Visit Sydney’s largest Christmas tree – which stands at 24 metres tall – at the Queen Victoria Building. You can marvel at the tree’s 65,000 lights and 100,000 ornaments, all of which took 100 people to assemble. While you’re there, drop in and get photos with Santa who will be perched on his chair right up until Tuesday evening. Advance bookings are essential, with packages starting from $35. You can even bring your favourite furry family member.
Christmas tree until January 6, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, free, whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au
If you love the sound of young voices, come along to Carols on Norton – a Christmas concert with a difference. A diverse children’s choir has rehearsed every Friday after school since November. Backed by a chamber orchestra, they are itching to rock your socks off. Bring a picnic and your warmed up vocal chords. If the weather is bad, the concert will move to Leichhardt Town Hall.
Sunday, 7pm, Pioneers Park, Leichhardt, free, espressochorus.com.au
The Sydney Santa Spectacular in Penrith offers a wide range of Christmas-related activities. Beat the summer heat and enjoy unlimited ice skating, as well as rides including the mighty ferris wheel and a giant teacup ride. There’s an arts-and-crafts station, a live stage show and even storytime with Mrs Clause. Last but not least, Santa will be present to capture those family happy snaps to frame and stick on the mantlepiece.
Until December 26, 9am-4pm, Penrith Panthers Club, Penrith, $42, sydneysantaspectacular.com
Could there be a more scenic spot for a carols concert than under the Sydney Harbour Bridge? If there is, we haven’t found it. Join thousands of carols junkies for a family-friendly community celebration of Christmas. Bring a picnic rug, your dinner and soak up the beautiful harbour backdrop while singing your heart out to your favourite festive tune.
Saturday, 6pm, Bradfield Park, Kirribilli, free, cbtb.org.au
Sydney Olympic Park is hosting a nightly Christmas celebration with live entertainment, activities for kids and pop-up stalls where you can grab a last-minute Christmas gift and soak up the holiday spirit. Every half hour, a light show will transform the square from the ordinary to the sensational. There’s even happy hour at a bunch of venues nearby with a variety of discounts on food and drink. Grab 20 per cent of chicken and chips, or $5 wines from the cocktail bar.
Until December 24, 6-10pm, Jacaranda Square, Sydney Olympic Park, free, sydneyolympicpark.com.au
For those wanting a more spiritual experience, celebrate the reason for the season at Believe, Hillsong Church’s Christmas spectacular. The show features live music and visual effects with a message of hope and a series of creative presentations of the Christmas message. There are a variety of performances across the Hills district, the Northern Beaches and the Inner West.
Saturday and Sunday, various times, Baulkham Hills, Brookvale and Mortlake, free, hillsong.com
Is it an amusement-park ride or a dessert? Well, both and neither at the same time. This giant gingerbread carousel might be the largest sweet treat you’ve ever seen. Pastry chef Anna Polyviou constructed this mouth-watering display using 750 kilograms of gingerbread, 100 kilograms of icing and 300 kilograms of lollies. But you can’t ride it or eat it – only admire it. There is a pop-up dessert bar, however, where you can buy a (much smaller) gingerbread house and a range of other treats.
Until January 5, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, free, whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au
Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.