CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS
You could hardly find a destination more Christmassy than Melrose Arch in the festive season with the upmarket shopping and dining precinct transformed into a Christmas wonderland with the most impressive Christmas illuminations in town. There's also a festive night market in the precinct from Wed Dec 2 to Sat Dec 5 15:00-21:00.
The Festival of Lights at Joburg Zoo, now in its second year, lights up every evening (except Mondays) with the zoo's main pathways decorated with enchanting light display, complemented by a night market and a packed programme of live music, theatre and dance performances. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics (strictly no alcohol) and there's also a selection of food and drink stalls on the night.
Each week sees a different live cultural entertainment programme running as follows: Nov 22–29 Joburg Ballet and Timothy Moloi, Dec 1–6 children's theatre by Peoples Theatre, Dec 8–13 Art of Dance, Dec 15–20 Tribhanghi Indian Dance Company, Dec 22–27 (closed Dec 25) carols singing with Sempre Opera, Dec 31 and Jan 1 live music with Shef & the Kitchen, Bongi and iComplete. Tickets cost R150, kids R75, pensioners R90 and can bought online here.
From Dec 1–24 from 18:00–22:00
The Wonderland of Lights at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens promises a family-fun Christmas season packed with all that is glittery and festive with more than 100 of the most dazzling illuminations lighting up the park from 18:00-22:00 daily, complemented by gift shopping stalls, food vendors and kids entertainment.
To keep an eye on numbers and abide by protocols this event is ticketed. You can buy your tickets in advance online here (a ticket dedicated ticket desk will also be open from 16:00). Tickets cost R80, pensioners R70, kids R50, family of four ticket R220.
Brixton Light Festival
Sunday December 6 from 18:00–21:00
A beautiful community event that is hosted this year for the first time at Brixton's Kingston Frost Park. Organised by a collective of local community groups including church, theatre, art and dance groups as well as the Roving Bantu Kitchen and the Chung Wah Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe, this event will see a socially distanced lantern procession making its way through the park at sunset.
Over three consecutive weekends in December Market on Main brings some urban flavour and fab local brands to the northern suburbs with their pop-up market series at Design Quarter in Fourways. The festive markets kick off on Fridays with a night market and continue on Saturdays and Sundays with a day market from 12:00 to 17:00. With an emphasis on small business and local makers and artisans this is a brilliant place to support small this festive season with lots of great gifts, decor and design, fashion and deli food stuffs as well as tasty food and drinks stalls.
The Melrose Arch precinct, famed for its spectacular annual Christmas lights display, presents its annual Destination Christmas night Market this week. Open from 15:00-21:00 with loads of stalls selling decor and gifts, special handcrafted items, jewellery, ladies’ and kids’ clothing, toys, homeware, accessories and more and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Also look out for a performance by the Jeppe Pipe Band playing festive favourites on Fri Dec 4 at 18:45.
The Field Market Christmas EditionSaturday Dec 5
Post lockdown the monthly Field Market has moved from Sandton's Field & Study centre and out into its own place in Lanseria (search The Field Market @ Lanseria on your GPs to find the new venue). As with their old venue there's a focus on the outdoors with loads of space for kids to run around and dedicated spaces for enjoying lazy picnics. For gift shopping there are dozens of stalls selling local handmade items including decor pieces and deli products, lots of specialised Christmas stalls, plus gourmet food and drinks and live music.
Saturday Dec 5 from 10:00-15:00
Walala Wasala (meaning essentially ''you snooze you lose" in Zulu) is a regular pop-up market launched by the same team who created the famous Market on Main. The market takes place in the lovely gardens that surround the 27 Boxes centre in Melville and is dedicated to showcasing local design and culinary talent. A 'collective of creative niceness' as they put it themselves. At the last market of the year expect plenty of talented local makers and bakers, a broad choice of artisanal foodstuffs, street food stalls, vintage fashion, handmade gifts and cool local design brands. It's also a brilliant place to take the family with a great kids play area.
One of Joburg's biggest weekly markets, there's no shortage of great gifts to be found plus plenty of food stalls and a festive atmosphere at this always-popular event. In addition to their regular weekly markets (including the brilliant Car Boot Sale which sees close to a hundred car boot sale traders joining on the last two Sundays of the month), on Sunday December 6 the market hosts a special Christmas market edition on the rooftop of Rosebank Mall.
Going all out to make this a festive event to remember for the kids there's a photo booth where they can get their pictures taken with Santa, free face painting, a jumping castle, stilt walkers and balloon makers. For those looking for Christmas decor and gifts you are spoiled for choice. Don't miss the special stalls offering personalised decorations and Christmas cakes and get in the Christmas spirit with a Christmas themed cocktail from the bar.
Celebrating the festive season, this year instead of its weekly Tuesday Moonlight Markets, Bryanston Markets presents a series of afternoon and evening Christmas Markets happening daily from December 15-18 from 15:00 until 19:00, followed by the final Saturday market of 2020 on Saturday December 19 (09:00-15:00).
Very much a family-orientated event this is always a fantastic place to bring the kids and this year is no different with a daily festive Children's Theatre (twice daily at 16:00 and 17:00) featuring a Jesting Juggler, Sergio’s enchanting Magic Show, a charming Puppet Show and Christmas Carols. There are also a range of festive-themed arts and crafts activities for kids to take part in including candle making, treasure box painting, Christmas cookie decoration, card making and ornament decoration.
In addition to the most beautiful selection of unique handmade Christmas gifts and decorations to shop, there are lots of delicious food stalls making this a lovely place to enjoy some festive shopping and an early dinner outdoors with friends. Entrance to the Christmas Markets costs R10.
Pretoria's oldest and biggest antiques and collectables Christmas event, the Brooklyn Square Rooftop Antique Fair at Pretoria's Brooklyn Square mall, returns for another grand Christmas edition on Wednesday December 16 (the Reconciliation Day public holiday). If you love hunting for treasures and collecting antique bric-a-brac this is a must-visit event with an incredible array of unusual art, toys, books, costume jewellery and accessories, vintage clothing, antique furniture, kitchenware, collectable glass and porcelain and more!
In addition to the antiques on sale, this year's fair also features a new artisanal foods and crafts market area with tasty deli food and drinks stalls as well as Christmas cakes, bakes and biscuits and luxurious handmade chocolates. You can also find plenty of stalls selling some beautiful handcrafted items like linens, embroidery work, decor items (including some lovely Christmas decorations), spa products and cute children's clothing. Find out more here.