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From the Lights of Lobethal to the Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt, you'll find plenty of Christmas spirit in the Adelaide Hills - here’s our guide to all the magical events and experiences this festive season.

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Image: Lobethal Living Nativity during the Lights of Lobethal Festival

Home to Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, Hahndorf, and a number of German townships, the Adelaide Hills region is the perfect place for a complete immersion of festive fun – the Germans are known for magical Christmas experiences! 

Markets and Family Fun

The Lights of Lobethal have been attracting visitors and locals far and wide to the town to ignite that festive feeling for over 60 years. Many enjoy this activity as a tradition that marks the start of the Christmas season. From 10-30 December, the largest community Christmas light display in the Southern Hemisphere will light up your hearts with their gorgeous displays. Fill the car with family, friends and Christmas tunes and see this year’s lights in style. Visit the living nativity from 10-23 December (two performances nightly) and catch the Christmas pageant parade on Saturday 23 December.

 

Lobethal-Lights

Image: Lights of Lobethal

Lobethal Christmas Pageant 5

Image: Lobethal Christmas Pageant

 

Hahndorf will be the place to be on the weekend of 15-17 December with the Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market), a European-style Christmas market complete with light displays, festive market stalls, live entertainment, food and drink stands and more! See the Facebook page and Facebook event listing for all the details. The township itself will be transformed into the Hahndorf Christmas Village on this celebratory weekend - this is your chance to discover Hahndorf like you've never seen it before with traders open late for last minute gift shopping, restaurants and cafes available for tasty meals, wineries pouring to quench your thirst, and a whole lot of entertainment guaranteed to delight all ages. Be sure to check out the artisan markets at the Hahndorf Academy and Christmas Bazaar markets at St Michael's Lutheran Church where you'll find an amazing range of handcrafted items at each. If you’re up for a whole weekend of Christmas cheer, why not stay a night or two to enjoy all that Hahndorf (The Super-Powered Christmas Edition) has to offer?

 

Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt

Image: Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt

 

The Meadows 2 Day Christmas Market is held 11-12 November at the Meadows Memorial Hall (9am-4pm daily) - it's a terrific place to get some Christmas shopping done early with market stalls, Christmas specials, facepainting, buskers and other entertainment (including a visit from Santa).

The Mount Pleasant Christmas Twilight Farmers Market will be on Firday 22 December from 5pm until 9pm.

 

Christmas Pageants and Carols

There are many Christmas pageants and carol nights in the towns and villages of the Adelaide Hills but here are just some of the highlights:

On Sunday November 12 the Stirling Christmas pageant brings magic to this stylish garden township just 20 minutes from Adelaide city. "A Fairytale Christmas" Pageant commences at 11.30am with some exciting floats travelling the main route along Mt Barker Road and heading to the Stirling Oval for the Spring Fair where there will be a range of family friendly activities including sideshows, bouncy castles, giant slide, pony and camel rides, animal nursery, nature play workshop and Hills Toy Library activities. Music entertainment will be on stage from 12 until 3.30pm.

 

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Stirling Christmas Pageant (credit Stirling Business Association/Darren Clements)

The Mount Barker Christmas Pageant is on Saturday December 2 at 10:30am and later that day is the Mount Barker Carols in the Park - a great family event held at Keith Stephenson Park kicking off at 5pm and featuring local artists and the Mount Barker Big Band - with special guest Peter Combe and fireworks to top it all off.

For a Christmas pageant with a German twist, head to Hahndorf on Friday 8 December for a procession featuring St. Nicholas departing St Paul's Church at 7pm. Led by the Hahndorf Town Band, the parade will conclude at the Hahndorf Academy lawn where children will learn of the legend of St. Nicholas and his generosity. After everyone has joined in with the traditional Christmas singing, the children will receive a gingerbread gift from St. Nicholas, and the adults can enjoy tea, coffee and cake, with entertainment from the Hahndorf Town Band.

Sinclair’s Gully’s Carols Under the Candlebark at Norton Summit is another great event that will get your festive spirit tingling on 17 December. Wear your Christmas best or something red and enjoy a BYO picnic and nibbles at this sustainable winery and eco cellar door while you sing along to your favourite carols with the musical stylings of coloratura soprano Kathryn Snape as the sun sets in the towering candlebark forest. Find all the details here and pick up a ticket for a night under the stars here.

 

Christmas Favourites

The Hahndorf Candlemaker in Hahndorf's main street is the place to visit for an enchanting window display of Christmas decorations and traditional German Christmas pyramids. Their range of German folk art is imported all the way from Seiffen, Germany. Learn about the tradition of wood-carving and pick up an ornament or two for the tree!

Head to Melba's Chocolates and Confectionery, an Adelaide Hills institution located in Woodside for special twilight trading hours and activities in the lead-up to Christmas (16-23 December from 9am until 10pm, then 9am until 4:30pm on December 24). As well as the incredible range of traditional chocolate and confectionery treats there will be free fun activities for the whole family - from face painting, colouring competitions and special demonstrations through to garden games and appearances from Father Christmas. It's worth a trip on its own but why not combine with the Lights of Lobethal for a truly magical (and delicious) night out? Melba's is closed on 25 and 26 December.

 

Melba's Chocolates celebrates Christmas in Woodside, Adelaide Hills

Christmas Celebrations at Melba's in Woodside

 

Hills Gift Inspiration

With the Adelaide Hills being a hub for all the holiday season fun, select from our picks of thoughtful Christmas gifts:

Festive Hills Hamper

Put together a hamper of your favourite Adelaide Hills produce for that special someone. It’s as easy as heading up and down the main street of townships such as Hahndorf or Stirling and picking out your favourite local treats including wine, craft beer and cider! Better yet, embark on the Plentiful Pickings Trail by picking up a cooler bag and ice sheet for $35 from the Adelaide Hills Visitor Information Centre in Hahndorf and use the accompanying discount vouchers worth over $40 to stock it and create that perfect gift. Or give the bag and vouchers and let your loved one have the fun of collecting up the goodies.

ChocoVino Wine and Chocolate Matching Experience Voucher

Wine and chocolate go hand in hand and the ChocoVino experience is destined to please your family and friends this Christmas. Hahndorf Hill Winery just a few minutes out of Hahndorf offers vouchers for purchase so you can give the gift of deliciousness with ease. 

Cheesemaking Class Voucher

Woodside Cheese Wrights in Woodside offers participants cheesy bliss with a lively and educational class from Kris Lloyd.  Udder Delights in Hahndorf offers premium cheese-making classes with participants making Feta, Camembert, and learning how to make whey into Ricotta. The experience includes a cheese and wine masterclass, cake and coffee, and a wheel of Udder Delights cheese to take home. 

Cooking Classes

Sticky Rice Cooking School in Stirling provides a hands-on cooking experience with participants creating restaurant-quality Asian-inspired dishes. Vouchers can be purchased on the website. Rilka’s Kitchen in Hahndorf also offers cooking class vouchers - another dream gift for foodies in your life, especially those into no added sugar and gluten free cooking!

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 Image: Sticky Rice Cooking School, Stirling (SA Tourism Commission)

Spa Day Vouchers

If you know someone in need of a pamper day, a voucher to the Stables Day Spa at the picturesque Mount Lofty House in Crafers is the way to go!