MEJ Masthead

Your weekend Christmas shopping game plan

Beatrice Smith and Elsie Adamo

Christmas shopping can spook even the most experienced shopper.

The thought of bracing yourself for hours of gift shopping is fatigue inducing before you even begin, so we’ve coordinated a list to suit every type of shopper.

If you’re a browsing-in-bed type of gal (join the club!) then take a look at our 2016 Christmas Local Lust List, or if you need to touch, feel and smell it before you buy it, read on!


Canberra Centre Christmas tree

Sometimes getting a family out the door for a day of Christmas shopping requires more planning and forethought than the average military exercise. 

Simplify things with a trip to somewhere the kids will enjoy as much as you – where they can be fully entertained under the watchful gaze of your significant other without actually raising a finger.

Our top picks are the kids activities available at Westfield Belconnen, Canberra Centre and the Tuggeranong Hyperdome like storytelling, pet photos and Santa photos.

Tuggeranong Hyperdome has free activities that will excite the imagination of every child such as balloon sculpting, glitter tattoos, face painting, Christmas craft, Christmas cooking and workshops to make their own stocking! Find all the details here.

Canberra Centre are creating an enchanting Christmas Pine Forest. Decked out in Christmas decorations, a maze of pine trees will keep the kids entertained. Throughout the maze there will be writing stations, where the kids can stop and write their letters to Santa. At the end of the maze, there is a grand mailbox where they will be able to send their letters direct to the North Pole. Located on level 1 near Country road, the maze will be open until December 27.

Storytelling is on at Westfield Belconnen every Saturday where kids will be joined by the Christmas Fairy and characters, at their special ‘Story Corner’ as they share favourite Christmas tales. Storytelling is located outside Target at Westfield Belconnen and is free.

Send the kids off by themselves to find the perfect gift for children in need to pop under the Tuggeranong Hyperdome Giving Tree! Help support [email protected] this Christmas & make your donation at the giving tree, located on the ground floor outside Rebel Sport. Donations of food & unwrapped gifts are welcomed.


Image via instagram/hercanberra

Image via instagram/hercanberra

If you need to keep small ones entertained, why not plan your shopping around one of Christmas in the City‘s many events?

From sausage dog racing to dessert markets, free concerts and Canberra’s biggest Christmas tree, there’s plenty to keep people of all ages occupied.

Christmas In The City launches on 16 December. Click here for more details.


Santa will be at the Hyperdome in Centre Court next to the Christmas tree. For all times and information click here.

Santa is also visiting the Canberra Centre with photos available at David Jones. For detailed times, click here.

Mrs Clause will be making an appearance at Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick. For more details click here.

Santa will be at Centre Court at Westfield Belconnen until 24 December for photos.

From Saturday 10 December, there will also be an additional ‘Virtual Queue’ service to help reduce the stress of lining up for Santa photos. This service will enable you to continue to shop within the centre, instead of waiting in a line. Simply provide your mobile number to the photography people at the Santa set. They will advise you of an approximate wait time. Once it’s your time to be photographed a message will be sent to your phone. It’s that simple!

Click here for detailed photo time slots.




No matter what your family situation, the numbers in your bank balance or your age, Christmas is a time to share. Sharing presents, food and hospitality with family, friends and loved ones are staples of Christmas that everyone can relate to, but Christmas is sometimes the perfect way to share with those you don’t know.

Spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer beyond your nearest and dearest by giving to charity at Christmas can be a mission for the whole family, a small token of gratitude for a bountiful year or even the perfect gift for someone with everything, that will greatly improve the lives of those who have next to nothing.

We’ve compiled a list of local and international charities that will allow you to spread Christmas cheer this December and beyond to Canberran women, men and children in need.

Find our comprehensive guide to giving this Christmas in Canberra here.



Handmade tableware by Alison Jackson. Image: Christine Pobke

Handmade tableware by Alison Jackson. Image: Christine Pobke

There is something extra appealing about this year’s Handmade Canberra Christmas Market taking place at Exhibition Park on the 10-11 December.

Local makers and craftspeople will be bringing you the perfect spread of Christmas gift ideas, from the edible to the collectable and The Handmade Market will showcase over 220 Australian designer/makers. All products on sale at the Handmade Market are Australian made and designed. Shop at Handmade to support Australian designers and find something unique, well priced and meet the maker.

ATMs on site. Indoor venue includes a gourmet food hall.

Read more here.

Happening Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December from 10am-4pm at The Coorong and Budawang Buildings, Exhibition Park in Canberra, Flemington Road, Mitchell. Find more information via the website.


Usually a Sunday-only affair, the Old Bus Depot Markets will be open on both Saturdays and Sundays throughout December in the lead up to Christmas Day.

The markets will feature handmade gifts and festive items including Christmas wreaths, decorations, table centrepieces, candles, stockings and advent calendars. Live Christmas trees are also an annual favourite, and modern handmade wooden Christmas trees offer an alternative you can style for your own home.


And the food, the glorious Christmas food. The markets will offer delicious Christmas fare including cakes, gingerbread houses, mince tarts, puddings, shortbread, party dips, farmhouse cheeses, olives and more.

Christmas at the Old Bus Depot Markets will be open Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December, and Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free.

For more information visit


Christmas charity wrapping services are available at these locations:
  • Tuggeranong Hyperdome with all proceeds going to The Lions Club. Click here for more information
  • Canberra Outlet Centre with all proceeds raised going to Marymead. Click here for more information.

Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor 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 or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author


Elsie Adamo

Elsie originally hails from South Australia but after almost five years in the Capital likes to consider herself now as a local. A student at ANU she keeps herself busy on campus with student societies and now interning at HerCanberra. Her great loves include sitcoms, podcasts, bookstores, cider, brunch and online shopping. More about the Author

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