posted on 11 Dec 19 | by

If you’re after a thoughtful gift for someone this Christmas, why not buy a pressie that is artisan made and unique? With a vibrant community of creatives all showcasing their wares, there’s no better place to do your last minute Christmas shopping. We’ve got several markets, galleries and gift shops that have extended hours in the lead up to Christmas and you can also pick up the freshest of local produce and all your beverage supplies for the Christmas lunch. If you’re thinking of eating out for Chrissy lunch this year – we can recommend the perfect venue. 

Regardless of your needs in the lead up to Christmas, we’ve got you covered.

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Need to pull off a tasty Christmas lunch?

So it’s your turn to host the Christmas lunch and you're freaking out.  This is possibly the food and wine event of the year, such pressure!  Don't stress, sourcing quality ingredients is your secret weapon to creating a gourmet lunch the family will love.  We suggest you stock up on the finest of hams and smallgoods from Oakwood, pop into Mulberry's Fine Foods for a huge selection of local and international cheeses, grab a delicious Christmas pudding from Pud for All Seasons, pick up quality wines from BlackjackBoomtown and Bress, source bread from Sprout Bakery and quality chocolates from The Mill’s new outlet Cabosse & Feve. Hit up the produce markets in the lead up to Christmas too and your Christmas table spread will set a new family benchmark.  

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Christmas shopping can be a drag - surely there's a fun way of doing it?

Yes there is - try the Harcourt and Castlemaine Twilight markets, both taking place in the week before Christmas. Knock off the last of your Christmas shopping whilst having a mighty good time whilst you’re at it. Harcourt Twilight market taking place on 21st December 4-8pm at James Park will feature market stalls, live music by local ska band King Stone, kid’s entertainment, food trucks and licensed bars.  The Castlemaine Twilight Market is on 20th December from 4-8pm at the Western Reserve with a selection of more than 120 makers from the Castlemaine Artists Market, the Castlemaine Farmers Market and the Young Makers Market. Bring the boomerang bags, the family and your best dance moves! 

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What do you buy the person that's got it all?

Give the gift of art. The Cascade Art Christmas Show is on until 22nd December. Think red walls, ornate frames and over 100 creative artworks from local artists.  You can also find an eclectic array of one off pieces at the Market Art Summer Exhibition in Castlemaine’s Market Building or Falkner Gallery’s Christmas Collection in Castlemaine.  Shades of Gray studio is open every weekend until Christmas – here you’ll find interesting metalwork creations from candelabras and bowls to sculptures and garden art. Be creative by buying something creative. 

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Don’t want to buy stock standard gifts? Get funky gifts from these places instead.

Tribe and Corner Store Merchants will be open every day until Christmas. This is good news because both stores specialise in beautiful handmade gifts such as ceramics, jewellery, homewares and more. Tribe has gorgeous stocking fillers and Christmas trimmings made by some of the craftiest people in Central Victoria. Corner Store Merchants, across the road has designer bags, clothing, books and funky stuff for little ones and adults.  Tansley & Co. in Maldon is a great spot to find an eclectic range of vintage goods at affordable prices.  Have a wander through these gems and I’m sure you’ll be tempted to adopt the ‘one for you and one for me’ method of Christmas shopping! 

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All I want for Christmas is a no stress lunch on Christmas Day

If planning the Christmas day lunch is giving you heart palpitations, then free up your time and energy and let someone else take care of the cooking!  Book the family in for a gourmet chef cooked Christmas lunch at The Red Hill Hotel in Chewton. This historic pub has made quite a name for itself by dishing up delicious food and warm hospitality to locals and visitors. They're putting on a shared feasting lunch menu that you couldn't possibly whip up at home - it includes all the traditional stuff plus old school prawns, slow cooked lamb and a warm whisky, ginger and raisin pudding!  Wash this down with a summer Rosé in their new beer garden - say no more.  Bookings are selling fast so contact them to reserve your table or book in for next year! 

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Want to keep the kids entertained in the lead up to Christmas?

There's plenty happening to get the kids and the adults into the spirit of Christmas. The Victorian Goldfields Railway runs steam trains between Maldon and Castlemaine and Santa will be hitching a ride to spread some Christmas cheer and give out toys for the kids onboard the15th and 22nd December journeys. It doesn't get more Christmassy than carols. The Maldon Lions Club holds Carols by Candlelight in the Maldon Shire Gardens on the 21st December and the Rotary Christmas Carols take place at Victory Park Castlemaine on the 20 December - take your pick or get along to both. 

Some folks have gone to some serious effort to create a little joy for the community this year by illuminating their homes with spectacular lights and decorations.  The best way to experience them is on a Maldon Christmas Lights Tour run by Maldon Neighbourhood Centre - 17th and 21st December.  And last but not least, don't underestimate the enjoyment of the humble playground. We've got some rippers at the Botanic Gardens and Victory Park in Castlemaine, Maldon Gardens, Taradale Mineral Springs Reserve and the big slide at Vaughan Springs. 

If you need more information or inspiration, contact our friendly staff at the Visitor Information Centres in Castlemaine and Maldon.