Wendy Hargreaves: Melbourne orphan’s Christmas guide
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.