Not everyone gets to celebrate Christmas Day with their family, friends and loved ones, which can make the festive day a quiet and lonesome affair.
If you find yourself alone this Christmas, there is an option to team up with other Christmas orphans and join Melbourne Social Club and The Newcomers Network for a Melbourne Christmas Picnic Lunch in Queen Victoria Gardens.
Now in its ninth year, it is expected over 100 people will attend the Christmas gathering, located in one of Melbourne's central gardens located opposite the National Gallery of Victoria, close to Flinders Street Railway Station.
The picnic will commence at 11.50am and run until 3.00pm, offering a chance for those not participating in the traditional family Christmas to meet others, in a fun and casual outdoor environment.
It is advised to bring your own food and drinks, some for yourself and perhaps a little extra to share with others. Don't forget to bring a picnic blanket, rug and / or a chair to relax and enjoy your lunch, and please remember your hat and sunscreen. For extra fun, why not bring your favourite outdoor game equipment such as a football, cricket set or frisbee.
Flinders Street Station is within easy walking distance, otherwise catch a trams and stop on St Kilda Road outside the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Public transport is free on Christmas Day, and runs on a Sunday timetable.
Head for the flat grassy area directly opposite the NGV, where you will see a Fun, Food and Friendship Banner or Newcomers Network sign hanging from the tree in the gardens. Ian from Fun, Food and Friendship and Sue from the Newcomers Network will meet you on arrival.
The Melbourne Social Club Christmas Day Lunch is free to attend but you need to register online by Tuesday 24 December. You will be sent a reminder SMS from the organisers prior to the day.
The Melbourne Social Club, otherwise known as the Fun, Food and Friendship group is a great 'real life' social network offering anyone and everyone a chance to meet others and enjoy all that Melbourne has to offer in a social and friendly group environment. Find out more about the Melbourne Social Club's regular events here and follow the latest news on Facebook.
For those new to Melbourne, do check out the Newcomers Network for great opportunities to settle into your new city of abode and make friends. Check out the Newcomers Network website here.