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Balmoral Carols by Candlelight, 2014

It’s become a lovely tradition that every year on the last Saturday before Christmas, our bestest friends come together to join us at the Balmoral Carols by Candlelight.  It’s an event enjoyed by families of all ages (we had all three of our children at the Carols), and also an event that’s a fantastic community get-together.

The rotunda

The rotunda

The Balmoral Carols have been running for around 20 years.  They are organised by St Clements Anglican Church and aided and assisted by Mosman Council.  The Carols are held on the grassy area near the Balmoral Rotunda where you can comfortably sit and enjoy a vista of Balmoral Beach.

A beautiful afternoon

A beautiful afternoon

What I love about these carols is that dogs are allowed to be present and so every year we take our girls so they, even though deaf, can enjoy the singalong.  They’re also good for sitting on your lap and keeping you warm when the sun goes down and the temperature drops.

A favourite friend

A favourite friend


The Carols don’t start until 7.45pm (have to wait until it’s starting to get dark), but the event is not just about singing Christmas carols but also about socialising.

Setting up for the carols

Picnickers setting up their territory

We organise to meet our friends at the Rotunda at around 5pm where we stake out a bit of territory then set up our picnic table and chairs.  Everyone contributes one savoury dish for everyone to share.  This year we had a wonderful variety of dishes including Thai fish cakes, marinated chicken bites with a spiced yoghurt sauce, prosciutto wrapped in crostini, chicken sandwiches and I brought a porcini mushroom pate to serve on toasted Turkish bread.

View of the beach from the rotunda

View of the beach from the rotunda

This year we managed to stake out an excellent piece of real estate being sheltered from the harsh sunshine by a giant fig tree and nestling right behind the sound desk where straight ahead we had a clear view of the Rotunda where the carols were being performed.

True love

True love

Once all assembled we started the night with a celebratory glass of champagne, pink at that.  My friend Rachel had brought her iron skewers that are staked into the ground and you can rest your glass in them.  Excellent!  (Would love to buy some if I could find out where you get them).

A metal stake to rest your wine

A metal stake to rest your wine

We had a great time of mingling while catching up with the besties as well as meeting up with other friends and families all celebrating the same event.  Then it was time for the carols so we took our seats and tried to light the candles.  Alas, it was a bit of a challenge because a southerly swept through and not only did it become unseasonably cold, the wind kept blowing out the candles.

Thai fish cakes with dipping sauce

Thai fish cakes with dipping sauce

Marinated chicken bites

Marinated chicken bites

Never mind, we managed.  And we had a great singalong with a lot of favourites and many classics and a mix for the kids.

Prosciutto and salami wrapped in crostini

Prosciutto and salami wrapped in crostini

The best chicken sandwiches

The best chicken sandwiches

After an hour or so of caroling and waving our candles in the night sky, it was time for the last carol, my favourite, O Holy Night.

Porcini mushroom pate with toasted Turkish bread

Porcini mushroom pate with toasted Turkish bread

Like most carols’ events around the country, carols by candlelight are free events put on by local churches and the councils and many volunteers to bring Christmas cheer to the community.  Song books and candle packs can be purchased for a nominal fee with all funds raised going to charity.  Carols by Candlelight events around the country are events well worth supporting, not only for the funds raised but because of the great night out for family and friends and the overwhelming sense of community.

An event greatly supported by the community

An event greatly supported by the community

I can’t wait until next year!

Comments

  1. oh this sounds so lovely charlie. i really love community events. and the food looked ok too!
    merry xmas to you and yours.

  2. I just got home from my the Surfers Paradise, Carols at the beach… with 5000 other people, but it was lots of fun 🙂 Merry Christmas and give my love to Mr Hotly Spiced too 🙂 Liz x

  3. What a lovely, homey event, Charlie. We have beautiful “posadas” in homes here in Mexico (and they are beautiful happenings), but unfortunately I don’t know the words to the songs and always end up missing the Christmas carols of my youth.

  4. This sounds like a lovely event and lovely tradition – and it looks like the weather was perfect until the windy start to the carol singing! What a pity about the candles but it sounds like a good night nonetheless.

