I am finally feeling the festive spirit, after visiting the Southbank Christmas Markets with Brooke of Blonde Ambition during the week. Working in retail always casts a little bit of shade on the Christmas season, but not working full-time during this Summer is an absolute delight – it means I get to do all the Christmassy things!
The Southbank Christmas Markets are based on the traditional, charming Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season, and just like their European counterparts, you can shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine) flavoured iced tea, and taste European inspired food and delicacies during December – all without rugging up and braving the northern Winter chill.
Before hitting the Christmas markets, why not stop by the Southbank beach for some peoplewatching, swimming, and getting some sand in your cityslicker toes? Southbank’s beach is as popular as ever, and with lifesavers on duty all school holidays, it’s a fantastic day out!
Arriving to the sounds of traditional carols played by a brass ensemble puts you in a festive mood straight away!
One of my favourite stalls, Fox and Fallow, where you can shop for super-adorable chalkboards, cards and stationery. Owner/designer Janet was painting this lovely Christmas message and chatting with market shoppers at the same time, and I loved pretty much everything in her stall.
More sweet cards… you can guess which one was my favourite, can’t you?
I”m so predictable.
After a little Christmas shopping, I highly recommend stopping by the Nitrogenie stall to get a little energy kick; and if you’ve got kids, they’ll love watching the magic icecream being made.
Brooke and I each enjoyed a Christmas donut topped with condensed milk and custard icrecream, with a generous serve of gingerbread crumble on top. That icecream = amazing!
While you let that condensed milk goodness course through your veins (or block your arteries, whatevs), take a seat in the market square and watch the entertainment. These little angels were cute enough to wrap up and give on Christmas Day, but I’m sure there are laws against that kinda thing. On the upside, I walked around humming acapella versions of Silent Night and Jingle Bells for the rest of the evening.
Iced tea. This is where it’s at, folks. I tried the Glühwein-flavoured version, and it was DELICIOUS! Think a slightly tropical and chilled version of mulled wine, and you’ve got the right idea. So refreshing for a Summer night in Brisbane.
As the sun dropped in the sky, the lights scattered throughout the precinct started to show.
Some of the lights are interactive too – it you cycle fast enough on the elf-bikes stationed at the large tree, the lights shine even brighter. Perfect for working off your donut, or churros, or Christmas ham and gravy roll, or German kransky, or chocolate brownies… yep, there’s plenty of food here to try!
Can you imagine anything prettier?
When all your presents have been bought, you can pop over to the lovelies at Santa’s Wrap Bar, where elves will wrap your gifts in the sweetest scandi-print wrap for a gold-coin donation to Youngcare and Hummingbird House. Good looking gifts = good karma vibes, y’all.
I kept my outfit simple and Summery with a festive twist. Muui off-shoulder ruffle chambray dress and Harris Scarfe sandals, with my market-staple giant green Louenhide bag and a sentimental favourite coral, jade and silver necklace from our engagement holiday in Port Douglas to add a little merry red and green.
Thank you to Brisbane Marketing who spoiled me with a collection of great goodies from vendors including Fox and Fallow, The Design Farm (their ontrend pieces can be found locally at Lamington on Hastings St), Curly Jo Design, and The Cocoa Elf. It’s so great to see small businesses given the opportunity to have a lot of foot traffic at markets like these, particularly when the shopping centres have such a large portion of the gift-giving market wrapped up (see what I did there). I’ll take a day at the markets over a day at a Westfield any time!
I had a great time at Southbank, and would really love to make visiting the Christmas markets an annual festive tradition – not least because it’s perfect for picking up some unique and handmade last-minute gifts! The markets are on from 11am-8pm daily through to Wednesday 23 December, except 17-21 December when they will be open until 9pm – so make a night of it and chefck out the Christmas movies showing, as well as the fireworks displays! (Hot tip, while most people are still at work at the start of this week, head to the markets on Monday or Tuesday to avoid the weekend crowds and get the chance to chat to the vendors – quieter days at markets are always my favourite.)
If you’re not local, Mantra on the Quay
has a great accommodation deal this Summer if you’re planning on visiting Brisbane to enjoy all the free events in the city:
Stay 3 nights and save up to 10% – rates start from $158 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
Stay 5 nights and save 20% – rates start from $140 per night for 1 bedroom apartment
(Offer is valid for booking and travel until 29 February 2016, subject to availability, minimum 3 night stay & 5 night stay respectively, conditions apply. Visitwww.mantra.com.au for bookings.)
Where have you purchased the bulk of your Christmas gifts from this year? Small businesses and market vendors, or larger stores? Why not experience the wonder of a traditional Christmas Market with a Brisbane twist?
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