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'Tis the Season

Cityscape gets festive with our ultimate wrap of the Chrissy season with killer gifts, Xmas-themed markets, where to get the best festive treats and how to get your Christmas on big time, from celebrations and parties to primo Christmas dinners where you don’t have to cook a thing!


Christchurch teems with excellent places to pick up your Christmas pressies n’ produce, c/o special Christmas editions of many of the city’s regular markets and the odd special festive retail jamboree as well. Look for special Christmas editions of the Riccarton Market (Dec 10), starring Santa, specialist stallholders with goodies for Christmas and some very cute greyhounds to possibly adopt, Christchurch Farmers’ Market (Dec 23), Opawa Farmers’ Market (Dec 24), and the Shabby Chic Market Day (Dec 3). There are special Christmas market events aplenty on offer as well in the form of the Love Light Christmas Market at 280 Hasketts Road on Dec 2, the Kids, Xmas Market at the Halswell Community Centre, also on Dec 2, and the ReVamp Vintage Christmas Market at CGHS on Dec 3.

Sweet As Shopping

The Arts Centre are kicking off your summer in style this month with their Summer Sweetener Market. It features excellent retail options, art, live music, and great food and drinks. Following the success of the last Arts Centre market, they’re doubling down, boosting the number of market stalls and food trucks and rehousing the market (appropriately enough) in Market Square. It's a prime spot for you to get plenty of your Chrissy shopping sorted. Summer Sweetener Market, The Arts Centre, Dec 3,

Gourmet Goodies

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What would Christmas be without a serious splurge on some sensational food and drink? Sort your ham (of the award-winning kind, double Manuka smoked no less) and turkey out with the team at Cashmere Cuisine, hamper without hindrance for gifts or to stay stocked over the season with the customisable artisan food baskets from The Lincoln Pantry or the beautiful gourmet gift packs from Yumm, while Taste @ Twenty are turning out their superb Christmas cakes – time to get those orders in!

12 Days of Christmas

Expect the city to get super festive in the lead up to Christmas when ChristchurchNZ and the Christchurch City Council join forces for their 12 Days of Christmas celebrations, including giveaways and activities in the city centre.

Christmas at Ballantynes

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Ballantynes’ famous celebratory Christmas window display is already up and running – you’ll want to head along (kids in tow) to check it out if you haven’t yet. The city’s favourite department store goes deeply Christmassy with its thoughtful in-store Christmas gift guide, a range of spectacular decorations, all the table trimmings and titbits you need to make Christmas day special, and their range of exclusive-goodie-packed hampers, perfect for celebrating the festive season properly.


Family friendly events for the festive season are on offer around the city.

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Christchurch Santa Parade

Kick the festive season off in fine city tradition style with the Christchurch Santa Parade (Riccarton Road, Dec 3), now 70(!) years old and set to keep the good times going as a septuagenarian with its usual mix of spectacular floats, popular characters, music, and multicultural displays. Pick your spot early; a quarter of the city is expected to attend!

Christmas For the city

The team behind the city’s famous Christmas Grotto experience at South West Baptist Church are taking a break this year to reimagine their Christmas celebrations, which has led to the inaugural Christmas For The City (Ara City Campus, Dec 16) event, developed in collaboration with church groups across the city. The festive bonanza will feature elements from the grotto alongside new activities including music, a live nativity, North Pole village and Santa, bouncy castles, face-painting and much more to keep your elves entertained.

Christmas Joy

Renowned chanteuse Ali Harper gets into the festive spirit with Christmas Joy (Dec 15 & 17). A local sellout last year, the special concert at The Piano celebrates this special time of year with the assistance of Julian Hay (founder of TVNZ’s Naked Choir winners Voices Co.) on piano.

A Festive Christmas

The CSO’s popular annual A Festive Christmas concert (Isaac Theatre Royal, Dec 20) features all the appropriate seasonal hits to get you into the right sort of celebratory mood for the holidays. Round-the-piano family faves like ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘O’ Holy Night’, and ‘Joy to the World’ are given the full orchestral treatment under the baton of Tom Rainey in this Christmassy countdown that also trots out the festive trimmings to ensure things are appropriately merry. Cracker!

Christchurch City Choir

Christmas in Christchurch can’t actually really officially happen until the Christchurch City Choir has presented its annual performance of Handel’s Messiah (Charles Luney Auditorium, Dec 9). This year conductor John Linker and international star soloists (Madeleine Pierard, Cassandra Seideman, John Longmuir and James Clayton) are joined by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for the great composer’s masterpiece.

Christmas Dinners

Let someone else do all the hard work on Christmas Day, with festively-themed feasts at Bloody Mary’s (where your mains options are Cantervalley Turkey breast with rhubarb corn bread stuffing, kumara puree, asparagus, and cranberry orange jus or duo of Canterbury lamb with a French cutlet, and braised shoulder croquette, with roasted garlic gratin, green beans, watercress, mint pesto and jus) or Crowne Plaza, where Christmas Day will heap up stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce, champagne ham, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, as well as Kiwi favourites Canterbury leg of lamb or Akaroa salmon, and will also see the special return of legendary piano man Peter Lewis, who played the foyer in the old Crowne Plaza for 23 years before the earthquake.

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