It’s my first Christmas here in Sydney and I’m as excited as a child to witness the magical celebrations across the city. Do you remember watching all those Christmas movies with the beautiful trees, Christmas windows in the shops, yum treats, gifts and snow falling in every scene? Well, it’s quite similar here except that it’s summer and there’s no snow.
Christmas in Australia
Christmas in Australia falls during summer. So, no snow and log fires for us, but Christmas cards, decorations and traditions usually depict those of colder countries. A traditional Christmas dinner in Australia will usually consist of cold meats, seafood (prawns, lots and lots of them), salad and a Pavlova instead of a plum pudding. A lot of people celebrate with a barbeque in the backyard or a picnic on a beach. (We’re heading to Bronte for Christmas.)
What about mulled wine? Nope. You wouldn’t enjoy a warm drink when it’s 35-36 degrees. In Australia, we usually celebrate with champagne, wine or beer.
Sydney’s Dazzling Christmas Lights and Decorations
For the last two weeks, I’ve spent most evenings walking around the city centre in awe of the dazzling Christmas lights and sparkling decorations all over town. Let me take you on a Christmas-themed tour of Sydney!
Queen Victoria Building’s Swarovski tree
Sydney’s biggest Christmas tree is my absolute favourite and I cannot even count how many times I’ve been to QVB just to see this spectacular masterpiece. This glittering 24-metre tree at Queen Victoria Building’s central dome took 102 people and 44 hours to bring to life. It’s decorated with 82,000 Swarovski crystals and 65,150 lights and it’s nearly impossible to get the whole tree in one frame.
Watch the magic behind the tree in this video here.
Martin Place Christmas Tree
This 21 metre-high dazzling Christmas tree in the city centre is a Sydney icon this festive season. Straight out of a dreamy storybook, Martin Place creates a picture-perfect backdrop for everything Christmas-y – a gorgeous tree with magical lights, a Lego sleigh, carols and light show every evening and a dessert bar. (of course, you know my love for desserts!) You can even send your Christmas greetings via SMS and watch it light up the tree. Don’t miss the light show from 8.30 to 9.15 pm every night.
On my recent visit to Martin Place, I discovered that Bulgari has set up a light installation inspired by some of their most iconic Roman collections. Simply incredible!
Lights of Christmas
If you are in Sydney for Christmas, then a visit to St. Mary’s Cathedral for Lights of Christmas should be at the top of your to-do list. This stunning free light and sound show adorns the St. Mary’s Cathedral every evening at 7.30 pm and is a Christmas calendar must for Sydneysiders and visitors of all ages.
Presented by PAYCE, the grand show uses interactive storytelling and a beautiful combination of creativity and technology to engage the audience and spread the Christmas spirit. I loved the animation of the classic Christmas favourite The Nutcracker Suite.
Christmas Windows at David Jones
To keep up with the Christmas spirit and the festive shopping frenzy, luxury department stores on Elizabeth St. and George St. have unveiled their Instagram-worthy window displays for the season. David Jones on Elizabeth Street is the most popular and my personal favourite. They have four beautiful windows showing polar bears working really hard this Christmas. The beautiful puppetry by David Jones will delight the young and old as you watch the bears prepare presents and load Santa’s sleigh for take-off!
Boulevard of Light
Shopping for gifts at Pitt Street Mall? Take a moment and step into the Boulevard of Light, a glorious canopy along the Pitt St walkway illuminated with thousands of fairy lights. Add a little sparkle to your night-time shopping as you walk into this Christmas wonderland. They even have a LEGO Christmas tree outside Westfield and carol singing every Thursday from 6-8 pm.
Crate Santa at The Rocks
A 7 metre-high Santa stands tall in the city at The Rocks, offering you a perfect opportunity to snap a Christmas selfie! This Santa has been assembled using milk crates, about 1200 of them!
Christmas Tree at The Strand Arcade
The Strand Arcade is a Victorian-style shopping arcade in Sydney and has a beautiful, glittering fern Christmas tree. The arcade features some artistic decorations and fairy lights across multiple levels.
Customs House, Circular Quay
The Customs House forefront, right opposite Circular Quay train station has a gorgeous Christmas tree welcoming all visitors and travellers.
I’m waiting to hop onto one of these gorgeous, public transport buses that have been decked out with beautiful Christmas decorations – tinsel-lined aisles and windows and cute stuffed toys. I’m hoping I’ll get lucky and come across at least one of these pretty buses before the end of the season.
If you’re in Sydney for Christmas, take a sunset walk around the city centre and soak up the magical vibes of festive season.