In 2010, Justin, David (my brother), and I went to Kirstenbosch Gardens for a wonderful evening of Carols by Candlelight. This stunning venue is located in Cape Town, South Africa, on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. As you will see in the images below, there is not much that would beat this location for this sort of summer Christmas activity. There was an amazing energy in the air, and because Christmas falls during the warmer months in the south, the weather was perfect! We sat on the grass and enjoyed a picnic during the afternoon, and then lit our candles when the sun had set. We were provided with a paper-bag to put around the candle, to prevent candle wax from dripping onto our hands. You’d assume that there would be numerous fires, and I’m sure a few kids made a mess, but the paper-bag was a wonderful idea. It softened the light of the candle, and made holding it much easier. GREAT IDEA!
|Carols by Candlelight 2010|
This was an unforgettable activity for us, especially since it was a couple of days before our first Christmas together! This year, on our fifth Christmas together, we wanted to share this special event with some of our friends in China. We decided on a playlist, printed out the words to the songs, found a fireplace app that we could display on our tv, made mulled wine (gluhwein), prepared snacks, lit some tea light candles, filled paper cups with long candles (for holding), and then – finally – we waited for our friends to arrive. As an added bonus, we emailed the parents of all of those friends, and asked for pictures of them as children. After singing carols by candlelight, we planned to casually bring out some wine and cheese, and let the slideshow play on the TV. We hoped that they would all be pleasantly surprised by pictures of themselves as children.
|The words to all the songs|
Justin highlighted certain parts of the songs if they were meant to be sung by only the girls, or only the guys. He’s such a sweet guy – I love his thoughtfulness and how excited he was about this particular evening.
|Mulled Wine aka “Gluhwein”|
Gluhwein is very simple to make. Basically, it is a warm mixture of red wine, fruit and spices. If you like red wine, you are bound to enjoy it, especially on a cold winter’s night! It’s a great Christmas drink… well, only if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Down south a cold beer sounds better in December!
A great thing about making gluhwein, is that while it warms on the stove, your house is filled with the wonderful smell of cinnamon and other spices. While we lit the candles and got ready, Elijah jumped happily in his Jumperoo. As you can see, he was wearing his Christmas PJ’s and a Santa hat.
|Ready and waiting|
The rest of the evening was spent singing carols and then watching the slideshow made up of pictures from everyone’s childhood Christmas memories. We are very thankful to our friend’s parents for how quickly they scanned and emailed us old photos. They were all so helpful and co-operative! Hopefully, sometime in the future, we get to share this experience with some of our friends at home. This is a Christmas tradition that Justin and I thoroughly enjoy, and want to keep doing every year!
|Carols by Candlelight 2014|