People will be encouraged to celebrate Christmas with friends and family at home instead of major public gatherings in Orange this year due to COVID-19.
The city's annual Carols by Candlelight event has been cancelled and instead will be replaced a two-hour carols program on radio.
And the annual Christmas Day community dinner is expected to be replaced by the delivery of individual hampers to the homes of needy families and individuals.
This might be a way we can share the Christmas spirit, but in a different way.Cr Reg Kidd, Orange mayor
Orange City Council this week approved $5000 funding toward a Christmas Carols program on radio station 105.1 Triple M on Saturday, December 19.
The Christmas program will be hosted by broadcaster Neil Gill.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said with public gatherings restricted by coronavirus rules the radio station program was "worth a go".
"[It] will be broadcast with carols for young and old to celebrate Christmas at home and to get in the spirit," he said.
"Council would be promoted as the major sponsor of the event during the broadcast."
Up to 20 visitors are allowed at a residence under current coronavirus rules which will enable people to have a Christmas party on the carols broadcast night.
The 20-visitor limit includes adults and children but does not include people living at the residence.
Cr Kidd said the traditional lunch for people in need, and those looking for company on Christmas Day, at the Orange Function Centre had been cancelled by the Orange Combined Churches.
Cr Kidd said with restrictions as low as just 50 people likely to be allowed in the building, it was decided to cancel it.
Council was told this week efforts to arrange a another venue were proving difficult.
Council CEO David Waddell said staff were contacting venues, churches, community groups and clubs.
"To be frank we're having real difficulty organising this," he said.
"We'll keep going and report back in a week or so when we have exhausted all possibilities."
Cr Kidd said they were now investigating alternatives.
"What we are pursuing with the Combined Churches group is an alternate way, particularly for needy families, perhaps taking the hamper to them. That's what is being investigated," he said.
"This might be a way we can share the Christmas spirit, but in a different way."
He said community groups had already been involved in delivering hampers to the needy in Orange this year during the height of the pandemic restrictions.
Cr Kidd said the Combined Churches group would likely be able to identify which families would receive the hampers.
The Christmas lunch has been running for more than 20 years and is planned to return next year.
Last year a big crowd attended the annual Carols by Candelight event at Northcourt on a warm night.
The Highland Pipe Band, Orange Brass Band, Orange Regional Conservatorium members and the Colour City Dance group performed.
Santa Claus's appearance also delighted the children present.
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