This Christmas, sing your heart out and support vital causes from the comfort of your sofa.

Sure, you’ll have to swap an ancient, candlelit church pew for your quotidian kitchen. And you’ll miss that rare festive friendliness with which utter strangers greet each other when caroling. The annual singathons we love and cherish are still happening this year, though. It’s just that, like so many events throughout the pandemic, they’ll be online rather than IRL.

In most cases, tickets are free but donations to the charities behind them are always welcome; check the relevant websites for details. Don’t forget that charities – and therefore the people they support – have suffered badly this year.

According to The Guardian: ‘One in 10 UK charities are facing bankruptcy by the end of the year as they struggle to cope with a £10bn shortfall caused by soaring demand for their services and lost fundraising income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Analysis by Pro Bono Economics, an independent charity, says the coronavirus crisis will trigger a £6.4bn loss of income for charities over the next six months just as demand for extra services piles on extra costs of £3.7bn.’

Don’t let Covid kill your vibe this Christmas. Dig deep and sing loud! Maybe light a candle. Here is our pick of the virtual carol concerts that are yet to happen.

A Starry Night From Lambeth Palace


15 December


Held on December 15, this festive concert will be a celebration of the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, which provides ‘home away from home’ accommodation for the families of sick children at hospitals across the UK. Featuring the English National Opera Choir, the Male London Welsh Rugby Choir, Emma Johnson MBE on the clarinet, soprano singer Alexandra Kennedy and Classical Brit Award nominees, Classical Reflection, the evening promises to be seriously uplifting.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Virtual Carols At Christmas


17 December


Hosted by actress Carey Mulligan on December 17, this service will positively fizz with carols and readings by luminaries like Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville and Sir Trevor McDonald. Here’s your chance to raise vital funds for everyone affected by dementia. The charity says: ‘Come and sing along with our choir, share messages with friends and family on screen and vote for your favourite carol to close the performance.’

Maggie’s Carols In The Kitchen


13 December


The all-star line-up of readers at this festive evening of fun on December 13 includes James Norton, Keeley Hawes, Dominic West, Sue Perkins and Stanley Tucci. In aid of the brilliant charity that supports people with cancer, the concert will also feature a specially commissioned piece of choral music by the composer, Eric Whitacre, as well as all the carols we know and love.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Carols By Candlelight


17 December


Yet more glittering names have pledged their support for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust by agreeing to read at its streamed concert on December 17. Book your slot for the event, which was pre-recorded at Abbey Road Studios, and immerse yourself in the dulcet tones of Dame Judi Dench, Jenny Agutter, David Haig and the Winchester College Chapel Choir.

The London Symphony Orchestra’s A Singalong Christmas


13 December


Broadcast free on YouTube on December 13 and available on demand for 90 days, this Christmas spectacular will get you in the mood like nothing else. Conducted and presented by the LSO’s choral director, Simon Halsey, it promises to put a classy spin on festive favourites like The First Nowell and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing as well as gorgeous gospel classics from around the world.

Lord’s Taverners Carol Concert With The Stars


14 December


On December 14, grab yourself a mince pie and a glass of something delicious and join Stephen Fry and David Gower for an evening of Christmas cheer in aid of the Lord’s Taverners, which creates opportunities for young people to get involved in sport. Musical highlights include the voices of Roderick Williams and the Holst Singers, who will be accompanied by Derek Carden and conducted by Nicholas Cleobury.

Farm Africa Virtual Carol Concert


16 December


Farm Africa, the charity that supports farming families in eastern Africa, will host their festive concert online on December 16. A reading by their patron Michael Palin and carols sung by the London African Gospel Choir are sure to make for a joyful Christmas evening.

Carols From King’s


Christmas Eve


If you miss everything else – and even if you don’t – be sure to tune in to Carols From King’s (on BBCTWO on Christmas Eve and thereafter on iPlayer). Year after year, this celebration of Christmas from the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge heralds to many that Christmas is finally here. Traditional and exquisitely beautiful, it will feel more solid, dependable and soulful than ever in 2020.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2020

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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