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Christmas in Brisbane always beats a white Christmas. As our interstate and European relatives flee the frost and join our beachside barbecues, we're decorating towering Christmas trees twinkling with tinsel, making our wish lists for Santa and making merry at Christmas parties, lunches and cruises. If the last-minute scramble for Christmas drinks, gifts and seafood has decimated your debit card, crushed your credit and pulverised your Paywave, you can still enjoy these free activities and events.
Saturday 10 December – Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols at the Riverstage. Sing along with our favourite Aussie singers and dancers, including Rhonda Burchmore, Luke Kennedy, Naomi Price, Reece Mastin and many more. Our Aussie entrant for the Junior Eurovision, Alexa Curtis, will also sing a carol. The family-friendly festivities begin at 5pm, with the joyous celebrations continuing until 9.15pm.
Sunday 4, 11, 18 December 2016 – Try anti-trivia with Majority Rules. Join the audience to explore our modern-day morals with confronting questions posed to a local comedian and his musical sidekick in the most absurd game show in Brisbane. It's like a Q&A session without Tony Jones or Germaine Greer. Join the fun from 6pm at Fish Lane.
9 - 18 December 2016 – The Enchanted Garden in the Roma Street Parkland. Roma Street will be transformed for Christmas in an atmospheric display of lights, leading visitors on a magical garden voyage. Before the sun sets, join the bamboo lantern making workshop at 3.30pm, adding one more glow to the lightscape. The enchantment unfolds from 6.30pm – 9pm.
Thursday 1 December 2016 – Zumba at The Boat Pool, South Bank Parklands. The exercise party starts at 5.45pm, led by a qualified instructor performing choreographed dance moves to work up a sweat. Begin the festive season with a fun session of exercise the Little Stanley Street Lawns.
Saturday 3 December 2016 – Wakerley Rotary Carols at Dianthus Street (South) Park in Wakerley. While the Lord Mayor's event is a Brissie institution, the locally-led carols are just as much fun, with international food stalls, live bands, joyous music and fireworks. The entertainment begins at 4.30pm.
Sunday 4 December 2016 – City Sounds with Jimmy Davis at Reddacliff Place. Jimmy joins a stellar lineup of musicians performing throughout the day. He's a standout for his dynamic voice, a mix of Robert Plant and Jeff Buckley. His songs tell a story, told with a 12-string guitar and poetic vocals, connecting with his audience. Mentored by Chris Isaak, he's become a Youtube star and played at gigs and festivals along the east coast. His set begins at midday.
Friday 2 December 2016 – Christmas Twilight Parade on Brisbane Street, Ipswich. Sample treats at the pop-up food stalls as the Christmas lights shine and local singers compete in their renditions of "A Star is Born". Marvel at the elaborate floats, costumes and magic of the parade flowing through Brisbane St, to join the Mayor and Santa to turn on the city's Christmas lights at d'Arcy Doyle Place While the Lord Mayor's event is a Brissie institution, the locally-led carols are just as much fun, with international food stalls, live bands, joyous music and fireworks. The entertainment begins at 4.30pm.
10 - 16 December 2016 – Christmas Movies at the Roma St Parkland Amphitheatre. Grab dinner from the international food trucks from 5.30pm then relax in the open air to watch classic Christmas films on the giant outdoor screen with the twinkling, starry night sky as the backdrop. The films start at 7pm, and include Arthur Christmas, Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Love Actually, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, Santa Clause and Search for Santa Paws.
9 - 24 December 2016 – Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular at City Hall on Adelaide St, Brisbane. Each evening, from 7.30pm, the Christmas story is beamed in a spectacular animated light show onto the historic walls of our City Hall. This year's 15-minute show, repeated throughout the night, is a playful, Aussie tale of the night before Christmas. Christmas characters, native animals and magical adventure feature in this show timed to start as the clock tower strikes.
31 December 2016 – NYE Fireworks at South Bank. The biggest show of the year celebrates 2016 and begins 2017 with a kaleidoscope of sparkling fireworks. Along Clem Jones Promenade, the family-friendly fun includes movie screenings, foodie treats served fresh from food trucks, culminating with Brisbane's best fireworks at 8.30pm and again at 11.45pm.
10 December 2016 – Board Game Play-Off at 861 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba. Prove your board gaming prowess as you roll the dice with classic non-digital games including Cluedo, Monopoly, Charades, Battleship and Hungry Hippos. The fun starts at 3pm. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org
16 - 23 December 2016 – Christmas Beach Cinema at Streets Beach, South Bank Parklands. Enjoy a refreshing swim before relaxing on the soft sand to watch double features, beginning at 6pm with the 2nd session at 8pm. Films include Rise of the Guardians, Get Santa, The Polar Express, Elf and White Christmas. Click here to view the full program.
(by Brisbane Heat)
26, 27 December 2016 – BBL Cricket - Brisbane Heat Home Games at Allan Border Field. Feel the excitement of fast-paced cricket with the Women's Big Bash League and our best local players smashing 4s and 6s with the bat and shattering stumps with the ball. Cheer for our Aussie reps, including Holly Ferling, Beth Mooney, Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen. The Boxing Day match begins at 1pm, followed by a 10am start on the 27th.
16 - 23 December 2016 – South Bank Christmas Markets at the Stanley Street Plaza. Work up an appetite with the peddle-powered Christmas Tree before stocking up on all the delicious ingredients for a fabulous Christmas lunch and dinner. You'll also find keepsakes, ornaments and gifts as carollers serenade frantic shoppers.
20 - 23 December 2016 – Christmas Fireworks along Clem Jones Promenade at South Bank. The electric rainbow of shimmering fireworks flame across the night skies each evening at 7.45pm, celebrating Christmas with a magical pyrotechnic display.
Bring your appetite to the Paper Plate Supper Club at 119 Lamington Street, New Farm for Brisbane's best street food. Treat yourself to Thai Green Curry, slow-cooked pulled pork, Turkish Gozleme, German pretzels and Japanese dumplings. The dinner bell rings from 5pm – 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 3pm – 7pm on Sundays throughout December.