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Awesome Things To Do With Your Kids in December: The Secret Santa List

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Find out more at or join me at
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Bet you haven't thought of some of these things to do
Welcome to the seventh edition of the Secret List. A list of fun, different and unusual things to do with your kids each month.

Kids love Christmas, almost as much as we do

There is something for every family, no matter how old your kids are, where you live, and how much you have to spend. I have even managed to find a few non-Christmas things to do this month.

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.

Mum, Can We Go To The Movies?
Yes, yes you can. Every week (Saturdays) there are free 'Flicks for Kids' in the Northbridge Piazza. You read that correctly, free movies for kids. In Northbridge. Probably not the 'drop and run' type of event, the selection of movies will appeal to families and include classics such as Home Alone and Finding Nemo and newer offerings like Pirates: Band of Misfits. Bring a picnic and enjoy the provided beanbags.

When: every Saturday in December and running until May 2013.
Where: Northbridge Piazza, Corner of James and Lake Streets
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

This is the closest thing I could find to a camel

Christmas in the Hills
Let's face it, there will be more Christmas fetes, festivals and fun-days than you can poke a stick at. But this one has some genuinely Christmassy artefacts: camels. Authentic. The Kalamunda Christmas fair offers a sausage sizzle, activities for kids and camel rides. Let your kids pretend they are one of the wise men and follow the North Star all the way home to bed.

When: Sunday 2nd December, 4pm-7pm
Where: Rangeview Park, Swan Road, High Wycombe
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

… And in the City
Well, I did say there would be plenty of festivals. This one is in the heart of Northbridge and is a free family event offering activities, films, carollers and someone called Santa. Not sure who that is. The Australian Girls' Choir will be there, as will be face painters, balloon artists, arts and crafts and a giant snow globe. Your kids will think all their Christmases have come at once. (What? I had to use that joke at least once).

When: Sunday 2nd December, from noon to 6pm
Where: Northbridge Piazza, Corner of James and Lake Streets
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

This is a reindeer. Not a real one of course

Not Carol Brady, The Other Type
This one is for people who can sing, people who think they can sing, and people who wish they could sing. So everyone, really. An afternoon of community Christmas singing including popular carols, traditional carols, special kids pieces and my favourite, the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by the 100 year old organ. You don't need to have any singing experience but you do need to register online. Afternoon tea is included.

When: Sunday 2nd December, 2pm-4pm
Where: St Mary's Cathedral, 17 Victoria Square, Perth
Cost: $12
Register at:

Leave It To The Professionals
Perhaps you prefer your music stirred and not shaken. If so, the WASO Symphony in The City is a Perth favourite, bringing together both the orchestra and the chorus for a night of incredible sounds. With songs ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean to Mozart (and Verdi and Tchaikovsky), this is a great opportunity to grab a picnic, grab the kids, and pray for a cool, clear night with plenty of stars. If you are really digging the Piazza in Northbridge, the entire event will be streamed live to the Superscreen. Or you could go to the actual event.

When: Saturday 8th December, 7.30pm
Where: Langley Park
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Eat your heart out Rudolph

What is Small, Round and Red With A Thing Sticking Out?
If you happen to be in the area, or are prepared for the 3 hour drive, then the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival is one of the few non-Christmas events in December. Dedicated to a small red fruit, this regional show highlights all the awesomeness of the area, and throws in enough cool events to satisfy even the fussiest city-slicker. With pip-spitting competitions, circus workshops, Clydesdale rides, kids' rides, music, fashion parades, vintage cars and cooking demonstrations, all members of the family will be thoroughly entertained. Many of the events are free, the kids' rides are gold coin donation and the Clydesdales are $5. To ride, not keep, that is.

When: Saturday 8th December, 9am to 4pm
Where: Manjimup CBD
Cost: free entry
Click for more info.

Will You Marry Me?
If your daughter is like mine and talks constantly of getting married (she's five!) then maybe this is the event for her. Unless of course, you think the idea of a five year old talking about getting married is just creepy. Anyhoo, from today until the end of March 2013, the WA Museum is hosting 'Unveiled: 200 Years of Wedding Glamour', with over 65 outfits for the 'marry girls' and 'marry boys', some specially brought over from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The dresses range from the 1800s to modern day and include outfits worn by Gwen Stefani and made by Vivien Westwood. Do you want to go? I do.

When: opens Saturday 8th December
Where: Perth Museum, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street Northbridge
Cost: adults $17.50, children 5-15 years $12
Click for more info.

Don't Be a Twihard
The Twilight Picnic in the Park will be a lovely way to spend an evening with your family. With money raised going to charity, your kids will get to meet Santa, and there will be a magician, live entertainment and the City of Perth Band. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket or buy a sausage sizzle.

