A December to remember and a happy new year

17 November 2015

The flags will be flying, the lights will be lit, and the giant Christmas trees in Midland Park and Courtenay Place will be twinkling into the evening.

Brass band marches in parade.

A brass band marches in the Santa Parade

“The holiday season is full of fun and we love adding some Capital Christmas cheer to the city, says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “We’ll also be making life a little easier with our discounted weekend bus fares – the idea is a hit with both shoppers and retailers. For anyone feeling a bit stressed out, the gift of time and thoughtfulness is far more treasured than overspending your budget!"

Nick Tansley and his pop-up Christmas caravan return to the CBD in December to lead some impromptu carol singing sessions with help from enthusiastic passers-by. A variety of other musicians and performers will also be appearing at random around the city sharing the spirit of the silly season.

On Sunday 13 December everyone’s favourite floats roll into town for the Santa Parade. The popular family event will feature Christmas classics like bagpipes and brass bands, clowns and Chinese dragon dancers, as well as a few new surprises.

For the first time ever, there are a couple of spots for lucky children going spare in Santa’s sleigh, as well as an amazing family-fun prize package up for grabs. Listen to the Hits for competition details.

When the excitement of Santa’s early visit to Wellington is over, parade-goers can head up to Cuba Street to check out the popular thoroughfare's festive makeover and enjoy a giant gathering of street performers.

The following day, December 14, is the final day of Chanukah, and time to celebrate at the local Jewish community’s biggest event of the year – Chanukah in the Park. Food stalls, klezmer music, Israeli dancing, face painting and loads of other activities will be on offer in Midland Park from 5pm to 7pm. Chanukah in the Park is presented by the Wellington Jewish Community Centre, Temple Sinai and the Embassy of Israel, with support from the Council.

Yellow Go Wellington buses will be offering weekend fares of $1 for one zone of travel and a $2 adult fare and $1.50 child fare for two or three zones of travel, to encourage people to use buses to travel to the central city for holiday season events or Christmas shopping trips. The Council has budgeted $200,000 for this initiative.

Retail therapy will be extra tempting in December too, as along with cheaper bus fares, shops all over the city will be vying for the top spot in the Christmas window dressing competition. There are plenty of exciting prizes for voters, so shoppers are encouraged to get involved and pick the effort that most impresses.

The fun doesn’t end with Christmas, event organisers are working overtime to better Wellington’s award winning 2014/15 New Year celebration at the Frank Kitts lagoon. The lagoon area will come alive with specially commissioned illuminations, music from local legend Rodger Fox and a spectacular fireworks finale at midnight. For those who need to be tucked up in bed a little earlier, a children’s countdown is planned for 9pm.