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While the northern hemisphere is accustomed to celebrating a white Christmas, in South Africa, shorts and flip flops are the order of the day. Christmas time in SA is synonymous with frequent trips to the beach, fun-filled pool parties, plenty of braais and outdoor picnics. Here are a few ways you can spend the merriest of seasons in the Mother City.
Celebrate the beginning of the festive season at the official switch on of the Christmas lights in the heart of Cape Town. On December 4, Adderley Street will be transformed into a big street party with live music and numerous stalls selling everything from Christmas gifts to food under the colorful, twinkling lights.
Feel the Christmas spirit by singing Christmas Carols under the stars at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden (December 15 – 18). Pre-carol entertainment will be provided by the Cape Town Concert Brass and the Cape Town Male Voice Choir. Out in Somerset West, the Vergelegen Wine Estate will be hosting their annual Carols by Candlelight and Christmas pageant in their picturesque grounds on December 14. Bring along a picnic basket and enjoy the festive ambiance. In Stellenbosch, conductor Richard Cock and tenor Siyabonga Maqungo will entertain eager Christmas carolers at the Oude Libertas Amphitheater on December 17 and 18. Sing along to traditional Christmas songs performed by the festival choir, orchestra and soloists.
Shopping for Christmas gifts at a Christmas market is a lot more fun than manoeuvring through the long queues and madding crowd at the shopping mall this time of the year. Thankfully, in December there are plenty of pop-up Christmas markets around the city where you can find everything from Christmas decorations to handmade gifts.
In Cape Town, many families celebrate Christmas at home with gift giving, a traditional Christmas lunch or dinner, and lots of merriment. If you’re from the northern hemisphere, however, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the balmy weather, so consider finding a good spot at one of the city’s gorgeous beaches and enjoy a festive picnic in the fresh air and sunshine.
Unless you really enjoy cooking, this is one day of the year you should not be slogging away behind a hot stove. Instead, go to one of the many restaurants and wine estates offering special Christmas lunches and dinners around Cape Town.
What better way to end off Christmas than by watching a festive movie under the stars on Christmas night. Bring a friend and head to Kirstenbosch Garden where the Galileo Open Air Cinema will be screening Elf, a quirky Christmas comedy starring Will Ferrell.