It can feel like there couldn’t possibly be an activity in Brisbane in December unrelated to Christmas. But if you’re not celebrating on the 25th – for whatever reason – there’s plenty to do. Cuddle koalas at Lone Pine sanctuary, donate your time to those who need it or kick back in the sand or at the cinema.

Go on a nature walk
Whether you’re after a leisurely walk or a hike to get the blood pumping, we’re not short of options in Brisbane and further out. Best of all, you’re likely have the trails to yourself if you head out on December 25. Here are some of the top national parks outside Brisbane to get you back to nature. If you want to stay closer to home, hiking to the top of Mount Coot-tha will reward you with iconic views without the crowds (and the Enoggera Reservoir is a great spot for a post-walk dip). Experienced walkers can combine the two in a 30-kilometre loop, but ensure you take lots of water and start early to avoid the midday heat.

Head to the beach
While other people are sweating it up in the kitchen on December 25, take advantage of the quieter roads and empty car parks along the coast and head to the beach. Busy spots like Burleigh Heads and Noosa Main Beach will fill up quickly with picnics and family get-togethers so nab a spot at a lesser known location. Here’s a list we prepared earlier of the best hidden beaches and watering holes near Brisbane. There are clear, turquoise waters and long stretches of golden sand, a surprisingly good snorkelling spot, a swimming hole that comes with a rope swing and grassy areas for post-dip lounging, and another that sits in 45 hectares of rainforest.

Feast on dumplings
Take on the North American Jewish tradition of eating Chinese on Christmas Day for a different kind of stuffing. (With so many Chinese restaurants in Brisbane staying open on December 25, we reckon it’s a ritual worth embracing.) Chow down on yum cha and seafood at Yum Cha Cuisine in Garden City or go for dumplings and noodles at Landmark Sunnybank.

Volunteer your time
Just because you aren’t celebrating, doesn’t mean you can’t get into the spirit of giving. There are plenty of volunteer programs in Brisbane that run right through Christmas Day – from spending time with an elderly person who might be alone for the holidays, to serving food and drinks to the homeless or volunteering at an animal shelter. Get in contact with your favourite local not-for-profit and see how you can help out.

Go to the movies
A good old fashioned picture show on Boxing Day is a Chrissy tradition for many families, but there are plenty of films to watch on December 25. Catch flicks like the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home; the star-studded Dune, with a cast led by Timothée Chalamet; and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which also stars Timothée Chalamet (we’re not complaining). South Bank Cineplex and Hoyts Cinemas (in Stafford, Redcliffe and Sunnybank) will be open, as will Event Cinemas in Chermside, which is screening The Matrix Resurrections and West Side Story.

Meet some furry friends
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket is open 365 days of the year, and it’s an excellent alternative to Christmas celebrations whether you visit on your own, with friends or with family. Get among the roaming kangaroos and wombats or get up close with koalas, snakes and dingoes. For more info, visit the website](https://lonepinekoalasanctuary.com/).