What’s On for Christmas in Brisbane 2023

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There is nothing quite like Christmas in Brisbane. The balmy nights and the winding river make the perfect backdrop to some amazing Christmas traditions. Each year there are a range of Christmas events across the Brisbane CBD and South Bank.  King George Square, in the centre of Brisbane city, is a great place to start and it is where a lot of the free Christmas events in Brisbane happen. 

And if you are looking for where to eat Christmas lunch, this Christmas Day dining article will help you out! And you will find a gorgeous Christmas Day dress to wear out to your meal on our website too.

If you are planning to host a festive gathering this year we know where the best Christmas party venues in Brisbane are.

>>> We also know where the best Christmas lights in Brisbane are this year too! <<<

Lighting of the Christmas Tree

This year, the Lighting of the Christmas Tree presented by The Lott by Golden Casket will be held at King George Square from 6.20pm on Friday December 1.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner will turn on the 22m-high Christmas tree’s twinkling lights accompanied by special Christmas musical performances to get you in the festive mood. The Brisbane Christmas Tree will be on display from 1 December to 24 December in King George Square.

Where: King George Square and online via the Brisbane City Council Facebook Page

When: Friday 1 December at 6:20pm – 7.15pm

Find out more here.

The Lott by Golden Casket City Hall Lights

Be amazed by the magic of Christmas at The Lott by Golden Casket City Hall Lights as Brisbane’s iconic City Hall is immersed in a vibrant visual lighting and audio display that can’t be missed. Take the kids to enjoy this classic Christmas tale in larger than life form sure to light up their eyes.

Where: King George Square

When: 7:30pm to midnight from 8 – 24 December (display runs every fifteen minutes)

Find out more about the City Hall Lights here.

Christmas in the Queen Street Mall

Enjoy the magic of Christmas in Queen Street Mall with Christmas on Queen, daily pop-up performances and roaming entertainment throughout the mall. Don’t miss the roving festive fun from 9-24 December from 11am-2.30pm and 4.30pm-8.30pm during late night shopping.

Where: Queen Street Mall

When: 1-24 December at 11am, 3pm and 4.30pm – 8.30pm during last night shopping.

Find out more about Christmas in the Brisbane mall here.

The Enchanted Garden at Roma Street Parkland

Combining magical lighting, audio special effects and digital art, The Enchanted Garden is returning to Roma Street Parkland!

Running 23 November – 20 December, the family-friendly lighting trail combines over 8000 square metres of custom-made lighting, audio, special effects and sculptures to deliver a world-class digital art experience in the heart of Brisbane.

The lighting trail is constructed with cutting-edge visual and auditory elements like holograms, LED fields and hundreds of 3D-printed birds, with the 11 unique activations combining nature and technology for an unforgettable immersive journey.

The installation’s self-guided narrative will take guests around 30 minutes to complete, with entry available every 15 minutes from 6:30 pm to last entry at 9 pm. Roma Street Parkland’s gardens are precious, so visitors are asked to keep to the installation pathways while enjoying their journey.

To complete the magical experience at The Enchanted Garden, food trucks will be pulling up nightly on Celebration Lawn and Lakeside Lawn, and The Garden Room cafe will offer two specially curated share-style menus for kids and adults.

Where: Roma Street Parkland

When: Friday 23 November – Wednesday 20 December

Times: 6.30pm – 9pm nightly

Find out more about the Enchanted Garden here.

Christmas at South Bank Brisbane

There are always so many wonderful Christmas activities going on at South Bank Brisbane.

South Bank Christmas Tree – Stanley Street Plaza

  • 1 – 27 December

Start the festive season on 1 December as they ignite the magic of Christmas with the lighting up of the South Bank Christmas Tree. Visitors will also witness the dazzling display of lights, decorations and festive cheer that will fill the parklands.

The Collective Markets – Christmas Edition – Little Stanley Street

  • 15 – 23 December

Soak up the festive atmosphere as you explore the stalls on Little Stanley Street and discover a wonderland of beautiful clothing, sparkling jewellery and delightful trinkets at The Collective Markets – Christmas Edition.

Carols by the River – Riverside Green

  • 18 – 23 December

Feel the flow of the music as you sing along to heart-warming carols with the stunning backdrop of the City at Carols by the River. Bring a picnic or get takeaway from the nearby South Bank restaurants and come together with your loved ones for a joyous evening by the river.

Carols by the River is on at 4.30pm, 6pm and 7.15pm every night from 18 – 23 December. Entry is free, no booking required.

Festive Beats presented by eatSouthBank – Little Stanley Street Lawn

  • 18 – 23 December

Unwind and escape the holiday rush with some of Brisbane’s best local musicians bringing Christmas tunes to you live. Relax on South Bank’s green lawns and escape to the Festive Beats.

Festive Beats presented by eatSouthBank is on 4.30pm – 9.30pm daily from 18 – 23 December. Entry is free, no booking required.

