If you are planning on doing your Christmas shopping at the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick in the next few weeks, you may notice an unusual sight as you turn off Newcastle Street towards the underground carpark. It is here that you can find a a sunglass-wearing Christmas Elf waving a large sign at passers by, getting even more energetic at every honk of the horn. On my way past I felt sorry for this Elf in his hot festive garb, so I took a look at his wobbly sign as it moved about in all directions. As a person who loves all things Christmas, I was happy to discover he was advertising a Christmas Factory Pop Up Shop opposite the Outlet Centre further down the street. Within minutes, we were walking into a Christmas wonderland.
This Pop Up shop has been open since Halloween, when it was full of ghostly ghouls and DIY haunted houses. It is now selling just Christmas decorations and products between 10am - 5pm every day until Christmas Eve. After this time it will remain open for approximately a week, depending on how much stock is left, before they start packing up what is left of the festive season.
If you love having glowing reindeers in your front garden, blow up Santa's in your lounge room, fairy lights adorning your gutters and giant inflatable snowmen on your roof top, then get to the Christmas Factory Pop Up Shop and check out their range. There are also smaller items for sale if you are after glittery Christmas hats, gift tags, flags, musical ornaments or Christmas accessories. Even if you don't need anything for Christmas, take a walk through the inflatable gingerbread walkway at the entrance to the store and also through the fairy light tunnels. This one-stop-shop has everything you need for Christmas - especially if you are looking for that original item that you just can't find anywhere else.
If you particularly enjoy the Christmas season and feel like a country drive, another Christmas wonderland can be found at Bredbo Christmas Barn, one hour south of the CBD on the Monaro Highway to Cooma. This magical store is a tourist attraction for the small town, with thousands of quaint, traditional, humorous and colourful Christmas decorations taking up every amount of wall space inside the store. If you aren't feeling very Christmassy when you walk in, it is guaranteed that the Christmas spirit will find you before you walk out. See here for more details.
Wherever you decide to go this year for your Christmas decorations, whether close by at Fyshwick or further away in Bredbo, it is easy to revert back to our childhoods and be swept away by the magic of Christmas. On our visit to the Christmas Factory, a number of kids around us were convinced the bearded man at the back of the store choosing fairy lights was the real Santa. As the kids pointed out, "Even Santa needs to decorate his sleigh!" You can't argue with that.