On the 21st December 2019 I found myself once again in the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral; one of England’s most historic landmarks for their annual Carol Service in the run up to Christmas. Seated just below the world-famous dome, entrance to the service was completely free for a 45-minute performance. But how family-friendly could it possibly be?

The answer: acutely so. For instance, the structure was divided perfectly so that members of the congregation could join in and have fun while doing so. After all enjoyment is key to attract crowds and children. Furthermore, the appearance of the amateur choir aged 8 and upwards reinforced the idea of community and togetherness especially at Christmas time. On the other hand, the obligation of a lighted candle throughout a section of the service holds some basic restrictions for toddlers and younger children due to the health and safety issues surrounding an open flame.

To be more inclusive for families, the service also included a short story by Stephen Spencer: a funny retelling where he was a shepherd the night Jesus was born raised more than a few laughs from the audience regardless of their age. This immersive experience helped to connect the members of the congregation in an uplifting way.

In conclusion the family carol service at St Pauls was enjoyable, uplifting, accessible to all and most importantly got you in the true spirit of Christmas. Short but sweet, I would highly recommend this to anyone regardless of religion if they want a happy experience they’ll never forget.

By Sian Clarke