‘Tis the night before Christmas, the stockings are hung, the whisky is out with carrots for the reindeer, the shops are shut and suddenly, you realise how deeply in you’re in the… well, you know where you are.
Never fear, armed with just an Internet connection and a printer, here’s Business Insider’s handy guide to instant Father Christmas.
For music lovers
Handa Opera on the Harbour is Sydney at its best – an outdoors performance by Opera Australia, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as part of the backdrop.
This year it’s Turandot, of ‘Nessun Dorma’ fame, and the evenings, between March and April range from just a seat to a sunset dinner looking out over the harbour and champagne at the interval.
Alternatively, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra has subscription series in Sydney and Melbourne, and you can choose between three and all six concerts, which includes Mozart’s Requiem with 100 voices.
For the foodie in your life, the Sydney Seafood School holds regular cooking classes with Australia’s best chefs. Get a voucher and they can choose which chef. The prices range from $90 for a 2-hour class, up to $165 for 4 hours, which includes sitting down to share the meal you’ve cooked.
In Melbourne, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March is always one of the hottest tickets in town and for wine lovers, the best fun will be a showdown between Oregon and Australian pinot noirs. Tickets are just $45.
Tasmania is a gourmet hotspot and Rodney Dunn’s The Agrarian Kitchen, about an hour out of Hobart, is one of the best cooking schools in the country. Cooking classes are not cheap, at $385 each, but they are pretty special and the gift certificates last for two years, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to head south, this is a good one.
For the action man or woman in your life, Adrenalin specialises in things that go fast, from V8 cars and rallying – and defensive driving, to help you survive those roundabouts – to skydiving, hot-air ballooning, jet packs and fighter jet flights, as well as shark dives, golf lessons.
If you can’t decide on a specific stomach-churning ride, print out a gift certificate.
It’s the season of giving, so why not make a charity donation?
How can anyone be mad at you when you say you’ve bought them a goat ($45)?
Aid organisation Care Australia helps communities stand on their own feet and you can make a difference, such as helping educate a child, for as little as $10.
Closer to home, food rescue organisation OzHarvest helps feed people who can’t always afford to feed themselves. Just $10 is enough to deliver 20 meals, $20 feeds someone 3 times a day for two weeks. As everyone tucks into plenty of food on Christmas Day, enough the feeling of knowing you’ve shared that bounty.
Alternatively, the Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people, aged 7 to 17, which helps them find a voice in the world. You could help give the next Toni Morrison or JK Rowling their start.
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