Christmas in Christchurch 2020

Christmas in Christchurch

This page explores Christmas related events in Christchurch – from carol services and concerts to Santa parades and festive displays. Christmas events in Christchurch are listed on the Christchurch City Council website and Eventfinda. There are also Christmas events at libraries. Browse our holiday hours.


Due to uncertainty around Covid restrictions many regular Christmas events have been cancelled.

Festive Performances

A series of live performances will take place on a pop-up stage in the central city. The stage, which will be located at Hack Circle, in City Mall, will feature performances by local musicians from midday until 4pm, from 17 until 23 December, to bring a festive flavour for shoppers and workers based in central Christchurch.

Festive Photo Pop-Up

Professional photographers and Santa’s Helpers will take the snaps and make them available to families at a free, large interactive family attraction in an area outside the Riverside Market. It will be open from Saturday 4 December, then on selected dates throughout the Christmas season, culminating on every day in the last week before Christmas Day.
Also back this year is the 11-metre high Christchurch City Mission Christmas Tree, which will be installed in front of the Bridge of Remembrance.

The Council What's on calendar has details of more Christmas and holiday events.

Lights, decorations and displays

Shands Road

650 Shands Road is famous for its annual Christmas Lightshow. It's on 8.30pm until 11.30pm nightly 27 November until 30 December 2021. Entry is $5 per child and $10 per adult.


Christchurch shops often decorate their windows and have Christmas displays. Department store Ballantynes is famous for its Christmas window. This year's window launched on Friday 19 November from 4pm with an afternoon of entertainment, a sausage sizzle and dress-up competition.

Some malls and shops may have a Santa in store to listen to kids’ gift requests, and having a photo taken on Santa’s knee is a New Zealand tradition.

Canterbury Museum - Bad Santa

For festive portraits with a difference in these unprecedented times, come and take a seat for a (socially distanced) snap with Bad Santa 2021.

Find out if you're on the naughty or nice list and plead your case for 2022. This bad Santa is open to bribes, flattery and flirtation. More grotty than grotto, don't expect the usual jolly fellow.  Runs 16, 17, 18, and 23 December.

$5 per photo, Recommended for 12 years and older

Christmas carols and music

Christmas in the Park is cancelled for 2021. The season of carols culminates with the YMCA Carols by Candlelight, taking place on Christmas Eve. This year's event is cancelled. This twilight gathering has been delighting Cantabrians and visitors every Christmas Eve since 1947.

Other carol services traditionally take place around the city. Check the CCC What's on calendar.

Christmas parades (CANCELLED)

The Christchurch Santa Parade is cancelled for 2021 as are the New Brighton Seaside Christmas Parade and Rangiora Toyota Santa Parade.

Our history of Christchurch Christmas parades has information on Christchurch’s parades dating back to the 1930s and links to photographs of the Hay’s Santa Parade.

More Christmas


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