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How to celebrate Christmas and the festive season in Sydney

Christmas time in Sydney
Christmas time in Sydney is a month long celebration.

ABC: Illustration by Julie Ramsden

The countdown to Christmas is on. There is only one month left until jolly Saint Nicholas flies around the globe and makes his way to Sydney for the festive season.

So if you've never been to Australia's largest city over the Christmas holidays before, here are some fun ways you can celebrate.

Martin Place Tree Lighting and concert

One of the biggest events on Sydney's Christmas calendar is lighting the Martin Place Christmas Tree. Located in the heart of the CBD, the 21 metre high tree will be lit by none other than Santa himself, who will be arriving in town on his cycle-drawn sleigh. If this isn't fantastic enough, fireworks will then illuminate the night sky as the lights on Sydney’s tallest Christmas tree are switched on.

The Martin Place concert will kick off with performances from the ARIA Award-winning Megan Washington, as well as children's shows by Bananas in Pyjamas and Jimmy Giggle.

Martin Place, Sydney CBD, Saturday 26 November 6.30 - 8.30pm

Dachshunds in the Park Christmas Party

Dachshunds are probably one of the cutest breeds of dogs known to man. Put a little Santa hat on top of their tiny heads and you've got cuteness overload.

If this sounds like your dream way to celebrate the festive season then head along to the Dachshunds in the Park Christmas Party.

You'll see dachshunds having their photo taken with Santa, a fashion competition for the dapper daches of the bunch, and swift sausages will race to see who is the speediest.

Centennial Park, Sunday 27 November 10.30am - 1.30pm

The Rocks Very Merry Markets

If you're hunting for the perfect gift for a friend or family member, look no further than The Rocks Very Merry Markets.

Operating every Friday from December 2 until Christmas, you can purchase handmade treats and goodies for even the fussiest of relatives.

And for those who love anything a bit quirky, head down George Street to take a selfie with the huge Santa statue made from milk crates. Standing seven metres tall, this Aussie version of Saint Nick has been made from over 1,200 crates.

Jack Mundey Place and Playfair Street, The Rocks, Friday 2, 9, 16 and 23 of December 4 - 8pm

Christmas Fare

Food lovers should head along to Christmas Fare in the CBD, where for one night only up to 50 fine food artisans will dish up delicious delights.

The Christmas Fare celebrates locally-made edibles from boutique producers and chefs, and you can stock up on festive food from gourmet food hampers and handmade produce to artisan wares. If you fancy a tipple there's even a pop-up bar where you can sit back and enjoy some live entertainment.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Macquarie Street, Thursday 15 December 4 - 9pm

Christmas buses

Catching public transport has never been more fun in Sydney than in the lead-up to Christmas, when a handful of public buses battle it out for the title of most festive bus.

It has become a tradition for bus drivers to decorate some of their buses during the holiday season with tinsel and trees to spread cheer among commuters. The most merry bus wins money for their chosen charity, so what better reason to ride public transport than that?

You can find out which buses are decorated by using the transport app NextThere. For the first time last year the app used Santa and Christmas tree emojis in December to show commuters how to find of the elusive Christmas buses in Sydney when they wish to have a jolly journey, and will be using them again in the coming weeks.

Lights of Christmas

Lights of Christmas at St Mary’s Cathedral is the centrepiece of Sydney’s Christmas celebrations.

A spectacular light and sound show around the theme 'Joy to the World' will feature an elaborate animation projected onto the 75 metre facade of the historic building.

The annual event at the Cathedral is a free display of sound and light using 3D projections, creating a moving canvas of sorts. Before the show starts each night, choirs perform carols on the steps of the Sydney church. On a warm summer evening, this is an event for the whole family to marvel at.

St Mary's Cathedral, Thursday 8 December to Sunday 25 December from 7.30pm

Carols in the Domain

Carols in the Domain is Australia's largest free Christmas singalong. People young and old take their picnic blankets to secure a spot on the grass nice and early to see some of Australia's biggest stars perform classic Christmas tunes. You never know who could turn up; in previous years international superstars such as Hugh Jackman and Josh Groban have performed at Carols, and David Hasselhoff even made an appearance one year.

Now in its 34th year, the well known event is a place where loved ones gather to celebrate the end of the year and the new beginnings to come.

The Domain, Sunday December 18 from 12pm, concert commences at 8.30pm

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