There is so much happening in Brisbane in the lead up to Christmas that there's almost too much to choose from. Here is my pick of 15 festive free events which the whole family can enjoy. There are also markets at various locations around the city and don't forget to check out the ever-popular Myer Christmas windows.
Brisbane City Hall Christmas Lights From 4 to 24 December, the show begins at 7.30pm every night and runs every 15 minutes, until midnight.
This year's Gold Lotto City Hall Lights have been upgraded with a dazzling display of fantasy and magic. From glistening ice castles to Santa's bustling workshop, the City Hall facade will be illuminated in a decorative spectacle designed for all ages. With animation synced to a custom soundtrack, this projection show is a wonderful way to celebrate the festive season.
Christmas On Queen Street From 4 to 24 December from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm, and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm at late-night shopping. Enjoy the magic of Christmas in Queen Street Mall with daily pop-up performances and roaming entertainment. The Christmas performances throughout the Mall will delight everyone, young and old. Don't miss the roving festive fun and the giant decorations.
Christmas Tree Spectacular From 18 to 23 December performances will take place twice nightly, at 5.30pm to 6.15pm and 7.30 to 8.15pm. This festive season, the South Bank Piazza will be home to the Christmas Tree Spectacular, supported by ABC Radio Brisbane. Enjoy an enthralling Christmas production featuring song, dance and circus acts. Between sessions, the audience is invited to take selfies and photos against the backdrop of the grand Christmas Tree and stage.
Christmas Cinema From 18 to 23 December 6.00pm to 10.00pm.
Tired from all the Christmas shopping? Then bring a picnic rug to South Bank Parklands River Quay Green and relax at a free cinematic experience, at the outdoor Christmas Cinema, presented by eatSouthBank. Visit the website for the full programme.
Kids Craft and Storytelling From 18 to 23 December from 4.00pm to 8.45pm. On Flowstate Lawns at Southbank, Kids Craft and Storytelling will entertain children this festive season. Children will have the opportunity to create their own wombat crowns, and Santa's elves will recite their favourite storybook tales. It's free to enjoy but tickets must be obtained to take part in activities. Ticketing booths will open one hour prior to scheduled activities.
Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols
5 December from 4.00 to 9.00pm
Come along to the annual Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols to hear your favourite Christmas carols live performed by some of Brisbane's most renowned singers and best entertainers at this family event. The joyous event will be hosted at the iconic Riverstage at the City Botanic Gardens. The host for the evening is Charli Robinson. Enjoy performances and appearances from the fabulous Dami Im. Mirusi, Graeme Issako, Murphy's Pigs and Queensland's Chamber Orchestra. Although this is a free event it is ticketed.
Sesame Street Christmas Hunt
From 1 to 24 December from 10.00am to 2.00pm.
Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and Elmo have all gone missing in Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown. Can you help us find them? Locate all 5 Sesame Street characters, to reveal the code words and receive a free gift.
Christmas at Orion Springfield Central
Kids can share their wish list with Santa and have a magical moment on camera at Springfield Central. For those who can't make it into the centre, they are offering online Zoom Santa Sessions this year too. Santa has a mailbox with a code that links to the North Pole so kids can write about their achievements and include their wish list for him to reply to. There's a neon mistletoe photo op at the outdoor dining precinct, or you can enjoy the sound of live music as you shop for Chrissy pressies, with artists from SMA Entertainment.
Christmas at Toombul Shopping Centre
It is all happening at Toombul Shopping Centre. Santa and the kids will stand on either side of a massive bon bon to create an extra fun and interactive photo moment. For paw-rents of fur babies, they can get the paw-fect Christmas shot. Retailers are putting on a whole range of workshops for visitors, e.g. dried floral wreath making. For extra fun for the whole family, they have installed a free pop-up putt-putt course from December 15. And the merry and bright vibes include live music entertainment.
Santa at the Hypermarket
On 10, 16 and 19 December.
Santa is coming to the Hypermarket at the Centre Court. You can take a socially distanced selfie with Father Christmas himself. His Elf helpers will also be handing out free Christmas goodie bags to all the kids. And catch festive carollers around the centre during Santa's visits. It will be wonderful to see Santa spread some Christmas cheer. Just what we need this year.
Christmas at Kawana Shoppingworld
From 1 December.
Shoppers can literally smell the festive season at Kawana Shoppingworld, with real Christmas trees throughout the centre. Colourful baubles will decorate the trees to spread the merry and bright vibes. Santa is bringing his surfboard for the first time. Kids can stand on their own surfboard and share their wishlist with the man in red and their photo will be captured for the ultimate summer Santa pic. There'll be options for fur-babies and Zoom Santa sessions for those who can't make. Kids who visit Surfing Santa will have the opportunity to create their own fabric transfer at the craft station which can be stuck on a t-shirt, hat, cushion or any item - a great idea. Children can submit their letters to Santa online for a personal reply.
Christmas Trees (May Cross)
DFO Jindalee Free Santa Photo
Bring a little magic to your Christmas with a FREE 6"x8" Santa Photo from DFO Jindalee.
Inala Plaza Free Santa Photos
Bring a little magic to your Christmas with a FREE 6"x8" Santa Photo from Inala Plaza.
Green Jam Sessions
Every Friday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
QPAC's beloved Green Jam is back with Green Jam Unlocked, a limited series easing you into the weekend with free live music. Sit back and relax every Friday on the Melbourne Street Green at QPAC presented by Principal Partner Heritage and Digi Youth Arts.
West End Fire Fest
Saturday 26 December from 5.00pm to 10pm.
Although this free community event is not strictly a Christmas event, it is on Boxing Day and yule still be in the festive spirit. The West End Fire Fest spontaneously combusted in 2006 and it's transformed into a free community night filled with music, flow arts, local food trucks and a pinch of magic. There is a lengthy love affair with the Flow Arts and Orleigh Park. Bring a rug, sit back and enjoy the wonders that the Festival has to offer. This is really one of the West End's hidden gems. Families and spectators are welcome but please keep your dog on a leash.
Please observe social distancing and COVID-Safe practices at all times when attending Christmas in Brisbane events. Stay at home if you are feeling unwell, wash your hands regularly and download the COVID-Safe application.