Snow is synonymous with Christmas mythology but modern Australia is steeped in signature Christmas traditions all its own. Backyard cricket, meat sweats, wasps on the seafood and granny snoring on the spare bed after a potent eggnog are all commonplace.
And Christmas Carols on balmy nights are too.
In some neighbourhoods today, you’ll find Christmas Carols kicking off all the way back in November. Some are televised and heavily sponsored and some are barely bigger than the backyard.
Whether your bag is a Denis Walter vibe or a rootsier celebration on a smaller scale, hit Sydney in the build up to Christmas and the diversity of the Carols experience is easy to find.
Here are four events with distinct personalities.
Carols by the Sea
This annual event, set in the idyllic surrounds of Bondi Park, adds a coastal signature to Christmas celebrations.
This year, you can throw down a picnic while you enjoy entertainment from young local performers and you can participate alongside the community to a range of Christmas standards.
If you have family in tow, face painting, glow sticks and a sausage sizzle are all on the cards and you can take heart in the knowledge all your pennies go to local charities.
When: In December, TBC
How much: free
Alexandria Village Christmas Concert
Alexandria Park Oval, with its surrounding parklands, makes a picturesque setting for the Alexandria Village Christmas Concert. Evergreen kids entertainer Jimmy Giggle is slated to host this year’s event and family-friendly performances from Nay Nay Let’s Play, The Listies, the Australian Girls Choir and Caravana Sun are scheduled, alongside a skyload of fireworks.
While you’re enjoying the grassy summer ambience, you can also pick up a Christmas showbag, enjoy a BBQ and gelato and lock in bragging rights on a free table tennis table.
When: December 7, 6:30pm-8:30pm
How much: Free
Carols under the Bridge
The Sydney Opera House makes a jewel of a backdrop at Milsons Point Christmas celebration, Carols Under the Bridge. Hosted by local church group Church by the Bridge, the event takes place (unsurprisingly) beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge, where a growing audience has congregated for since the celebration’s inception near the start of the century.
By attending this much-loved Carols event, you’ll be joining some thousands of tourists, families and picnic-lovers who flock for the emphasis on community and togetherness above the commerciality of Christmas celebrations.
Parades, performances and the Carols themselves are some of the historical hallmarks of this event, and food trucks and kids activities abound.
Carols under the Bridge is an ideal event to attend if you want some lively atmosphere without crushing overcrowding.
When: December 15
How much: Free
Carols at the House
For a bigger scale Christmas Carols event, it’s hard to overlook Sydney Opera House event Carols at the House. A shower of 500 voices from the Sydney Philharmonia choirs and a bevy of special guests will blend with the symphony orchestra to fill the Concert Hall with an epic sense of life.
If you’re seeking to enjoy a more indulgent Carols experience, Carols at the House also accommodates with prepaid food and drinks sets that include charcuterie packs, cheese plates and wine. You can also book an early-morning backstage tour of the house if you’re especially keen to sponge up the setting.
At showtime, song sheets are available too, meaning you can voice how in key you are on Silent Night (fingers crossed).
Whether you bring your family or friends, the Opera House is a memorable venue for a grand-scale Christmas experience.
When: Sat Dec 7 to Sunday December 9
How much: $38-$117