Story sponsored by City Renewal Authority.
There's nothing quite like a Canberra Christmas. From the beautiful warm weather, to the bustling city centres, to the glass of wine with a much-loved friend or relative.
Yes, there's a lot to love about the festive season in the nation's capital. However, this year is not like others in recent memory.
Not only do we need to be mindful of social distancing when we're doing our Christmas shopping and planning our get togethers, we also have to think about the impact COVID-19 has had on our local economy.
After shutdowns, economic downturns and employee furloughs, our region's small businesses and retailers need us, now more than ever.
That is why the City Renewal Authority is calling on all of us to shop local this year - where possible - and support our favourite shops in the city centre. That way, we can all have a Merry Christmas.
So, in that spirit, we decided to ask five well known business people what they love most about Christmas in the Capital and what their hot tips are for shoppers this year:
1 - Kellie from Elite Massage Solutions
The first business person we asked was Kellie from Elite Massage.
Kellie may be a woman with a serious mission - to 'improve the way we move' and enhancing our overall health and wellbeing through massage therapy - but she also absolutely loves the silly season.
"I love the City vibe and buzz around Christmas time," she said.
"The city is lit up with fairy lights during the night making it feel warm and welcoming and during the day the sun is out," she went on.
"People are smiling and in a cheerful mood because holidays are also just around the corner."
And what was her top tip for shoppers:
"Be kind and support local small businesses! This year it's more important than ever before!" she said.
2 - Gerald from Verity Lane Market
Verity Lane Market is Canberra's gastronomic ground zero! It's a magnificent food hall featuring chef-driven cuisine and world-class drinks right in the heart of Canberra.
With three distinct vendors currently on offer, there's something for every appetite. But why does owner Gerald love Christmas in the Capital so much?
"I love the proximity to friends and family in Canberra," he said.
"Christmas is an excuse to give thanks and gather together (in a socially responsible way) and enjoy life in the ACT."
And what is his advice for punters?
"We always do a barbecue on Christmas with a couple of friends," he said.
"The weather is just perfect and the produce is really outstanding this time of year."
3 - Rachael from Craft ACT
'Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre' is a not-for-profit membership-based organisation which supports artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers.
They promote and celebrate excellence and innovation in contemporary craft in everything they do. So with all of those positive creative vibes, is it any wonder Rachael loves Christmas so much?
"I love our regular Christmas shoppers," she said.
"These generous Canberrans come to do their gift shopping year after year at Craft ACT and it's so nice to catch up every festive season," she continued.
So what is her tip for shoppers? Well some ideas for presents of course!
"A lot of my family and friends receive a beautiful handprinted, locally designed linen tea towel each Christmas by artists including Annie Trevilian and Julie Ryder. They are little affordable pieces of art which are functional and bring beauty to your kitchen every day!" she said.
She also said that Craft ACT had a wide range of products on sale and that when you purchased one you "give the gift that gives twice", once to your loved one and again to the arts community of Canberra by ensuring the studio's continued survival.
4 - Chris from M.J. Bale
Founded by Matt Jensen in 2009, M.J. Bale is an Australian owned menswear brand that revolves around quality: Quality of product and quality of in-store experience.
It's no wonder M.J. Bale is so popular with the spiffiest looking gents who frequent the Canberra Centre.
Men who like to look sharp love M.J. Bale, almost as much as Chris loves a Canberra Christmas.
"I love all the decorations through the Canberra Centre and City!" he said.
"I also love all the variety of product available during the festive season."
He also had some advice for local shoppers this year.
"You can't go wrong with a little bit of decadence," he said.
"I believe you should always treat someone with something they wouldn't buy for themselves. Taking that risk pays off more often than not!"
Not bad advice at all!
5 - Blake from Landspeed Records
Established in the glorious year of 1994, Landspeed Records is Canberra's longest running independent record store.
With the city's largest range of new an old vinyl - sourced from all over the nation and the world - as well as a wide range of CDs, DVDs and band merch, it's little wonder this hip little hangout has become a Civic icon.
But what does Blake love so much about a Canberra Christmas?
"I love the buzz and the excitement of Christmas in the city," he said.
"Even though everyone is rushing around and a bit frantic most people are still in really great spirits."
And what was his tip for shoppers this Christmas? (Aside of course from buying an "Audio Technica ATLP60 record player", which he assures us is "the perfect entry level player" to "the wonderful world of vinyl!")
"While it's always good to shop locally, it's especially important in 2020 as it has been such an incredibly tough year for small businesses in Canberra," he said.
"Not only does the money you spend get reinvested in the local community you could also be ensuring the business is still around for next Christmas!"
Story sponsored by City Renewal Authority.