The greatest gift of all
BOXING Day is all about armchair sport – whether it’s the time- honoured Boxing Day cricket Test on WIN or the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Southern Cross.
The television landscape for the next week abounds with carols, cooking shows, sport and specials, culminating in fireworks on New Year’s Eve. It might be the time of year when family and food are the focus, but whether it’s catching Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, tuning into the Boxing Day Test, or flicking on to the fireworks coverage on New Year’s Eve, tradition dictates at least some time in front of the box.
And despite it being non- ratings season in television land, networks have some gems in their Christmas- New Year coverage.
Tonight, WIN Today show hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic ( pictured) head to Melbourne to host Vision Australia’s annual Carols by Candlelight.
The pair says it’s one of the highlights of their year, even if it does require some juggling – and a late flight back to Sydney – to factor in their own Christmas Day celebrations.
Carols began in 1938 and have been held at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl since 1959. ‘‘ We are mindful that we are purely custodians of the hosting role because so many wonderful people have had it previously,’’ Wilkinson says.
‘‘ When you are standing on stage looking at the audience, it is the most incredibly warm and enveloping sight.’’
Stefanovic puts the enduring appeal of the event down to the fact it harks to a less frenetic time.
‘‘ It’s a magical thing. It’s been a really tough year for a lot of people so I think this year will have special significance for all those people. And hopefully next year will be better.’’
Vision Australia ambassador Stan Walker is part of a stellar Carols entertainment line- up which also boasts Ricki- Lee Coulter, Marina Prior, Anthony Callea, Troy Cassar- Daly, Tim Campbell, Silvie Paladino and the Legends of Rock. Walker, an Australian Idol winner, has been working during the year to raise awareness of the work of Vision Australia, the night’s charity beneficiary.
Those wanting a musical change of pace from the Carols tradition tonight can opt for the annual Rockwiz Christmas special on SBS, with hosts Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis guiding guests through quirky quiz questions and carols.