25 December 2016

Summer in Sydney: Have Yourself a Sizzling Christmas

Christmas in Sydney means prawns

The only thing cold about Sydney’s Christmas is the beer.  For Sydneysiders Christmas comes in the sizzling summer Down Under.  Sunshine, seafood barbecues on the beach, flip-flop clad men in shorts, women wearing wide brim straw hats and white summer dresses, barefoot boys and girls in their swimmers frolicking on the sandy beaches - and of course, lots of beer chilling in the esky are the typical images of Christmas here rather than the snow, the winter-woolies and the roaring fire in the living room.  Nevertheless, the sizzling Sydney Christmas is just as wonderful and magical as any of the white Christmases celebrated in the northern hemisphere.  

Christmas in Sydney is unique - and special.  Over the years, Sydneysiders have lovingly embraced their glorious balmy summers, the fresh and abundant local seafood, summer fruits and vegies and developed their very own summer Christmas traditions.  Some small and intimate, others grand and spectacular.  Like the lone boy playing beautiful Christmas tunes on his saxophone at the street corner.  Or the awe-inspiring Lights of Christmas animated light show at St Mary’s Cathedral, an elegant English Gothic style church in the heart of Sydney.  Or the Sydney Fish Market’s 36-Hour Christmas Seafood Marathon that drives its crowds into a frenzy to grab the freshest seafood for their Christmas lunch.  And the massive and dazzling Swarovski Christmas tree at the iconic 19th century Queen Victoria Building shopping centre that heralds the arrival of the festive season to the Sydneysiders.     

Here is a round-up of some of the things that make Christmas in Sydney unique and special.  Try and check as many of them off your list of of things to do the next time you are in Sydney at Christmastime.   You will be thankful for the wonderful memories you will have of a magical Christmas spent in sizzling Sydney.  A Christmas like no other on Earth...      

Slip an extra prawn on the barbie

First things first - we will start with the traditional gastronomic delight of the Sydney Christmas lunch - Prawns on the Barbie (Australian slang for barbecue).  Yes, prawns.  The rich and moist King prawns, the beautiful and delicious Tiger prawns or the sweet and mild Banana prawns - it is your choice.

There is nothing like prawns hot off the barbecue.  Just make sure you grab the freshest and the best-quality prawns you can find.  Wash it down with a glass (or two) of champagne or any other good quality sparkling wine.  Prawns love wine.   

Join the fun and frenzy of the 36-hour Seafood Marathon at the Sydney Fish Market

The annual 36-hour Seafood Marathon at the Sydney Fish Market is another favourite Christmas tradition of most Sydneysiders.  Retailers stay open for 36 hours from 5am on 23 December right through to 5pm on Christmas Eve.  People flock to the Sydney Fish Market to grab their seafood, especially prawns, for their Christmas lunch.  This year, a whopping 120 tonnes of prawns were sold within 36 hours!   

Be enchanted by the QVB Swarovski Christmas tree - Sydney’s tallest indoor Christmas tree

Every year from late October to early January the following year, the iconic Queen Victoria Building (QVB) displays the QVB Swarovski Christmas tree.  The beautiful glittering tree stands at 24 metres over three floors, residing under the magnificent stained-glass and copper-sheath dome of the 1898 Queen Victoria Building.  The elegant beauty is adorned with over 82,000 sparkling Swarovski crystals and 65,000 twinkling lights topped by a 2.2m wide crystal gilded star weighing over 6.5 tonnes.

For many Sydneysiders, the QVB Swarovski Christmas tree is the first reminder that the festive season has arrived in the city.  It takes over a hundred people and 44 hours to install this gigantic tree.  Once installed, it starts attracting both visitors and locals that want to admire its beauty and take selfies next to it

To fully appreciate the dazzling elegance of this impressive Christmas tree, start at its base which itself is a work of art made out of glass, lights and crystals. Then go up the stairs to the first floor to take a closer look at thousands of sparkling crystals adorning the tree.  Finally, on the second floor you can see the jaw-dropping 6.5-tonne star under the stained-glass dome.  And don’t forget that selfie!                      

Watch the Lights of Christmas animated light show at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney

This spectacular light and sound show is held annually at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney - an elegant English Gothic style cathedral situated in the heart of Sydney.  In December, every evening until Christmas the Lights of Christmas show is projected onto the Cathedral facade from dusk till midnight.  This is an outdoor event held at the Cathedral Square and draws large crowds from all over Sydney.  Enjoy a balmy Sydney summer evening watching this glorious light show under the stars.         

Stop and listen to the Christmas street performers in the city

Around Christmas time you find them at almost every street corner and market square in the city.  Carol singers, saxophone players and sometimes even bagpipe players playing happy Christmas tunes on their instruments and spreading festive cheer.  They help to give the city of Sydney a special vibe.

Take the time to stop and listen to them - you will discover that some of them have real talent.  Some do it for a living. Others, especially primary school children and teenagers, are trying to recoup the cost of their band instruments.  Support their entrepreneurial spirit and throw in $5 (or more if you’re feeling generous) for them.  

Experience the magic of Christmas at Martin Place

Every year at Christmastime, Martin Place, a pedestrian mall in the central business district of Sydney, is transformed into a magical summer wonderland.  The street choirs singing carols perform every night leading up to Christmas.  Then there is the 21 metre tall interactive Christmas tree - the tallest outdoor Christmas tree in Sydney.  You can share your special Christmas message via text and watch it light up the tree for everyone to see!    

Grab your picnic rug and flip-flop over to Carols in the Domain

Carols in the Domain is Sydney’s biggest free Christmas concert, held in the Domain, Sydney annually.  This iconic Christmas celebration pulls huge crowds that picnic on the grass and sing-along to Australia's popular artistes and favourite Christmas songs, under the stars in the warm summer nights.

Sydney Christmas Gallery

The QVB Swarovski Christmas Tree Sydney
Lights Of Christmas Sydney - Madonna and Child

Lights Of Christmas Sydney - Madonna and Child

Lights Of Christmas Sydney - Madonna and Child

Lights Of Christmas Sydney - Madonna and Child

Nativity at Cathedral Square - St Mary's Cathedral Sydney

The Interactive Christmas Tree at Martin Place, Sydney

Martin Place, Sydney - Christmas 2016