It’s not every day that society grinds to a halt, but we’re coming up to one such day. In the period surrounding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, you’re never quite sure who’s working and who isn’t. So we’ve compiled what we know into this handy list.
When should I put my bins out?
Because both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday this year, the ACT Government says there will be no changes to streetside bin collection. Put them out on the same day as always.
The full schedule for each suburb, including rubbish, recycling and green waste bins, is on the ACT City Services website.
Help, I’ve burnt lunch. Where can I go shopping?
Most stores remain open between Christmas and the new year, but there are exceptions, so check with the respective store first.
What we do know is that supermarket chains Coles, Woolworths and Aldi will open every day except for Christmas Day. Many of the local IGA and SPAR shops will fill this void. Expect reduced hours though.
As with most of the shopping centres, the Canberra Centre has extended its trading hours in the lead-up to Christmas, but will be closed on the day itself. Westfield in Woden and Belconnen is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but visit their website for opening hours on the other days. South.Point Tuggeranong is closed on Christmas Day.
And a Christmas hamburger?
McDonald’s will remain open on Christmas Day. Happily, for those of us who left the barbecue going a bit too long, it makes for a handy backup to save the day. Domino’s Pizza may also be available, but check with the individual store. Colonel Sanders over at KFC is off playing Santa Claus for the day, so his fast food restaurants will be closed.
What about bus services?
Canberra’s buses are running on a summer holiday timetable until Sunday 29 January. Transport Canberra asks passengers to plan ahead by checking the timetable and accessing real-time information via NXTBUS.
Travel on Christmas Day is free on both bus and light rail services.
The Christmas Day bus timetable will run from 7:30 am to 5 pm with local services running every two hours, the Rapid 4 every 30 minutes and all other rapid services every hour.
Just tap on and off on the day and your card will register a $0 balance. Don’t have MyWay? Just hop on and off services – no need to pay.
Johnny came off the new trampoline. Where can I go for medical help?
The walk-in centres in Tuggeranong, Weston Creek, Inner North (Dickson), Belconnen and Gungahlin remain open from 7:30 am to 10 pm every day, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
These provide free healthcare for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses such as cuts and strains, fractures, and infections (although it’s recommended children under one year old and people with complex or serious conditions see their GP). No appointment is needed.
The ACT emergency departments at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital will operate as normal over the Christmas and new year period but expect them to be very busy.
If you’re struggling to put the food on the table, or just really need someone to talk to, these services continue around the clock.
There are a number of service providers providing emergency food relief across the ACT, including Volunteering ACT.
If you are seeking disability supports, contact the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on 1800 800 110.
If you are a carer and require emergency respite, contact the Carer Gateway, open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, on 1800 422 737.
Mental health services like Lifeline Canberra (13 11 14) are always on call for people reaching out for help at this time of year.
Lifeline CEO Colin Seery says the high volume of people reaching out for help this time of year can reflect increased personal stressors in the community, such as heightened financial pressures, increased family conflict, loneliness and isolation or the grief of having lost a loved one.
“The holidays are a significant time of the year for people who need our help,” he says.
“This period can be an emotional and psychological minefield for those of us who have experienced loss, grief, struggle, isolation and pain. The idea of togetherness traditionally associated with holidays can also exacerbate the intense loneliness many people feel.”
So, whether it’s 3 am on Christmas Day, or 11 pm on New Year’s Eve, Lifeline is ready to listen and support you.