There is more to Christmas than shopping like a barbarian.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without blowing out the electricity grid with insane displays of hallmark festivities. As long as it’s bigger and brighter than your neighbours, it’s all worth it.

And nothing in the world is as bright as the Hunter Valley Gardens this time of year.

Last year, I was given a ticket to see the show. On Australia Day (January 26 – a far cry from Christmas, yes but here’s the thing: THERE IS LIFE AFTER CHRISTMAS!) I took a trip up the Hunter way.