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Christmas in the City: how to get merry this festive season

Amanda Whitley

With less than a week until Christmas, the city centre is brimming with festive cheer…just check out what’s happening!

Turn all the lights on!

If you haven’t yet made it to SIDS & Kids ACT Christmas Lights in the City in Petrie Plaza, you’ve only got until until New Year’s Eve to see this Christmas Wonderland. Canberra dad David Richards has officially broken the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the world’s largest LED light image display with over 1,194,000 individual sparklers! The lights are on display from midday until late – see the full schedule of opening times here.

You can also give a little extra SIDS and Kids ACT by taking advantage of Canberra Centre’s Gift Wrapping service (your gold coin donation will go directly to the organisation). Find it – and some Mount Majura Vineyard wines – outside Witchery on Level 1. Porters are available in the Centre offering a complimentary service helping customers carry their shopping bags to their cars and will also be handing out chocolate treats and gifts for the children. Visit the Canberra Centre website for further details.

Christmas Ice Sculpting

Watch live ice sculpting by the world renown Kenji Ogawa from 12pm to 2pm this Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December at the Canberra Centre Food Court near City Walk, as he brings two iconic Christmas symbols to life!

Kenji is a Japanese born and trained, mad ice sculptor who has been competing and exhibiting since 1986 in countries such as: Japan, China, Alaska, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Italy, France and Finland. He has also competed in the Lillehammer, Nagano and Torino Winter Olympics and is still competing today. These days Kenji is mainly involved in product launches and promotions of worldwide companies such as: Heinekin, Subaru, Mount Franklin water and Tia Luso. Kenji has also been involved in film promotions such as: Kill Bill 1, Ice Age, Happy Feet and Die Another Day.

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Catch Christmas Ice Sculpting this weekend at the City Walk Food Court.

A very musical Christmas

Get into the Christmas spirit with Canberra Centre’s roaming carollers O Christmas Trio, performing in-centre they will be sure to add that extra cheer to your Christmas shopping experience. Catch them between 4-7pm on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 December, and 12-3pm on Wednesday 24 December.

If barbershop harmonies are more your thing, you can catch the Canberra Chordsmen, singing a variety of a cappella songs and Christmas carols. They’ll be performing between 6-7pm tonight Friday 19 December (Food court near City Walk) and between 11-12pm on Sunday 21 December (outside Jo Mercer on Level 1).

Canberra Centre’s resident Pianist Mike Dooley will also be playing easy listening classics and songs for the season outside Jigsaw on Level 1. Enjoy some tinkling ivories until 8pm tonight, between10am-5pm Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December; 10am-8pm on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 December; and 10am-5:30pm on Wednesday 24 December.

Flip Out in the City!

Looking for a flipping good time this Christmas Season? You’ll find it in Civic Square as the Flip Out craze moves in; Canberra’s largest trampoline playground putting a little bounce into the city centre.

Flip Out will be flippin' great fun this Christmas!

Flip Out will be flippin’ great fun this Christmas!

But it’s not just for kids.  Imagine bouncing away in the magical glow of Christmas lights whilst listening to music after dark! Sessions run between 9am and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9am to 9pm on other days…but lay off the Christmas cheer before hopping on, yeah? Things could get a bit messy.

The fun costs $10 for 20 minutes of springy fun -buy tickets by calling 6260 1991  or onsite from the ticket office at Civic Square.

Ride ’em…er..Camel

Channel your inner wise man and grab yourself a camel for an adventurous journey through the City. Starting from Ainslie Place near the fountain on City Walk, the camels will be walking to Akuna Street and back, from 1pm to 8pm until Sunday 21 December.

The ride is free and the seating (from all reports) very comfortable, suitable for anyone in their good gear.

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The best seat in town…

To market, to market

Everybody loves a good market – especially at Christmas. To complement the great shopping already on offer in the city, there’ll be charities and businesses in Garema Place and City Walk selling cakes and puddings, fairy floss and gift vouchers, home-made delights and handmade treasures.

The daytime markets will give way to night time food and fun, supporting the anticipated crowds of almost 200 000 visiting the  incredible Christmas lights. Trading runs through to Christmas Eve.

On Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, you can also enjoy Gorman House Markets. Choose unique gifts from the fabulous range of wares on offer from Australian and International arts and handicrafts through to fashions, novelties, collectables and produce. Multicultural food and coffee will also be available.

More Festive Fun than you can poke a candy cane at…

What else? Little ones can play on the Kids cubby, acquired by Canberra CBD Limited at Floriade. Now you could win it by answering Santa’s Quiz!

In the Music Hub you’ll find entertainers, keyboards, a piano and drums to liven up the heart of town, and there are roving entertainers and carollers roaming the streets, bringing smiles to even the most stressed shopper’s face.

the essentials

What: Christmas in the City
When: Until Boxing Day. Friday 26 December.
Where: Various locations around the city centre
Web:  www.inthecitycanberra.com.au

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author