With an event taking place every day, you’ll find the perfect adventure in Ballarat this festive season.
Admire the Insta-worthy festival decorations along the city's main thoroughfare, follow the 12 Days of Christmas Windows art trail, shop until you drop at Ballarat's ever-growing retail offerings, then indulge in the finest food and wine and explore the many festivals and events with your family and friends.
This year, the City of Ballarat has introduced a number of new festive-themed installations and activities, as well as welcoming back crowd favourites, including the floral Reindeer who this year celebrate their 10th birthday.
Businesses and event organisers across the city are also in full festive spirit, with more than 200 events taking place across Ballarat during December.
Ballarat Mayor Ben Taylor said the extensive event listings across Ballarat this festive season will assist to activate and encourage visitation and spend in the CBD throughout December.
“Whether it’s wandering Christmas markets, listening to carols or snapping the perfect photo of your children with Santa’s Reindeer, there is certainly an event for everyone – making Christmas in Ballarat this year one of our biggest,” he said.
“It’s the perfect chance to invite family and friends to Ballarat for the day, or even the weekend, where they can shop for their Christmas presents while enjoying the extensive number of activations spread out across the CBD.”
Check out the online Advent Calendar
Plan your Christmas adventure using our new online Advent Calendar. With an event taking place every day throughout December, you’ll be sure to find something to do with your family and friends.
Don’t forget to visit every day and find one of three unique codewords for your chance to win the ultimate summer family fun pack, which includes a family pass to Nitro Circus, Ballarat Wildlife Park, Kryal Castle, Sovereign Hill and Ballarat Bird World.
Check out the calendar online at christmasinballarat.com.au
Leave a message for Santa
Who doesn't love the idea of calling Santa to tell him what they want for Christmas? Hear your child's wishes when they call Santa from the red telephone box outside Myer and leave a message for him between 8am and 8pm (Calls are free).
This experience is brought to you by City of Ballarat, Hackerspace and Telstra.
Snap a photo with the floral Reindeer
The Reindeer are back and it's their 10th Birthday! These festive sculptures have become an icon for Ballarat at Christmas time, so come and take a photo with Santa's Reindeer and share it across the world as so many have over the past decade.
The Gingerbread House
Come and see this delicious-looking gingerbread house layered with lollies and, watch your children’s faces light up when they push the button and see the house come to life.
The Gingerbread House, which has been created by local artists Zlatko Balazic and Margie Balazic, can be found next to Parent Place.
12 Days of Christmas Windows*
This collection of temporary artworks is inspired by the Twelve Days of Christmas and will be a nod to local traditions, with an emphasis on our regional city, our heritage, our First Nations peoples and our shared future.
The City of Ballarat has commissioned six local artists to create the window displays to fill the city’s shops and streetscape with Christmas joy and creativity.
From Friday 6 December, you can follow the trail of the 12 Days of Christmas Windows, starting with the Partridge in a Pear Tree at Central Square and continuing down through to 12 Drummers Drumming in the Bridge Mall.
*A photo opportunity for media has been organised for Friday 6 December at 10.30am, outside the Mining Exchange
12 Cheeky Christmas Elves
Enjoy lunch with the 12 Cheeky Christmas Elves between 14 – 21 December. The elves will roam Ballarat's CBD and get you into the festive mood with face painting, festive hair spray and Christmas cheer. Don't forget to take a selfie with the Christmas elves!
The elves will roam the CBD on Saturday 14 December between 12 – 1pm, Monday 16 – Friday 20 December between 12.30 – 1.30pm and Saturday 21 December between 12 – 1pm.
Giant Christmas Bauble
The new giant bauble, located in Bridge Mall, will be a spectacular sight down Sturt Street. Covered in a mass of beautifully-lit fairy lights, this is one sight not to be missed.
Take your photo with the giant bauble and share your phone online using the hashtag #ChristmasinBallarat
Choirs and bands
Christmas Brass Band
This five-piece brass band will be preforming much-loved Christmas Carols during your lunch break in the CBD. The Christmas Brass Band will be performing on 5, 9,18 and 21 December in the Queen Alexandra Bandstand in the Sturt Street Gardens and will make their way down Sturt Street.
Sweet Mona's Choir will fill the streets with the sounds of Christmas on Wednesday 11 December between 12.30-1.30pm and Tuesday 24 December between 10am-12pm. Sweet Mona’s Choir, based in Ballarat, is one of Victoria’s leading and longest running gospel and world music choirs.
Mt Clear College Band
The Mt Clear College Band will surprise and delight with a variety of songs on their repertoire. From Jazz and funk to reggae and rock, there will be something for everyone.
The Mt Clear College Fat Tuesday’s Band and Qweyeya Choir will perform at the North Pole on Sturt Street on Wednesday 4 December from 11.15am until 12.15pm.
The Mt Clear College Qweyeya Choir perform at the Alexandra Band Stand and will weave their way down to Albert Street pop-up space on Wednesday 11 December from 12.30-1.30pm.
The Mt Clear College Band Fat Tuesday’s will be performing their final session on Friday 14 December from 12.30-1.30pm. They’ll be starting at the Alexandra Band Stand and will make their way down to Albert Street pop-up space.
Ballarat Central Uniting Church Choir
Meet with friends for lunch and soak up the city's Christmas spirit as the Ballarat Central Uniting Church Choir performs at the Queen Alexandra Bandstand on Saturday 14 December from 12-1pm.
Make a teeny-tiny Christmas window
Inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas Windows, created by six Ballarat artists that have been installed around the CBD, children will have the opportunity to make their own teeny-tiny Christmas window.
Christmas window artist and founder of MAKE, Emily Van Der Molen, is the creative behind the teeny-tiny windows and will be on hand to help you to create your own.
Visit Parent Place and create your own Christmas window on Monday 9 December 2-3pm, Tuesday 10 December 10.30-11.30am, Thursday 12 December 10.30-11.30am, Tuesday 17 December 2.3pm and Thursday 19 December 10.30-11.330am.
Booking are essential, so visit christmasinballarat.com.au to secure your spot.
Don't forget to check out the online advent calendar while you’re online at christmasinballarat.com.au and share your festive experience on Instagram with the hashtag #christmasinballarat