Sydney’s cracking Christmas kicks off

The City of Sydney’s Christmas program kicks off this week with a feast of festivities including decorations, carols, light projections, concerts, Christmas trees and retail programs.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore today launched the Sydney Christmas program in front of the much-loved Martin Place Christmas Tree.

She was joined by Sydney Christmas Ambassador Jules Sebastian, Channel Seven’s Mark Ferguson, and Dr Graeme White, CEO of this year’s Christmas Charity Partner, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

We welcome thousands of people from across Sydney to the city centre for our Christmas celebrations each year. With live concerts, colourful projections, great shopping and the opportunity for the kids to meet Santa, there’s plenty for visitors, shoppers and locals to enjoy,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“I invite everyone to embrace the magic of our Sydney Christmas. With sunshine, lively streets and long evenings, it’s the perfect time for exploring our city with family and friends.”

For the first time, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will host a graduation ceremony in Martin Place on 8 December to celebrate the achievements of some of its amazing work dogs. Each graduate dog has spent two years in intensive training to become a full-time guide dog. It costs over $35,000 to breed, raise and train each graduate – a process entirely funded by the generosity of the public.

Passers-by will have the opportunity to watch a live guide dog demonstration and have a cuddle with some adorable puppies that are soon to become trainee guide dogs.

“Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is extremely grateful to the City of Sydney for selecting our organisation as its charity partner for this year’s Christmas festivities and the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for our important work,” Dr White said.

Sydney Christmas 2015 highlights:

Martin Place and Hyde Park concerts – Thursday 26 November, 6pm–8.30pm

The annual Martin Place Christmas Concert and Tree Lighting and Christmas on the Green at Hyde Park North mark the start of Sydney’s festive season.

Head to Martin Place for a night packed with free entertainment for the whole family. Hosted by Channel Seven’s James Tobin, the concert features performances by Hoot & Hootabelle, Sam Moran, Justine Clarke, the cast from The Sound of Music, Sydney Philharmonia Choir and Anthony Callea.

Santa and the Lord Mayor will arrive by sleigh before the tree lighting and the night finishes with a fireworks spectacular.

Christmas on the Green at Hyde Park North will feature Saturday Disney’s Teigan Nash, Candice Dixon and Nathan Morgan as MCs and performances by Blinky Bill, Nay Nay Let’s Play, Australian Girls’ Choir, Lah Lah’s Big Live Band, Sam Moran and a visit from Santa.

Martin Place Christmas Tree – 26 November–25 December

From 26 November until Christmas Day, the centrepiece of the Sydney festive season will be the Martin Place Christmas Tree. Visitors to the city centre can jump on the interactive dance pad at the Christmas Tree and text a message using the #sydxmastree to appear on its branches for everyone to see.

Standing 20 metres tall, Sydney’s much-loved Christmas tree is dressed with 60,000 lights, 120 interactive stars, 200 stainless steel baubles and a 1.5-metre star on top.

Christmas projections and illuminations

Dramatic projections will transform the façades of some of Sydney’s most historic buildings in Martin Place and the Street Light Disco banners will bring sparkle to the area throughout the day and night.

Sydney Town Hall will be illuminated with festive colours and from 10 December. And St Mary’s Cathedral will be illuminated with a free display of sound and light, storytelling the themes of Christmas using 3D projections.

Boulevarde of Light

More than 100 living, potted Christmas trees and an overhead canopy of 62,000 lights will create a festive wonderland in Pitt Street Mall.

The trees will be auctioned during the week of Christmas with all proceeds going to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Village Christmas Concert

The free, family-friendly concerts at Rushcutters Bay (28 November), Rosebery (29 November), Alexandria (5 December) and Surry Hills (6 December) are always a big hit with the kids, and packed with children’s entertainment, live music, fireworks and a visit from Santa.

Carollers and choirs

Christmas shopping in the city promises to be full of festive cheer with choirs performing in Pitt Street Mall on Thursday evenings in the lead up to Christmas and each night in December until Christmas Eve at the Martin Place Christmas Tree.

The renowned Christmas at Sydney Town Hall concert on 15 December guarantees a memorable night for the whole family. Nothing will get you into the spirit of Christmas like this very traditional affair of carol singing, festive music and readings accompanied by the magnificent Grand Organ in Centennial Hall.

Christmas shopping

The City is working with Transport for NSW on the George Street Christmas program to bring visitors into the city over the festive season. As well as a nine-metre-high Christmas tree on George Street and pop-up stores from local retailers, there are free gift wrapping stations, wifi zones, live entertainment, fashion parades, face painting and digital photo booths.

Local village retailers and boutiques are offering unique gifts and bespoke fashion, each with its own style and local treasures. Shoppers can also take part in the Best Shop Window Instagram competition by tagging their favourite local shop window #sydxmas #bestwindow on Instagram for a chance to win a $2,000 shopping voucher.