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The Top Kids Events in December: The Secret Santa List

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
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A big fat jolly month of things to do
Ignoring all the craziness of Christmas, December can actually be a pretty cruisy month. School is finished and everyone gets to sleep in.

The flip side is: the craziness that is Christmas combined with school holidays and New Year's Eve. This month there is something for every family, no matter how old your kids are, where you live, and how much you have to spend. Actually, there is so much on, even I couldn't fit it all in.

Why is it a secret? Because if you kids find out about all the things on this list: they will beg you to do everything on it.

Bunnings Christmas Fun Night
The Bunnings Christmas Family Night is always a great way to start the festive season

DIY Fun Night
Bunnings Homebase is hosting another ripper of a family fun night to celebrate Christmas. With snow machines and a winter wonderland, free craft, gift wrapping, games, food and a visit from the Big Guy himself, this is another wonderful free community event with lots of festive joy.

Kids can make their own bonbons and wooden Christmas trees, enjoy popcorn, snow cones, icecream and fairy floss, play in the foam Santa workshop, and go on the bouncy castle. A sausage sizzle for the whole family is included and the whole thing is FREE.

When: Wednesday 3rd December, 2013, 6-8pm
Where: Bunnings Homebase Subiaco
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

100 years of Ozzie Park
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Osborne Park Show is two fun nights for the whole family. Like a mini Royal Show you will find everything from rides and show bags to animal and produce displays. There will be fireworks displays at 9pm on both nights and so many entertainers, displays and demos I can't fit it all in.

When: Friday 5th (from 6pm) and Saturday 6th December (from 10am)
Where: Robinson Reserve, Tuart Hill
Cost: $12 adults, $6 kids
Click for more info.

Check online to find the route of the Channel 7 Christmas Pageant

Walk the Streets
The RAC/Channel Seven Christmas Pageant is a highlight of the Perth Christmas calendar and a must-do event for families. With a starting time of 7.30pm it lasts for about an hour past any point along its route which makes its way down St Georges Terrace from Mill Street to Victoria Ave. Wear comfy shoes and be prepared to wear kids on your shoulders as the night progresses. They are after all, the ultimate accessory.

When: Saturday 6th December 7.30pm (entertainment pre-show from 6.15pm)
Where: Perth CBD
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Santa Claus is running to town...

Help! Santa is Chasing Me.
The annual Variety Santa Fun Run aims to raise money for kids in Perth who don't have the luxury of mobility. For the price of registration you get your very own Santa suit (which will come in handy for the rest of the month), and Santas of all ages are welcome. It is starting a bit later than last year and culminates in a family-friendly celebration at the end finish-line.

When: Sunday 7th December, 11am
Where: Central Tafe, Oxford St, Leederville
Cost: $40 for adults, $10 for kids
Click for more info.

Get Elfed at Ellenbrook
Head north for a fabulous Christmas market and festival featuring over 150 market stalls, kids rides and entertainment, music by Murphy's Lore and cooking demonstrations by MKR contestants. It's so big your head will explode.

When: Sunday 7th December, 10am-5pm
Where: main Street Ellenbrook
Cost: Free

It's never too late to get in the festive mood

Perth's Biggest Christmas Festival
Perth City shares the festive love with a massive Festival of Christmas that lasts the entire season. There are themed family days at the Northbridge Piazzarama, including free craft, movies and entertainment with the Festive Flicks, or bring the kids into the Christmas Nativity which is an old favourite drawing thousands of revellers each night between December 16-19.

When: Sunday 7th December and 16th-19th December
Where: Northbridge Piazza and Forest Place
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Christmas in the Hills
Out east is the Kalamunda Christmas Fair which kicks off all things festive in The Hills with a sausage sizzle, activities for kids and the most authentic of Christmas experiences: donkey and camel rides. Let your little wise men (and women) get involved in all the Christmas games and activities for a fun family night. Come back a week later for the Carols by Candlelight at Stirk Park.

When: Sunday 7th December, 4pm-7pm
Where: Rangeview Park, Swan Road, High Wycombe
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Have you got a little Rudolph in your family too?

Leederville Lights Up
Kicking off the festive season in Leederville is a free family friendly festival which will bring together over 250 market stalls, entertainment galore, free wine and cheese tasting and a host of other activities. With the main street closed to traffic, it's an easy ride on the train and this massive all day event will culminate in turning on the Leederville Christmas lights at 8pm.

