Join Santa, and celebrities, for Carols in the Domain, Sydney’s annual outdoor Christmas songs for kids and families. Activities, competitions, fun.
One of the popular family things to do in December, these free christmas carols and popular christmas songs are held in the Domain each year on the last Saturday before christmas. It’s a fun place to go with kids.
Carols in the Domain are usually headlined by well-known Australian personalities. Past years have seen Hugh Jackman, the Wiggles and Home and Away stars strutting their stuff.
The fun starts at 12 noon in Sydney’s Domain. It’s next to the Botanical Gardens – in front of the AGNSW and behind Sydney hospital. You can buy your food there, but most families bring it with them. It’s a picnic day. That said, there is a limited number of VIP seats for sale each year. They sell out quickly so you need to think ahead for these.
There’s plenty to occupy children until the carols start.
- There’s usually a jumping castle, laughing clowns and a merry go round for more fun.
- Children can have their photo taken with Santa. Get the hard copy or have it sent to your mobile phone.
- Other options might include free professional spray tattoos or free face painting, even a 5 minute free neck and shoulder massage for adults!
- Showbags are given away until they run out. The goodies include Christmas colouring pictures, pencils and fruit – healthy snacks for children.
- And there are lots of competitions to enter with prizes being announced before the start of the carol singing.
Carols in the Domain Candle Bags
You’ll need candles when darkness falls and the singing starts. If you haven’t brought them with you, don’t worry, you’re covered.
Buy Candle Bags on the spot. As well as candles they contain items donated by sponsors.
All money raised by their sale during Carols in the Domain goes to charities such as Salvation Army projects, including the Oasis Youth Support Network.
In this project the Salvos in Sydney work with young, homeless Australians and support them in moving from the streets to independent living and employment.
Virtual Reality and Other Events
Take a sleigh ride, thanks to virtual technology. Up above the streets and through the night sky.
Stars from Channel 7, the station televising the Christmas songs for kids, will be in the marquee to mix and mingle , sign autographs and pose with kids for selfies from 1500 (3pm).
Christmas Songs for Kids and Adults
The pre-show entertainment on stage starts at 1500 (3pm). Now is the time to brush up on Christmas song lyrics, the words to Christmas carols and all the children’s Christmas songs.
To make the most of the entertainment (and to reserve your position before the later-comers arrive) it’s good to bring something to sit on. You can’t use plastic groundsheets. You’ll be asked to remove those as they kill the grass.
Low chairs can be hired. They’re very worth it for comfort during the afternoon and evening.
Portable shade’s a boon if it’s a classic hot, sunny, Australian day. Sydney Domain does have trees around the perimeter, but if you want to be closer in you’ll need to bring shade with you.
Classic Christmas Songs
The show proper starts at 1945 (7.45pm). That’s when you light your candles and sing your heart out – along with eighty thousand others. It finishes at 2300 (11pm)
Carols in the Domain is an upbeat Christmas song fest, with all the top christmas songs for kids as well as all-age classics. Plus a few Australian specials.
It’s not an evening of traditional carols, it’s a boppier, television driven Sydney event. That said, you’ll find plenty of old favourites. Everything from Jingle Bells to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
More Sydney Christmas Carols
If the date doesn’t suit, or if you’re looking for a more intimate evening, there are many other Sydney carol-singing events.
One of my favourites is the annual Carols by Candlelight at Vaucluse House in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. It’s usually on two weeks before Christmas.
The gates open at 1800 (6pm). Candles, song sheets, barbecued food and light refreshments can be bought.
You are encouraged to bring a gift for a child (age clearly marked on the parcel). These will be distributed to children from families in need, along with Christmas food gift baskets.
The Smith family, one of Australia’s old established charities, runs this project. For years I was one of the many volunteers who packed and delivered the Smith Family’s Christmas boxes all round Sydney, and I can assure you that the gifts do get to the children.
Christian Christmas Songs
For more christian Christmas songs, follow Christmas eve traditions and attend a church service in Sydney.
You’ll find family carol services with Christmas songs for kids in every neighbourhood.
Some churches will have nativity outdoor scenes, but more often you’ll find them inside.
These are more intimate, low-key Sydney Xmas events. They may lack the star power and TV glamour of Carols in the Domain, but they’re often more satisfying.
And they’re easier on young children than the marathon Domain production.
More December Things To Do
Children will probably love some of the Christmas street decorations around Sydney. They’re nice to visit with young children.
If you’re still in Sydney at the end of the month, there are many family oriented New Year’s Eve activities, including the special family fireworks at 2100 (9 pm).
More Resources for Kids
Don’t overlook Sydney libraries while you’re here. Even as a visitor you can access much that will make travelling with children easier.