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Wendy Hargreaves: Melbourne orphan’s Christmas guide

By Wendy Hargreaves

All alone and nowhere to go this Christmas?

Melbourne grinds to a halt on Christmas Day, leaving limited options for people who don’t have anywhere to go for festive celebrations. But nobody should be alone (unless you prefer it that way). Here are five options.

PICNIC LUNCH IN THE PARK

Queen Victoria Gardens (opposite the National Gallery of Victoria), St Kilda Rd, city, from noon to 3pm on Christmas Day

With a forecast 27C and mostly sunny, Christmas Day will be made for picnicking, and a group of friendly Melburnians want to make sure orphans get a chance to join the fun. For the past 14 years, Melbourne Social Club has hosted a Christmas Day Picnic Lunch under a big shady tree in the Queen Victoria Gardens. Bring along food and drink to share with others, along with a picnic blanket or chair, and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat. In past years, picnickers have also brought along cricket bats, tennis balls and footies to stretch the legs after lunch.

ORPHAN CHRISTMAS BY THE YARRA

Riverside Orphans’ Christmas at The Common Man, 39 Dukes Wharf, South Wharf, from 1pm to 10pm

Barbecue, Kris Kringle, lawn games, Playstation and a giant screen… what else could you possibly want on Christmas Day? The Common Man is getting into the festive spirit, throwing Christmas Day party for festive orphans and people working across the holiday period who need a place to chill and “Facetime your family”. Find the Common Man’s Purple Patch outdoor lawn area on the banks of the Yarra River at the western end of South Wharf.

VISIT THE ZOO

Melbourne Zoo in Parkville, Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley and Werribee Open Range Zoo

Melbourne might shut down on Christmas Day, but the city’s zoo opens as per usual on December 25, with special Christmas lunches available in venues across the property. Werribee Open Plains Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary will also be open, offering special Christmas cheer.

LAST CHANCE TO CHECK OUT THE FESTIVE LIGHTS

9pm to 10:45pm at the State Library, Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge

Christmas Night is the final evening of Melbourne’s much-loved Christmas projections. Hit Chinatown for a bowl of noodles and head to the State Library (corner Latrobe and Swanston streets) to watch the old building come alive with Very Melbourne Night Before Christmas, written by Marieke Hardy and narrated by Lee Lin Chin. Then walk up Swanston Street to see the Melbourne Town Hall in a whole new light, along with (for the first time) the Princes Bridge.

REDWOOD’S AMERICAN CHRISTMAS EVE

345 St George’s Rd, Fitzroy North, from 2pm-11pm on Christmas Eve.

Expat Californian Brian Labadie creates a little piece of North America at his craft beer tasting room on Christmas Eve, spinning yuletide vinyl, playing cheesy Christmas movies on a projector and making his favourite holiday drinks like mulled wine, spiced eggnog and spiked hot chocolate. Wear a bad xmas shirt/sweater and get a free tulip.

Wendy writes online at fiveofthebest.com
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