Every year (since having children) I get excited about seeing Brisbane with new eyes at Christmas. The Christmas Parade and Christmas Tree in King George Square can look the same year after year, but when you have children, you see the same sights with new eyes. To the girls, the parade and lit up tree is magic and I delight in the joy on my girls’ faces as they watch the parade and marvel at the lights on City Hall. Brisbane does Christmas well… but boy, doesn’t everyone know it with every woman, man and their tribe, trekking the Queen St mall, scoping for a space to get the best view of the parade.
Our family tradition starts with a visit to Myer Giftorium where the girls have a ride on the Santa Express train. We bought a few Christmas decorations for next year because I had a gift voucher that needed to be used before Christmas Eve and all my gift shopping had been completed. Hurrah!
We had slight meltdowns by Phoebe while we waited in line for the Santa Express. Once the older sisters were on board, we had fun waving hello and goodbye as the train made it’s loop.
After choosing our new decorations, I got Jacob to buy the ornaments while I headed to the toy section of Giftorium to please daughter number 1 and 3. After ten or so minutes, I couldn’t see Jacob or Maggie anywhere. After some missed calls, Jacob had thought I had headed down to the mall to get a spot for the parade. The parade started at 6:30pm and I had mentioned we would need to be down in the mall by 5:30pm to get a spot. Thankfully Jacob and Maggie had gone down to save a spot.
We headed down to Albert Street of the mall where Jacob had secured a near the front spot, but it was warm and slightly crowded as people started to mill around to wait for the parade. There were people EVERYWHERE. It was a bit insane.
To entertain the kids, I gave them my stash of spare snacks. Of course, the kids ate through them all so I offered to get something more substantial from Hungry Jacks. 🙂
It took me five minutes to walk 20 meters to Hungry Jacks and of course the line was out the door with various other teens and mums lining up for the same reason. Just a bit further down, on the corner of Albert and Elizabeth Street is an express McDonalds where there was no line and the food came out pretty quick. I silently patted myself on the back for thinking on my feet. All those years of working in the city with my dad paid off after all.
While in line, I made small talk to another mum who obviously had the same goal as me – to keep the kids entertained with junk food before the parade started. We were slightly dazed and admitted we were ridiculously stupid for coming in on a Saturday night where it took five loops of the Myer Centre Car Park to get a park, to then standing in a crowd with tantruming kids who had no idea the amount of effort it took to get them into the city to watch the parade in the first place.
I made it back to our standing spot and within minutes the parade started.
Phoebe was delighted.
She also loved concentrating on placing the straw in and out of a lemonade cup which meant I got to watch the whole parade uninterrupted.
After the parade, we headed to the Myer windows and from there we waited in line to get the girls a balloon and then we headed to City Hall to watch the Lights Spectacular. We decided to give the Pantomime a miss this year.
Despite the effort it took for us to get into the city and fighting the crowds, the experience was worth it for the girls.
Just someone remind me to book dinner at JoJo’s next year so we can view the parade without the huge crowds.
Do you have any family traditions at Christmas? Did you get to see the Christmas events in Brisbane this year?