tip: If you know you’ll be shopping for shoes pack your own set of stocking socks so you don’t have to hunt down a harried sales attendant for the disposable ones. If you know you’re in the market for trainers, pack the socks you usually work out in to avoid any disappointments (and blisters) once you get them home. 

Your bag should be able to be comfortably hung from one shoulder or with the strap across your chest or on your back. If possible, you might also want to put some foldable bags without your bag to pop stuff in later.

Compile a list of items you know you’d buy if they were decently marked down or that you missed out on this Christmas.

Electricals, clothing, make up, 2016 diaries and, of course, gift packs and Christmas themed items will have some of the heaviest mark downs so think ahead. 

Even if you hate ‘the sales’ with a burning passion, considering swinging by Myer or David Jones for an hour to take advantage of the amazing markdowns on luxury Christmas items like Wedgwood, Georg Jensen and Prince Albert or even just a new string of Christmas lights.

More Christmas is the last thing you want to see on Boxing Day, but stopping to take notice can sometimes land you some pretty sweet bargains when it comes to pricy Christmas items.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, charge your phone. If possible, take a portable power unit with you in your bag in case your phone runs out easy. There’s nothing worse than losing contact with friends or family, or worse children, when you’re out at ‘the sales’.

Your phone is also a great way to price check against other store’s sales while you wait in line to make sure you’re getting the best deal.


We’ve rounded up the opening times of the major shopping centres for you.

Canberra Centre 

Saturday 26 Dec 8.00am – 7.00pm
Sunday 27 Dec 10.00am – 4.00pm

Tuggeranong Hyperdome 

Saturday – 26th DecBoxing Day 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday – 27th Dec 10:00am – 4:00pm

Westfield Belconnen 

Saturday 26 Dec
Sunday 27 Dec

Westfield Woden 

Saturday 26 Dec
Sunday 27 Dec

As for smaller boutique locations like Lonsdale Street, Manuka or Kingston, make sure you check their websites thoroughly beforehand.


There’s nothing worse than spending an hour at the first sale you hit only to miss all the items you’ve planned to see marked down later in the day.

I realise that Christmas Day is the ultimate day of family and community, but sometimes the best way to nail Boxing Day with both your sanity and friendships intact is to divide and conquer, hitting some sales together but some alone.

Plan to re-meet for coffee or morning tea to share details of sales and gather your thoughts instead of spending the whole day by each other’s sides.


We’ve compiled a list of cafes, restaurants and bars and their Christmas opening hours. Click here to plan your rest stop.

Shopping mall coffee and food courts can provide some respite but at some point during or after the shop you’ll need a quiet meal or coffee to reward yourself for the bargains you got.

So take care, stay safe and have a wonderful Boxing Day 2015. May the sales be with you.

*Look, none of these are guaranteed.

Image of ‘shopping cart’ via Shutterstock


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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