Auckland's CBD is putting Covid-19 aside and bringing out the bling to celebrate Christmas.
Light artist Angus Muir has created illuminated decorations along Queen St and lighting on the Farmer's Building that are now lit each night from 8pm, along with Christmas decorations and banner flags.
To get people into the festive mood and the tills ringing, the central city has a jam-packed schedule of events and displays, including the Santa Parade on November 29 and All Blacks Experience at SkyCity from December 2.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said the CBD has been through a perfect storm in 2020, feeling the impact of large-scale construction problems followed by Covid-19.
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The pandemic has seen the loss of international tourists and students, emptied office towers with people working from home, and brought the curtain down on the International Arts Festival midstream.
But with Christmas on its way, not to mention the city's dreaded cones being taken away, Beck said the city centre will be the ideal location for shopping at Queen St, Commercial Bay, Britomart and around High St.
The new Commercial Bay mall and eating precinct features a contemporary Christmas installation, Smith and Caughey's have a new pop-up Christmas shop, there will be new Christmas markets, APO for kids at the Auckland Town Hall and the Royal New Zealand Ballet will perform Sleeping Beauty at the Aotea Centre.
Among the merriment, one notable Christmas stalwart will be missing - the city's iconic Santa, who towered over Aucklanders each festive season for the best part of 60 years, will be missing.
Last year was his last appearance atop the Farmers Building in Queen St, and his retirement resting place will become clear next week.
Beck said Christmas would be followed by the America's Cup and while it would not be the same international event hoped for, it will be a great opportunity for Kiwis to celebrate.