To kick off your tour de force, first stop to get you in the mood for Christmas - the Christmas Tree Festival. Middle Ridge Uniting Church on Stenner Street has a delightful display of around seventy meaningfully and beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Each display (tree, nativity or other) is themed by a Christmas carol and its lyrics. There's also Prayer Corner, a retreat for meditation and prayer. Another theme for the display this year was music, with instruments worked into the displays. Christian messages appeared on screens. You can donate to needy families, placing your gift under one of the trees. Live entertainment from 10:30am to 7pm.
Meaningful decorations in abundance at the Christmas Tree Festival.
Beautiful and top quality quilting adorned the walls with Christmas themes. There were also craft stalls with high-quality, hand-made craft items such as handbags and Christmas goodies to fill your stockings. A range of craft and sewing gear was on sale. Coffee and tea inside the church or on the lawn, organised by the Rotary Club catering van, is good value. Sip your tea under the silvery lights decorating the outdoor area. Drinks for $2, bacon and egg burger $4, Bratwurst or sausage and onion $3.
Quite a variety within the charming Christmas Tree Festival.
It's the Christmas Tree Festival's fifth year at the Middle Ridge Uniting Church and they've done an outstanding job. Entry by gold coin donation.
Moving on to the Christmas lights display, you'll be kept busy checking your map for the locations, so it's a good idea to have a co-pilot. It seems that everywhere you look, there are people getting into the spirit of Christmas with lights festooning trees, fences, rooves, awnings, lawns; in fact anywhere they could affix lights, they have.
A look at what you can expect, whether you prefer Santa or the Saviour's birth.
My favourite displays were in McKillop Crescent, Wilsonton (not a comp entrant) and 104 South Street, Centenary Heights. Both well organised, big, tasteful and colourful. Another bright one was at 17 Holt Street, Middle Ridge, with lots of larger than life figures. One with pink trees in Alderley Street also took my fancy (not an entrant).
Maps & Listings
The Toowoomba Information Centre can help you out with a listing of competition entrants and a map of locations to help take the stress out of congested Christmas roads. Leaving home early is a good idea as the traffic starts to heat up after 7:30pm.
Stonestreets busses will save you the trouble of struggling through traffic congestion, by providing a bus tour from 6pm to 9pm.
Hand-made nativity at the Christmas Tree Festival.
Vote for your Favourite
Open until 12 December, you can vote for your favourite lights display in The Chronicle's competition. You could win a $250 gift voucher to spend at Toowoomba Betta Home Living.
Do it Yourself
If that's all too difficult as you prepare for Christmas, why not just jump in the car and drive around. Make it a game for the kids to spot the lights. Then you can be surprised by even the more humble of displays; sometimes 'less is more'. For example, there's a great Santa going down a chimney on Alderley Street that the kids would enjoy, which isn't listed in the competition.
Lights are generally on by 6:30pm and continue until 9pm. And don't forget to visit the extravaganza of lights, Christmas Wonderland, in the Botanic Gardens from 7-10pm.
It's a delightful surprise to spot the decorated homes around Toowoomba at this time of year, with so many residents getting into the spirit of Christmas.
Some of the humble home decorations around Toowoomba.