New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Book early to get into the Christmas Spirit
Christmas in July is an interesting concept. Halfway through the year when it is cold and wintery outside, there is a certain comfort in enjoying traditional Christmas fare by the fireplace, wearing silly paper hats. It is often too hot in Summer to cook the traditional Christmas roast, so many Australians opt for BBQs, seafood, cold meats and salads to celebrate the day. At Christmas in July we get to enjoy the best of both worlds - literally have our cake and eat it too. For many, warming up with a hot roast, Christmas pudding and a mulled wine could be just what the doctor ordered to get through the winter season.
Here is a taste of the events and venues around the Capital who will provide the Christmas spirit, on a cold day in July. So grab your favourite friends and family, get your Santa hat out of storage and celebrate the festive season - all month long.
George Harcourt Inn English Pub at Gold Creek Village will be hosting three-course Christmas in July dinners between Monday and Friday for the whole month of July. Organise a group of friends and family (minimum of 8 people) and they will set the table with crackers and trimmings so you can enjoy traditional Christmas in July fare by their fireplace. The cost is $49 per person. See here details.
Canberra Southern Cross Cruises will be hosting a Christmas in July Cruise on Friday 22nd of July. Glide past the Capital's landmarks whilst enjoying a three-course festive menu with a Premium Dessert Buffet to finish. Be welcomed on board with a glass of mulled wine to warm yourself up and start the evening off in Christmassy style. The cost is $79 for adults, $30 for kids under 12. See here for details.
Rydges Capital Hill Canberra will be hosting Christmas in July packages for groups of more than 30, for family get togethers or work functions. With prices starting from $35 per person for a cocktail menu, $50 for a set menu and $55 for a buffet Christmas spread, it is a festive party suitable for large groups to enjoy. See here for details.
The National Arboretum's Conservatory Restaurant is an ideal location for large events with views over the city lights. Ginger Catering, who runs the restaurant, is hosting a Christmas in July - The Nutcracker dinner at the National Arboretum on July 21st. It is part of The Kitchen Cabinet list of events for the year, showcasing the best of Canberra's local seasonal produce and wines. Their website describes the event:
"As winter sets in and snow falls on the Brindabellas, be transported to the enchanting world of the Sugar Plum Fairy - beetroot borscht, blinis and delicate desserts. Greg Gallagher from Gallagher Wines will lead us through a sparkling wine tasting".
Mondayitis Caberet: Christmas in July is an alternative to the traditional Christmas celebrations, with some Christmas glitz and naughtiness at The Abbey (Gold Creek). Held on Monday 25th of July, get your photo taken with Santa and his naughiest elves and there's a prize for the best tacky Christmas sweater. Tickets are $10 plus booking fee. See details here.
Canberra Railway Museum will be hosting a Christmas in July dinner and train ride on one of their historical trains on Saturday 23rd of July. This popular event will include all the Christmas trimmings and fare, whilst watching the scenery go by. See here for details closer to the date.
6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle is an annual charity fun run around Lake Burley Griffin held on July 31st, to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Federation of Australia. As this photo below shows, runners don their Santa hats and speedos and run for 65 minutes around the lake, much to the shock and amusement of tourists visiting the city. You can also join the Christmas Fun Run and run one lap of Lake Burley Griffin or volunteer to be a Christmas Elf and watch all the madcap action from the sidelines. Although the 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle is a fun Christmas in July-themed event, it is also a serious cause to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers, which affects one in 2,500 babies born in Australia each year. See more details here.
Some of the fun from last years event. Source: Cystic Fibrosis ACT Facebook
Christmas in July-themed Markets will be on again this year, with Belconnen Fresh Food Markets having a Christmas in July day on Saturday July 23rd with extra bargains and Christmas-themed events. For some Christmas cheer, head over the border to the Queanbeyan Annual Christmas in July Market for Christmas fare and shopping, held on Sunday July 24th (venue to be confirmed).
Winter Festival. If you are after the spirit of a European winter, you can't go past the Winter Festival which will be held in the Civic for three weeks only. Although not Christmas-themed, it has all the characteristics of a European winter with an outdoor ice skating rink and European food stalls, selling German sausage with sauerkraut and Dutch Pancakes. See here for more details.
DIY Christmas in July. If you are planning your own Christmas in July celebration at home and are in need of some more decorations, the Bredbo Christmas Barn over the border into NSW is open between June and December to meet your Christmas needs. This shop is literally wall to wall Christmas spirit, with unusual decorations and all the trimmings to make your festive day special. See more details here.
Christmas in July is an ideal excuse to get together with friends, catch up with the family and make new memories for the kids - without the stress. This is just a small sample of what will be planned for July, with more events to be added closer to the dates. Although a lot of fun for kids, it is also an enjoyable time for adults to relax with a beverage and enjoy the festivities.
The only choice you have to make after your hearty Christmas fare is...
Hot chocolate or mulled wine? Source: Winter Festival Facebook