The South Bank Christmas Show – South Bank Piazza

  • 18 – 23 December

Join a chorus of elves as chaos hits Santa’s Workshop the night before Christmas! An all-singing, all-dancing spectacle for all ages, The South Bank Christmas Show features a live band, talented singers, energetic dancers, and a special appearance from Santa himself.

Tickets to The South Bank Christmas Show are $12 per person. Book tickets via the Ticketek website!

Holly Jolly Kids

  • 18 – 23 December

Create magical memories with your family at Holly Jolly Kids, South Bank’s kid-centric zone. Enjoy free Christmas and First Nations themed colouring, a beautiful wishing tree installation and the chance to join an Elf Dance Party with a lively 20-minute disco hosted by the North Pole’s spritely residents held daily from 4pm.

Holly Jolly Kids takes place at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm daily from 18 – 23 December. Entry is free, no booking required.

Santa’s Stop Over – Flowstate Precinct

  • 18 – 23 December

Snap a festive family photo with Santa at the Flowstate precinct, where Santa’s friendly elves are ready to help capture the magic of Christmas for you on your phone. For those who have been naughty this year be prepared for a surprise at Santa’s Stopover from a well-known green man!

Entry to Santa’s Stopover is free however pre-registration is required on arrival at Flowstate. Sessions will be taking place every 30 min from 4pm – 9.30pm daily from 18 – 23 December.

South Bank Christmas Cinema – River Quay Green

  • 18 – 23 December

As the sun sets, get cosy and enjoy Christmas movies at South Bank Christmas Cinema. Bring a blanket, grab a picnic, or indulge in delicious eats from nearby restaurants. It’s the perfect way to unwind and get into the holiday spirit.

Screenings are taking place at 6pm and 8pm daily from 18 – 23 December. Entry to the South Bank Christmas Cinema is free! View the movie schedule below.

Monday 18 December

  • 6pm: The Grinch
  • 8pm: The Happiest Season

Tuesday 19 December

  • 6pm: A Christmas Carol
  • 8pm: The Holiday

Wednesday 20 December

  • 6pm: Elliot the Littlest Reindeer
  • 8pm: 8-Bit Christmas

Thursday 21 December

  • 6pm: Arthur Christmas
  • 8pm: Elf

Friday 22 December

  • 6pm: Home Alone 2
  • 8pm: Batman Returns

Saturday 23 December

  • 6pm: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • 8pm: Gremlins

Find out more about what is happening for Christmas at South Bank here.

Myer Christmas windows

Unfortunately, the Myer Centre closed and has been renamed Uptown. Thus, there will be no more Myer Christmas windows in the city in Brisbane!

David Jones Christmas Parade Brisbane

Unfortunately, this event will not be going ahead in 2023. 🙁

Brisbane Christmas carols

Brisbane loves a good Christmas carols event.  Our suburbs are filled with these local Brisbane Christmas carol events that showcase the best of the local carolers. These events support the local community groups and are well worth a visit. The city centre also has many annual carols events.  Our favourite Christmas carol events across Brisbane include:

Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols

Gather your family and friends for a festive night of carols at the iconic Riverstage for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols.  This event is an all ages event.  This year the tickets are $5 and free for children under 18 years old.  It will be a night to sing along to your favourite carols with some of Brisbane’s finest performers.

Where: Riverstage

When: 2 December

Time: 6pm – gates open at 4pm

Find out more about the Lord Mayors Christmas Carols here.

Multicap Christmas Carols

Multicap Christmas Carols and Markets have become an annual event for Multicap friends, family and the local community to enjoy Christmas festivities in a familiar and accessible space at our Eight Mile Plains location.

This community event is an opportunity to bring people together for a chance to socialise and create new connections in their community.

There will be live music, market stalls, a petting zoo, face painting, our on-site cafe (Monte Lupo) will be open, a visit Santa Claus, Christmas Carolers and much more. As well as on-site parking for a gold coin donation. This event is proudly supported by Brisbane City Council. 

Where: 369-303 Padstow Road, Eight Mile Plains

When: 2 December

Find all of the details on Multicap Christmas Carols here.

Spirit of Christmas

QPAC’s longest running event Spirit of Christmas returns this December to the iconic QPAC Concert Hall. Two of Australia’s leading musical theatre stars will join a host of special guests in uplifting seasonal song and much-loved Christmas carols, beautifully supported by a full symphony orchestra, and the glorious voices of the QPAC Chamber Choir.

QPAC’s Spirit of Christmas is a celebration of the true meaning of the festive season; an occasion to rejoice and reflect on the year that has passed and embrace the season’s enduring message of Peace, Love and Joy.

Where: QPAC

When: 22 – 23 December

Find the details about and book Spirit of Christmas

A Christmas Carol

Our favourite festive feel‑good show – Charles DickensA Christmas Carol – is returning to QPAC this December to wow audiences once again.

Set to take over QPAC’s iconic Concert Hall in 2023, A Christmas Carol is a magical, grand‑in‑scale production brimful of song, humour, love, and lashings of festive joy – perfect for the entire family.