When: Thursday 13th December, 6pm-9pm
Where: Victoria Gardens East Perth
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

You probably won't need to wear your winter woolies in the Snow Globe

Take A Walk in the Snow
If you are finding it hard to get the kids into bed before the sun sets, then give up on early bedtimes and bring them along to the Illuminites Festival of Christmas. With a light display, night market, free entertainment, music and food as well as an enormous six metre snow globe you can actually walk inside, this could be a kid's dream come true.

When: Friday 14th December, 5pm-10pm
Where: Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Northbridge
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

Make sure everyone has their seatbelts on

Baby, You Can Drive My Car
If your children are the type to get excited when the traffic lights change colour, then imagine how excited they would be if you took them to see some of the best residential displays of Christmas lights in the city. Every year families (and sometimes entire streets) go slightly nutty over their light display and put enough time, money and wattage to put paid to a small nation's debt. Bang a Christmas CD on, pack some snacks, put the kids in the PJs and drive around being thankful that you don't have to live next door.

Here are some websites that list the displays by suburbs:

Christmas Lights site 1
Christmas Light site 2

The route of the Christmas pageant. Where is the best place to stand? Decisions decisions

Be A Pageant Mom
But the good type… the RAC/Channel Seven Christmas Pageant is a staple of the Perth Christmas calendar and a must-do event for families. After a short-lived and some might say disastrous affair as a daytime event, it is back to its evening timeslot of 7.30pm. There will even be a mini carnival in Forrest Place beforehand from 3-7pm. 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 15th December 7.30pm
Where: Perth CBD
Cost: Free
Click for more info.

School's Out
Six weeks (or is it seven) of school holidays. Oh sweet joy.

After Christmas is over and you can't blackmail them anymore, how are you going to keep them entertained? Click here for some awesome experiments that will have kids amused long enough for you to check your email and click here for some activities they can do at home and have them out of your hair long enough to watch all those episodes of Grey's Anatomy you taped and never got around to watching.

Can't see Santa on this train...

Do The Locomotion With Santa
In Perth, Santa doesn't waste his time with sleighs and reindeers. He travels by train. At least between Wednesday the 19th and Friday the 21st he does. If you are travelling around Perth during the day you might be lucky enough to meet Santa and some of his helpers. I'm not quite sure how you could plan this, so better not mention it to the kids unless you are prepared to spend the entire day chasing Santa around like some sort of stalker.

When: Wednesday 19th December to Friday 21st December, during the day
Where: various trains
Cost: the Santa bit is free; you'd better pay for your ticket though
Click for more info.

That Old Chestnut
I could hardly write a Secret Santa List and not mention the IGA Carols By Candlelight, now could I? It's only two sleeps before Christmas and your kids will be prepared to do anything to stay in Santa's good books, so if you love the warm fuzzy feeling of joining thousands of your fellow Perthonians and some local celebrities, then grab a blanket and picnic, and head to the gardens for the night of carolling nights.

When: Saturday 23rd December, gates open at 4pm, kid activities starts 6.30pm
Where: Supreme Court Gardens, Cnr Barrack St and Riverside Dv.
Cost: Free.
Click for more info.

Were there bees in the nativity story?

The Real Reason for Christmas
If you need to remind your kids that Christmas is not simply all about the presents, then perhaps the special kids service at Perth's Anglican Cathedral might knock some sense into them (in a good way). St George's Cathedral hosts the annual Children's Christmas Service and encourages little people to come dressed as a shepherd, king, angel or animal so they can take part in the nativity story, complete with a real-life baby.

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

When: Saturday 23rd December
Where: St George's Cathedral, 38 St George's Terrace, 4pm-5pm
Cost: free
Click for more info.

The Last Night of the Year
So Christmas is over, the ham is consumed, the toys are broken. Now what? New Years Eve of course. If you have little ones (or you are lame like me) simply celebrate NYE on Eastern Standard Time (ie, have your kisses at 9pm and then go to bed).

Or you can head to Perth Zoo for the Happy Zoo Year concert which includes a Kylie Minogue tribute act. You will need to buy your tickets now though

When: Monday 31st December

Santa Rocks!

That concludes this year's final Secret List. I hope you had as much reading them as I had researching and writing them.

Gosh, if you were a good parent, maybe you even took your children to some of the events!

What will I be doing this Christmas? Researching things to do in January, so we can fill those 31 loooong hot days of school holidays with our little darlings.

Merry Christmas!
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Why? C'mon, who doesn't love Christmas (except those poor mugs whose birthdays fall this month and always get forgotten)
When: The festive month of December
Your Comment
A lot of cool events there. Free cinema? Sounds like a great deal.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12492) 2578 days ago
What a greatlist...the big snow globe will be a hit!
by Where I Holiday (score: 2|338) 2578 days ago
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