One of the many things I love about Australia at Christmas is the tradition of carols in the park.
A summers evening, nearly at the end of term, nothing else planned - so we hopped in the car to our local council presentation of carols by candlelight.
The best bits -
- We did not have to arrive four hours early to score a park just directly next to the entrance, nor did not have to park a four hour walk away from the park
- There was a free sausage sizzle and free coffee and free hot chocolate
- There were dinky little fake flame torches for the kids (more stuff for free) - to save me getting all in a panic over burns from dripping wax
- There was a top notch kids entertainment act as a warm up act to the carols. Interactive panto-esque audience participation. Let us knacker these children out before we get to the peaceful carolling.
- The MC blokey was an absolute professional - great singing voice, generous with his jokes, good with kids.
- Santa - he was a lovely old gent - I tend to be a little wary of the creepy looking skinny Santas with ill- fitting red coats and ill fitting beards - this one was very cuddly and trad. And the kids had a right old chinwag with him as they kept their eyes on the lolly bag loot. (Also free. I am beginning to suspect I know why we pay so much in council rates...it all goes to fund shindigs like the carols by candlelight!)
- The lovely ladies and gents of the St Johns were all out in force - and their services were not required all night. Phew.
- The local council helpers did a sterling job on corralling all the oldies with chairs up to the back and herding all the families with kids and picnic rugs to the front - no whinging.
- No smoking allowed - apart from one feral, who Charlie told off. That's my boy!
- The carols by candlelight was held at a local lacrosse club. Sports club. Club. Club bar. Club bar prices. The lovely husband was a happy man, paying only $3 for the odd bottle of Coopers Pale Ale.
- The Australian Girls Choir - all decked out in hot pink choir outfits - sensational singing!
- The brass band. Can I admit, quietly here (and I may need to blog about this in more depth at a later time) that brass band music brings me to instant happy tears? Totally overcome, ever single time. The lovely husband looked sideways at me the minute they started, and smiled as he passed me a tissue. I love him nearly as much as I love brass bands.
- Carols. Christmas carols. With a songbook and everything. It was just lovely.
The very best bit? A picnic. I packed a picnic. Hard boiled egg sandwiches, cheese, fresh strawberries and fresh gingerbread. And chippies! Oh, how I adore me a big bag of chippies!
I scoffed a whole bag of Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips. They are bloody lovely. (I was sent some to try. I had been resisting temptation. At 80% less fat than normal chippies, I have no doubt they will become a regular treat.) They are TOO nice. The kids also really liked them. Which is a bit annoying - I eat chippies so rarely that I am selfish in wanting them all to myself!
Anyway, as I leaned back on the picnic rug with my beer and my chips, crying happy tears at the brass band, not fretting about the kids burning themselves, I felt supremely content. It seems Christmas is a state of mind, rather than a date. Who knew?!
If you'd like to try the Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips, just make sure you are following my blog and leave me a comment and tell me where you'd like to take your picnic rug? I have a months supply of these divine chippies to give away. So leave me a comment and I will use Random.Org to pick a winner this time next week. (Open to Australian residents only.)
Tell me your favoured picnic spot? And do you do carols by candlelight?