Shake & Stir Theatre Co’s exquisite adaptation of Dickens’ timeless tale is the most poignant way to herald in the festive season, wrapped up in live music, yule‑tide carolling, innovative video design, lavish costumes… and of course masterful storytelling.

Where: QPAC

When: 8 – 14 December

You can book tickets for a Christmas Carol here.

Christmas markets

Tis the season to go shopping and what better place to shop than local Christmas Markets. You will be supporting local businesses and you can find gifts for even the fussiest of relatives and friends.  The suburbs are full of these local Brisbane Christmas markets and you can also find a great variety in the city.  Some of the regular Christmas markets in the city are:

Rotary Club of Mt Gravatt Christmas Markets & Carols

Free community event with food trucks, Christmas market stalls, children’s activities, carols program and movie in the park, and of course Santa!

This event is proudly supported by Brisbane City Council.

Where: Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

When: 25 November

Find out more about the Rotary Club of Mt Gravatt Christmas Markets & Carols here.

The Collective Markets – Christmas Edition

The Collective Markets along Little Stanley Street get a holly, jolly makeover with stallholders offering a veritable Santa’s Workshop of gifting delights from 10am until 9pm daily.  

Snap up the perfect office Kris Kringle offering and last-minute gift or treat yourself to the extensive range of crafts, homewares, collectibles, handcrafted jewellery and local designer fashion.

Where: Little Stanely Street

When: 10am–9pm, 15 – 23 December

You can get all the details about The Collective Markets here

BrisStyle Twilight Christmas Market

Distillery Road Market transforms its outdoor entertainment precinct into a food lovers’ delight while inside the market hall, BrisStyle host a very festive Christmas pop-up artisan market to get this years gifts all wrapped up.

Devour delicious food made onsite by the lineup of food trucks while enjoying some tunes from the main stage and head inside to the market hall to support local makers by shopping up a storm with a great lineup of local Artisan market stalls hosted by BrisStyle.

Visitors can also enjoy the enticing fare of onsite outlets Kiwanda Cafe, Sugar Creek Smokehouse and Posadas Cantina when they visit Distillery Road Market.

Where: 124 Distillery Road, Eagleby

When: Saturday 25 November

Find all the details of the Brisstyle Twilight Christmas Market here.

Photos with Santa

For some families, part of the Christmas time tradition is to get a family photo with Santa.  This year the photos will be socially distanced, but there is still a variety of places to go to get the photos done.  This includes shopping centres, local Christmas carol events, markets and you can even get a photo with Santa with your beloved fur baby at some pet shops!

Meeting Santa for most kids is exciting but if your child has a sensory process disorder like autism, it can be a challenging experience.  Some shopping centres are now offering ‘Sensory Santa’.  They create a calm and sensory-friendly photo session with dim lights and no music or loud noises.

We have a detailed post about where to get Santa photos in Brisbane here.

Christmas lights bus tours

Find all the Christmas lights bus tours and canal tours in 2023 here.

Christmas Eve box ideas

Happy little child open Christmas present box with bright light inside sitting near New Year tree

There is a growing tradition of giving kids a Christmas Eve Box on the 24th of December to get them right into the spirit of Xmas. Some families I know use this additional gift as a way to get the kids to go to bed without a fuss on Christmas Eve. Whatever your reason for creating a Christmas Eve box, we’ve put together a few ideas for your kids (and one for the mummas too!) You can find all the details including pricing and where to buy their contents here.

Get ideas for your Christmas Eve boxes in our detailed guide here.

Christmas charity options in Brisbane

Becoming involved in Christmas charity work isn’t just the moral thing to do – it’s a way to teach our own children the values of empathy, respect and kindness. For a Christmas family activity with a difference think about getting involved with some of these great Christmas charity initiatives where you can donate items. If you are looking to donate your time, check out our volunteering at Christmas article.

Christmas in Brisbane

The whole month of December is undoubtedly the best time to be in Brisbane! It’s warm, everyone is in a good mood and there is so much to do for families, kids, singles and couples! Get out there an enjoy the best Christmas you’ve ever had!

We also know what is open on Christmas Day in Brisbane. and if you are looking for Christmas Day lunch, we know about that too!

If you are heading to the Gold Coast to celebrate Christmas, you will need to read this article here. If you would like to give back to your community this Christmas, check out our “Where to Volunteer” article here. We also know where to get a real live Christmas tree in Brisbane!

Join our Facebook group to jumpstart your Christmas planning all year long!

If you would like to be included in our article you can contact us for more information. Prices start at $295 + GST.

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Regina Gleeson

Regina is a fan of all things Christmas! As the Listings Editor of the popular Families Magazine she was instrumental in putting together the Christmas content in the print publication and on their website since its inception in 2013. She is extremely community-minded and makes it her personal mission to contribute content that is low cost (or free!) and suitable for families. This thirst for knowledge and desire to experience the things she writes about makes her an irreplaceable member of the team.

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