The great­est gift of all

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEBBIE SCHIPP and DAVID POUGHER

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.

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