The Ultimate Guide To Christmas Festivities In The Illawarra

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Not only is it beginning to look like Christmas, it’s beginning to feel like it too.

Now we know that all Mariah wants for Christmas is you, but all WE want for Christmas is a guide to get us on the front foot with the coordination of all the Christmassy logistics.

So to help you with your Christmas planning, here’s our ultimate guide to the silly season in the Illawarra.

From where to order your ham and seafood through to pics with Santa….get yourself organised and have some fun!


The Fold’s own elves are working on our fab Christmas Gift Guide for 2023 as we speak and will be published soon. Keep an eye out.

We LOVE supporting local of course so encourage everyone to shop and buy from a local business this Christmas – whoever you’re buying for.

Our Shopping Directory is the place to start – check it out here.

Our fab local markets are another way to help local stallholders, family businesses, artisans, producers and creators.

Here’s our Markets of the Illawarra Guide to work your way through.

And check out these special Chrissy markets:

Phew, we’re spoiled for market fun!

1 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Shopping


Pre Christmas Catch-ups

We love there are options out there for celebrating Chrissy and catching up with friends and family in the lead up to December 25.

With so many of us trying to split our time between multiple rello’s and homes over the Christmas period, being able to organise a catch-up before Christmas Day takes the pressure, don’t you think?
Here’s some of our picks for doing just that.

Penny Whistlers:: Kiama

Always a good time here. From hearty brekkies, brunches and lunches they’re also open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Book a table for your pre/post-Chrissy catch up with pals or family and take in those glorious Kiama seaside views and maybe a cocktail or glass of vino or two as well.

Crooked River Wines :: Gerringong

On the 16th of December, you can book your gang in for this award-winning dining experience. Sit back, relax and let the head chef and his team take your tastebuds on a magical Christmas journey. At $89 per person, it’s great value!

K.Malu Kitchen & Bar:: Wollongong

Every Friday from now until Christmas the crew at K.Malu Kitchen & Bar are offering a Friday lunch Christmas package. Four courses of specially curated goodness with the option to add one a 2-hour bevvy package- go on it’s Christmas, why not?

Lulu’s at the Lodge:: Jamberoo

Talk about a classic Christmas feast! From the 3rd to the 31st of December [ideal for catch-ups you missed on the big day] you can enjoy 2 or 3 courses of traditional tasty fare. We think this venue is gorge all year round and can’t wait to see it decked out in its Xmas best.

Lucia’s By The Sea Christmas Eve :: North Wollongong

Give your Christmas Eve some Italian flair! Choose from 2 or 3 courses of Italian-inspired dishes like Spaghetti burrata, crispy barramundi, mushroom cannelloni and the exciting-sounding Zuppa Inglese [sponge cake soaked in liqueur with custards]. They’ve also got a terrific kids’ menu for the Bambini.

2 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Lunch
Let Lucia’s By The Sea take care of you on Christmas Eve

Christmas Lunch

Now who likes to spend a little more time eating rather than cooking on Christmas Day?

Here’s some local restaurants offering up Chrissy lunch options so you can relax [+ not have to wash a thing up!]

Christmas Day Banquet at Balgownie Hotel:: Balgownie

Cold platters, a hot carvery, tons of desserts and no washing up! With vego and gluten-free options this one’s ideal for the whole family. Bookings are essentials so give them a call to secure your spot.

Harbourfront Christmas Day Lunch :: Wollongong

Sitting on Wollongong Harbour, we challenge you to find a prettier spot for lunch. A 3-course all-inclusive menu [yep that means booze too] with choices like cold seafood platters and eye fillet steak – luxury! For all you traditionalists, don’t worry there’s plum pudding for dessert…. although the peach Alaska does sound preeeeetty yum too.

Christmas at Headlands :: Austinmer Beach

An excellent option for our northern suburbs friends or even if you’ve got fam coming down from the big smoke and want to meet them halfway. A tasty buffet of all the classics with some fun additions like brown rice roast sweet potato & pumpkin seed salad and chocolate fudge blueberry brownie…. Drool!

Waterfront Tavern Christmas Day Lunch :: Shell Cove

Two words that go perfectly together are SEAFOOD and BUFFET. This lunch is a seafood lover’s dream! Throw in loads of carvery faves like roast meats, roast veg and salads and everyone’s happy. For afters they’ve got a wonderful choice of desserts including cheese and crackers, perfect if you’re the type who loves to finish on a little bit of the savoury – chomp chomp.

Christmas Day Buffet Lunch at Woonona Bulli RSL:: Woonona

Bookings are open for this spread and will fill up fast so get movin’. There’s sparkling wine on arrival, seafood and a carvery, veg, salad, desserts and even options for the kids. Oh, and kiddos under 5 eat free, nice!

Christmas Day Spectacular at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach:: Wollongong

This lunch is set to be spectacular! A traditional Christmas buffet with all the trimmings, accompanied by a 3-hour drinks package. Indulge in seafood, roast meats, vegetables, salads, and desserts. It’s also an excellent choice for families, offering children’s gifts, activities, and a special visit from Santa. Book a spot on the deck for top-notch ocean views or in one of the lovely indoor spaces.

3 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Events
The seafood buffet at Waterfront Tavern

Ham it up

Did you know there is a Christmas carol called Whence Is That Lovely Fragrance Wafting?

We’re pretty sure it was written about Christmas ham – yuuuum!

Click here to check out our list of where to buy ham, turkeys and all your Chrissy carnivore needs locally.

The more glaze the better, we say….and don’t even get us started on 101 ways to eat the leftovers!

4 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Ham

Seafood Scrumptiousness

Getting to call this coastal part of the world home is just the bees knees! Especially when it comes with the added bonus of having delicious seafood right at our fingertips.

Here’s our guide to buying seafood locally this Christmas.

Those lobsters aren’t going to eat themselves, you know!

5 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Seafood


It’s so great to see all our traditional Christmas events back on the program again, and we are loving some new ones too!

The Illawarra is starting to look and feel super festive.

The SantaFest Pub Crawl is back and raising funds for charity – fun and philanthropic!

There’s plenty of local family carols by candlelight events to head to. The Albion Park Carols by Candlelight are back again this year with all your fave carol classics, food vendors and markets for last-minute stocking stuffers.

We’re also super excited for the Grand Christmas Street Parade in Berry. Watch Berry turn merry then head over to the Rotary Nature Play Park for Santa photos and a sausage sizzle.

There’s plenty of live performances and productions too, including a Christmas Gala Performance at Wollongong Town Hall- how fabulous!

And if you want to get into the Christmas spirit by doing something creative or crafty, check out these fab workshops – everything from decorating gingerbread houses to making your own gorgeous Chrissy wreath.

And we love love love a cheeky raffle in the lead up to Christmas. Anything to take the pressure off the bank balance. There’s so many happening locally – you can win yourself hams, seafood, toys and stacks more – have a look at them all here and get amongst it. Gotta be in it to win it!

There’s so many Christmas themed events happening right across the Illawarra – we’ve listed well over 100! – be sure to check them all out in our Event Directory. Don’t miss out!

6 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Events Carols Workshops

Oh, and if you’re wanting to grab that annual pic with Santa while you’re out and about, here’s a list of places the big bloke in red will be visiting for photos in the lead up to the big day.

Christmas in the Illawarra….


7 The Fold Illawarra Guide To Christmas Santa Photos

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