Lisa's tuning up for Christmas Eve carols tradition
LISA Wilkinson will swap early mornings for an evening of Christmas Eve festivities when she returns to co-host Carols by Candlelight on Saturday.
This will be the Today show anchor's ninth year co-hosting the event, which is now in its 79th year, and she is joined by Today Extra's David Campbell.
"We had some of our biggest numbers ever last year, and I think people are really looking for family entertainment," she tells ARM's The Guide.
"The Carols are such a uniting force for good, and there are very few programs on TV these days that are just purely heart-warming family entertainment. No matter what your age you just feel like a kid again.
"I'm thrilled to be doing it for the ninth time. Ray Martin did it for 18 years; I'm after his record."
Throwback to last year's amazing #CarolsByCandlelight with the fabulous @deltagoodrem & @davidcampbell73 Just eight more sleeps until we do it all again on Christmas Eve at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in #Melbourne. And don't forget, while you're wrapping presents, or busy leaving out snacks for Santa and his hard-working reindeer, you can see it all live only on @channel9 #DeltaGoodrem #ChristmasEve #Channel9 #Christmas #Christmasiscoming #Delta
The Carols mark Wilkinson's last official duty for the year before she catches a special early morning flight home to be able to spend Christmas Day with her family.
"When I was first co-hosting the Carols I would be crawling into bed at 4am and by 5am I had the kids tapping me on the forehead saying 'mum can we start opening the presents?'," she says. "That doesn't happen any more; my kids are getting up at a slightly more sane time these days."
This year's event will feature performances by Dami Im, Alfie Arcuri, Sheppard and Lucy Durack as well as Carols stalwarts Marina Prior, Silvie Paladino and Denis Walter.
"It's like Christmas day itself. It feels like it's going to be over any minute and I have to try to enjoy every second of it," Wilkinson says.
"One year I would love to get out there and do some singing, but I need to convince Daryl Braithwaite or John Farnham or Jimmy Barnes to get out there with me."
The new year will be one focusing on health and fitness for Wilkinson, who has watched her husband Peter FitzSimons lose more than 50kg over the past two years.
"It's got to the point now where he's lost so much weight and is so much fitter than me that I figured if you can't beat 'em join 'em. I've signed up to his personal trainer and I've decided that I have to get fit too," she says.
"I can't have this really fit husband, particularly with the hours I'm doing, and not be fit as well so I started my new year's resolution six weeks ago.
"Hopefully come the beginning of January, I'll be so far into the whole thing it would be silly to give up on January 3."
After a month-long break Wilkinson will return to the Today show desk with her cheeky co-host Karl Stefanovic. The pair worked hard this year to make some solid ratings gains back from Seven's Sunrise.
"If it ain't broke don't fix it," she says.
"There will be a bit of tinkering around the edges. We'll always find things we can improve, so we'll do some of that and come out of the blocks racing in early February."
Carols by Candlelight airs on Saturday at 8pm on Channel 9.