When: Sunday 7th December, 12-8pm
Where: Oxford St, Leederville
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Sing Your Heart Out
December is the month for festive singing and it wouldn't be Christmas if you didn't sing at least one carol. Here is the fabulous and enormous list from BuggyBuddys of some of the Carol events here in Perth.

Most events are free, though some have fund-raising components. You will be sure to find something near to you, and many have fireworks as well.

When: throughout December
Click for more info.

This is not a cherry tree

Please, with a Cherry on Top
It's not quite local to Perth, but the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival is one of the biggest and best non-Christmas events in December. While dedicated in name to the cherry, this regional show highlights so much more than this humble fruit, and has plenty of big-name draw-cards (such as pastry guru Emmanuel Mollois) to tempt city-slickers to attempt the three hour drive.

There are events in the week preceding and following the main festival, so look on the website to see what is on offer, but the Saturday festival includes plenty of kid-friendly events like pip-spitting competitions, circus workshops, street theatre, kids' rides, music, fashion parades, vintage cars and cooking demonstrations. Many of the events are free, the kids' rides are gold coin donation. This year there will also be a massive free concert starting at 6.30pm.

When: Saturday 13th December, 9am to 4pm
Where: Manjimup CBD
Cost: free entry
Click for more info.

Perth's enormous distance means all the Christmas lights can be seen from space*

You Light Up My Life (and my Neighbourhood)
Some people love 'em, some think they're over the top but kids are all agreed that spotting a house decked out in flashing Christmas lights is almost as god as checking out what's under the tree on Christmas morning. There are hundreds of houses and sometimes entire streets across Perth who get into the spirit and decorate their houses to within an inch of their lives.

Plan your light-spotting route well ahead of time, get the kids in their PJs, whack on a Christmas CD and bundle everyone into the car. Here is one site that lists Christmas light displays across Perth, or alternatively, try the buggybuddys site which has another big list by suburb.

Trainspotting Santa
Roads. Where Santa comes from, you don't need roads. Nope, Santa likes trains, and between Tuesday and Friday this week you might be lucky enough to bump into Santa and some of helpers on trains across the Perth rail network. Like I said last year, don't mention to the kids what you're up to in case you're unlucky and don't catch him. Otherwise, buy an all-day ticket and be prepared to stalk Santa.

When: Tuesday 16th December to Friday 19th December, 3-6pm
Where: various trains
Cost: the Santa bit is free; you'd better pay for your ticket though
Click for more info.

Lake Lovin' Celebrations
Gather the family and bring them along to a free Christmas festival at Lake Monger. At the family friendly time of 4-8pm, it's early enough to get the kids to bed, and late enough so that it actually gets dark to enjoy the lights. With market stalls, hawker food stalls, live music (jazz and carols) and plenty of the kids favourites (face painting, rides and free activities) it will be a great night out for all. Feel free to bring a picnic and blanket.

When: Thursday 18th December, 4-8pm
Where: Lake Monger Reserve, Wembley
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Kids Nativity
What? There are bumble bees in the Nativity story, right?

Get Me to the Church on Time
You might not be a church-going family, but it's probably important to remind the kids that Christmas isn't just about presents and a big dude in an inappropriately warm suit. The special kids' service at Perth's Anglican Cathedral might be a fun way to show them about the real story of Christmas and why we celebrate.

Hosted by St George's Cathedral, children are encouraged to come dressed as a shepherd, king, angel or animal so they can all take part in the nativity story.

Mayhem is practically guaranteed, and kids will enjoy being a part of something special, complete with carols and simple prayers.

When: Saturday 20th December
Where: St George's Cathedral, 38 St George's Terrace, 4pm-5pm
Cost: free
Click for more info.

NYE fireworks
Celebrate the end of 2014

Happy New Year
Finally we see the end of 2014. Christmas is done, the tree is away, the toys are being played with and everyone is making resolutions. It's New Year's Eve, now what? If you have small children who like to be in bed early you can celebrate NYE on Eastern Standard Time and have your kisses at 9pm and then go to bed.

Family-friendly alternatives include the Happy Zoo Year concert at Perth Zoo which includes a Beyonce/Katy Perry tribute act, the LuLu's, and a circus act. This concert always sells out so get your tickets now ($46/$26).

When: Tuesday 31st December

That concludes the last Secret List of 2014. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas and I will see you in the New Year with a big list of things to do with your kids during the summer school holidays.

*probably not actually true
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Why? Tis the season to be jolly
When: The month of December
Where: Across Perth
Cost: Varies, lots of events are free
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