Sydneysiders and nomads in general, if you love all things Christmas then it's time to take a road trip or two to the Central Coast this festive season. The reason – there's a myriad of sparkling events to enjoy that compare favourably with Sydney's fantastic array of celebrations.
From markets to carols, Santa meets and cinema, here are some merrymaking occasions where each one brings something different:-
Kicking off Christmas on the Central Coast is an evening of live music, carols and roving entertainment in Kibble Park. Children can also enjoy craft activities that include decorating baubles, gingerbread cookies and a calico bag.
Thirty days of Christmas are coming that will illuminate your evenings at The Entrance Town Centre with a special LED light show, complete with animated Christmas tales.
Launch night also sees Waterfront Plaza turned into a winter wonderland with giant bouncy elves, stilt walking candy canes and a ballerina in a bubble. There's also live entertainment, a Road Star Party and Santa, or course.
Christmas Eve sees more merriment with carols in Memorial Park, so bring your reindeer ears, family and friends for this special evening before experiencing the LED light show later on.
This is the biggest outdoor shopping fair on the coast for you to shop 'til you drop. With over 170 stalls, you're sure to find that something unique for that quirky person or the one that's 'got everything'.
But that's not all. Plenty of Christmas food, a pop-up bar and restaurant amongst heaps of entertainment, a book signing, car show and the beautiful gardens will keep you more than busy. Children are well catered for with a myriad of activities from circus entertainers to gingerbread making, lawn games and races, inflatable soccer, amusement rides and so much more.
The award-winning, toe-tapping Irish music and dance sensation is coming to the Central Coast Leagues Club with its Celtic Christmas traditions. Featuring stars directly from London's West End, A Taste of Irish Christmas will be a sight you won't want to miss.
With this magical afternoon of tunes is the story of two star-crossed lovers that will have you laughing, clapping and singing along with world champions of Irish dance.
Hosted by Kincumber Hotel, this market will have a handmade and home-grown focus. Here you can dodge the crazy busy shopping centres and support local businesses in the process. Find something unique from clothing and bags to gifts and yummy treats.
There'll be live music and you can book and enjoy dinner or drinks in the bistro or bar.
Everglades Country Club is the place to be for this cinema under the stars that presents a Christmas favourite in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This 2000 adaptation of the beloved children's tale by Dr Seuss sees Jim Carey as the reclusive green Grinch out to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville.
There will also be free face painting, balloons, games and a disco prior to the movie starting.
This night of sing-along carols for all ages features a stellar line-up of artists, both local and national acts, that includes Wendy Matthews, Sam Moran and Nikki Webster. Hosted by the radio's breakfast team, Rabbit and Julie Goodwin, this event at Central Coast Stadium is also a fundraiser for Cancer Council NSW.
There will be plenty for everyone to enjoy with amusements, food, stalls, an appearance from Santa and a huge fireworks display to conclude the event.
Mingara Regional Athletics Centre is the venue for this captivating event under the stars that features carols, a visit from the man in the red suit, fireworks and loads of fun. Food vendors will also be set up and announced closer to the date.
2006 Australian Idol winner Damien Leith will get the crowd moving when he takes to the stage bringing you all your favourite carols, whilst those yellow Bananas in Pyjamas will be along to entertain the kids further.
Hosted by Nick and Gia from SEA FM 101.3, this year's event also welcomes dancers from JB Dance as well as singer Nikki Webster and Gina Jeffrey's Christmas Stars.
Funds raised from ticket sales will go to The Salvation Army and Books in Homes.
When: 23 December 2018, 3.30pm-10pm
Where: 12-14 Mingara Drv, Tumbi Umbi
Price: Adults $5, children 12yrs & under free, with tickets available from the Mingara Welcome Desk
More info: www.facebook.com/events/332157040692683
Carols on the grass beachside at Shelly Beach Golf Club will have you singing along to favourites, enjoying fun rides and amusements, before Santa arrives for a meet and greet with the crowd.
A delicious selection of food and drinks will be on hand, including a BBQ, pizza and snow cones, to name but a few. Outdoor bars are also available for those wanting a relaxing drink and a beer garden will see a DJ spinning tunes.
Live music steps things up a notch with The Crowdies, a fantastic Crowded House and Split Enz Tribute Show, entertaining visitors.
For something a bit different this Christmas, go Italian with a lunchtime feast at Gusto Restaurant in the Galleria complex, a Meditteranean-style village. Chef Chiero is tailoring a four-course meal that will take you on a trip of the capitals of the Italian Food Valley.
The Christmas menu looks delicious with a welcome drink upon arrival, a starter of tempura-fried Sydney rock oysters with a fruity salad, a first course of spinach ravioli with vegetables and ricotta in a 24months aged Parmigiano Reggiano sauce, a main course of Red Mallet on a juicy tomato sauce with black olives and capers, and a dessert of home-baked profiteroles filled with classic Chantilly cream and topped with a dark Belgian chocolate sauce, strawberries and mint. Still and sparkling waters are also provided along with a bread basket.
A kids menu for under 13's is available too with Gusto's meatballs, Tortelli d'erbetta with ricotta and spinach, chocolate cake with whipped cream and a choice of one soft drink.
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the beach, bookings for this experience are essential on 0414 605 168.
Some planning can go a long way to make the most of your road trip by combining some of these events that overlap or are close together, such as, A Luminous Christmas and the Christmas Fair at Mt Penang Gardens.
Whatever you decide on doing, have a safe and happy season creating wonderful memories.