  5. Oh, I do love Balmoral – bought a tear to my eye and lots of memories:)

  6. It all sounds much classier than tail-gaiting before a football game and the food selection is pretty amazing. And then you get to hear lovely singing while enjoying a mild champagne buzz. Good times. (I hope you all brought sweaters and jackets and didn’t get too chilly.)

    Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family members whether they be 2- or and 4-legged.

  7. Community carols are wonderful, ours are on Christmas Eve and I always look forward to them. It’s just mince pies and mulled wine but such fun. GG

  8. –What a FABULOUS Christmas Tradition, Charlie.
    I LOVE it! xxx
    Merry Christmas!

  9. Lovely post sharing your tradition! I could sink my teeth into a few of those Prosciutto and salami wrapped in crostini, yum!

  10. Oh I have such a weakness for good chicken sandwiches. And those glass holders are a great idea! I’ll keep a look out for them and let you know if I see any.

  11. A wonderful Aussie Christmas indeed Charlie! It got chilly here at our carols too, we should have taken a blanket 🙂 I’m glad your whole family- including doggie daughters- could enjoy a night out under the stars celebrating xox

  12. No Jatz and cheese for dinner here! Looks like you had a fab night – with a very tasty picnic to boot!

  13. Charlie… You sure do the carols right. Love your amazing food spread, wish my picnics turned out that fantastic. 🙂

  14. What a marvelous holiday tradition! O Holy Night is my favorite, too…and it’s always sung at our Midnight Mass like it was when I was a child. Merry, merry Christmas, my friend! xo

  15. My first Christmas in Australia I was in Melbourne and went to Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. What a fantastic show that was. We have a boat parade and I suspect there are carols by candlelight somewhere but I’ve not been. I should.

  16. What a wonderful annual event, Charlie. It’s too cold here in the evenings for such an outdoor event, but I would love to experience Christmas in summer! 🙂 I’m particularly happy to hear that this Christmas event brings you together with such good friends. That’s, in my mind, the best of what this season offers. We went to a beautiful church service tonight and after a really beautiful experience the closing carol was O Holy Night while a darkened room was illuminated by small hand-held candles lit by the Advent candle. It was an entirely moving experience. If I don’t have the chance to stop by again in the next couple of days, Charlie, I wish you and your wonderful family–as well as those two darling ‘girls’ of yours, a wonderful Christmas Day. I shared your Santa photos with everyone in my office, while telling them all about how much I enjoy knowing you. Christmas blessings to you!

    • That’s so lovely, Debra and so wonderful to hear from you. I loved hearing about your church service and how the lights went out for ‘O Holy Night’ with just candlelight. I can imagine that being a very moving experience as it’s such a beautiful and powerful carol. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas with every blessing of the season xx

  17. How lovely – that blue sky, the dusk, candles, friends and carols. I bet there was a magical atmosphere in the park.

  18. I love carols Charlie but haven’t been for years. I can’t wait to take Ollie soon!

  19. What a beautiful tradition and wonderful time with family and friends. However, it all looks so foreign to me given the cold climate in which I live.

  20. What a gorgeous spread of food! The carols seem like such a fun evening. It’s great that the whole family can enjoy the event! I haven’t been caroling in years! Might have to find out if anyone does it in the area… xo

  21. I adore Carols by Candlelight, it used to be a tradition at my primary school as well! Everyone really bonds over it 😀
    Thanks for sharing the tradition with everyone!
    That spread of food *salivates* 😛

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  22. What a beautiful tradition and great way to spend an evening with friends! Great idea making it an event within the event, Charlie, with everyone contributing a dish and drink. I must admit, though, it seems a bit strange to see you all dressed in Summer clothing singing carols. I bet you feel the same when you see us, at least a little bit. 🙂

  23. What a brilliant tradition, Charlie. 🙂 My friend Jackie took me to a Carols in the Park last year and I loved it! 🙂 What a great Australian Christmas thing to do. 🙂

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  1. […] the last Saturday night before Christmas, we met up with a group of friends for the Balmoral Carols By Candlelight.   The plan was to arrive early, stake out some territory then have a picnic dinner before the […]

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