City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas.
I’m not even going to lie… I’ve been listening to Christmas music daily since before Thanksgiving – and I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s my absolute favorite holiday – family, the music, decorations, and just the overall excitement in the air! I’ve celebrated Christmas in different cities (and countries) throughout my life – South Africa, throughout the U.S. (Virginia, Alabama, New Jersey/New York, Florida) and now, Melbourne. Each city has its own unique way of celebrating this precious holiday, and it’s been fun to experience it all.
Melbourne has been particularly amazing, with the decorations going up in mid-November. I first noticed the bells and stars going up on the tram lines above Bourke Street Mall, and each time I walked by the mall, I saw more and more bells going up. Below, you can see some photos of it during the day, and at night, when they glow and change colors! It’s really an incredible sight to behold. On November 28, it was the official ‘start’ of the holiday season here and summer was officially declared on December 1st (let me tell you, a ‘white Christmas’ is overrated – a warm Christmas is where it’s at!). They had a tree lighting ceremony in City Square – which is called Christmas Square during the holiday season – and sang carols, lit the tree (see below) with the help of several elves and Santa! Also, there is an elaborate window display at the Myer department store, but the lines are always so, so long (think: Disney World lines), that I’m not able to get a good photo. But it tells a sweet story each year, and this year, focuses on the book, Santa Claus & the Three Bears. It’s so precious!
Up and down our street and our neighboring street, there are ornaments hanging from the tram lines, and they’re so simple but decorate the streets so perfectly, with their festive green and red colors. Around the corner from us is Town Hall, and it is already such a gorgeous building, but add a big red Christmas bow, some giant wreaths, beautiful pink/red/green flowers all around and a few huge nutcrackers, and you’ve pretty much won Christmas! (see main photo above) … *cue infomercial announcer voice* But wait, that’s not all! Melbourne has a beautiful 3D projection show each night for a month which is projected onto Town Hall! Complete with music, a dragon’s eye in the clock tower and several scurrying elves wrapping up the presents, and it’s truly an amazing show!! Check out the video below taken by the City of Melbourne – I love reliving it.
There are also a ton of festivals going on around town, markets, pop up shops and various displays – like the Gingerbread Village, which is a huge gingerbread city modeled after Melbourne! (it’s on my list to go visit, but those darn lines, I tell you…) Melbourne even has a website dedicated to all the events, how to get around, dates and helpful maps! They converted one of the bridges linking the CBD to Southbank (across the Yarra River) into a spot for some canoodling under a big mistletoe they’ve hung from the top of it. Will and I have plans to go venture under there soon :-). Some of the laneways are decked with twinkling lights and wreaths, while the arcades (laneways converted into actual little malls) are even more beautiful …geez, I really need to get photos of these places. I might need to do a second Christmas post (as if I mind doing it ;-))! And one of my favorite sites is Flinders Street Station – which is so hard to get a photo of since it’s on such a crazy busy street – and it has a massive MERRY CHRISTMAS sign, which lights up at night, but it’s just so beautiful to see on an already stunning building. This is not my photo, but I couldn’t resist getting it in here!
It’s certainly going to be tough this Christmas without being near family, despite us doing it before (twice), but this city feels so much like home sometimes that it’s making it easier for us to weather this season. Also, there’s a TON to do which keeps our minds and attention spans active and energetic! I find this city to be more and more magical each day, especially this time of the year. Melbs, thanks for loving Christmas as much as I do :-)