Watching videos of Christmas parades, dreaming of a hot bowl of chicken tikka masala and admiring Christmas window displays. There is a reason why these three seemingly mutually exclusive thoughts popped into my mind, all at once on a sweater-weather kind-of-day here in the Lion City: I was taking a trip down memory lane to some of my favorite Christmassy evenings at Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, Australia! With that, I thought it’ll be fun to share another post on Christmas festivities in Brisbane.
Of course, this year’s events have either been modified or called off, but, I’m sure that the Christmas magic has not disappeared despite the changes!
Camels, Santa and Tikka Masala
One of my favorite places to dine at in Brisbane is Pig ‘N’ Whistle, a British-themed restaurant. Their al-fresco dining area also happens to be the perfect spot to admire Brisbane City’s Christmas parade, an annual festive event that is held across a handful of days prior to Christmas day. Sitting in the heart of the ‘David Jones end’ of Queen Street Mall, amongst the spectators who converge to catch the parade up-close, is incredibly uplifting. There’s nothing better than soaking in all of the excitement in the air!
Dinner commenced with starters to nibble on: mushroom arancini and calamari received thumbs-ups from everyone. After we completed munching on the starters, the evening’s highlight was about to begin! As the parade proceeded, the delicious entrees arrived. My go-to at Pig ‘N’ Whistle is a British-Indian classic: Chicken Tikka Masala. A platter consisting of chicken tikka masala, raita, chutney, rice and naan is absolutely perfect on a blissful summers evening, when the weather is cool enough for a cardigan and not sweltering hot!
The parade featured a marching band that reminds me of toy soldiers, groups of graceful dancers, and cool floats that I believe had received seals of approval by the North Pole. My personal favorite is the Three Wise Men on camels… actual camels! That’s something that you don’t see every day! Seeing camels strolling along Queen Street Mall, surrounded by shops in the heart of the bustling central shopping district is a special sight to behold! The parade concludes with Santa’s grand arrival, as he waves at the enthusiastic crowd and beams at one and all jollily. There is one mystery that I’ve yet to solve: how does Santa remain cool while wearing his thick winter coat in summer?!
The festivities don’t end when the parade wraps up and dinner is completed – a short post-dinner stroll towards the Myer Center is a MUST in the evening.
Visiting Myer’s decked windows is an annual Christmas tradition. Like the anticipation of Christmas TV ads in the UK, especially the John Lewis ad (I loved this year’s ad!), seeing the much-awaited Myer windows’ displays is treat for Brisbanites. Each window depicts a scene from a story, and a new story appears every year. One of the stories that I adored is based on a children’s Christmas book titled ‘Little Dog and the Christmas Wish’ by Corinne Fenton, which featured a cute little dog with snowy-white fluffy fur and its adventures in Melbourne. I especially love the throwback of vintage-themed Melburnian icons they showcased in the windows that year – it’s one of my favorites!
The windows are a whole lot more magical at night, hence being my favorite time of the day to admire the masterpieces. It’s kind of like reading a bedtime story in the city! When I was younger, I loved staring at illustrations in story books after re-reading them countless times. As much as I was an avid reader, I appreciated all of the little details that illustrators had included on every page. Looking at these windows bring childhood memories of sticking my nose into stories and pictures from my collection of books, and flipping through the pages. The widow displays are like giant pages from a Christmas story book, with its illustrations coming to life in front of everyone’s eyes!
I hope you enjoyed my little Christmas ‘tour’ around Queen Street Mall!