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Christmas lights switch on, coming to a town near you

Updated on January 4, 2015
The City Hall outdoor balcony, where the big switch on takes place
The City Hall outdoor balcony, where the big switch on takes place


The Christmas tree in our City Centre
The Christmas tree in our City Centre
Cottingham christmas lights in years gone by
Cottingham christmas lights in years gone by
Lights above on the shopping areas
Lights above on the shopping areas

I do not know about where you live but, in the UK, most towns and cities decorate their main shopping areas for the Christmas holiday season. When I was young, sorry to reminisce again, our City centre was ablaze with lights. There was always a huge, traditional tree in the main square, full of decorations. Our local train station had a tree, that was nearly as large, in its waiting area.This tree had charity boxes which people would fill. Put a coin in one of these boxes and a toy train would travel on the floor near the bottom of the tree.

Over time these decorations became depleted. With increased vandalism and petty thieving things changed. The trees remained but without the mass of decoration or charitable boxes. The actual Christmas street lights were now almost non-existent.

Then a few years ago an attempt at retrieving the past was made. High Street traders and the local council began to put up Christmas lights again. Some years the display was a little poor but least an attempt was made. Last year's Christmas lights were not bad really.

We have had some years when the lights were still in place way into the New Year, or already up in late Summer, but that was down to logistical and financial problems. These have been tweaked and are much better now.

What prompted this hub was my early morning bus ride, through the village of Cottingham this morning, and seeing many of their Christmas lights in place. Each year the Christmas lights are officially turned on, often by a celebrity of sorts. October is a little early though for some of this.

My home City usually has someone who is starring in the pantomime at the local theatre, to officially turn on the Christmas lights. This ceremony is performed late in the afternoon and often a firework display follows. Usually it is well into November before this switch on occurs and so I was surprised to see the Christmas Lights today, 2nd October 2009. Still they may not be completed or going to be turned on just yet.

Their presence though set me to wondering if this was a UK tradition or more world wide. Instantly I knew the answer, that it is world wide. I remembered the remains of the Christmas lights dotted around Cyprus when I visited one January and seeing glimpses of other country's Christmas festivities on the TV.

Just what do all of you make though of your home town's Christmas lights and decorations? Please feel free to leave comments or vote in the Hub poll. It will be interesting to see if, like me, you all see these lights as a big part of Christmas, or, if you think that they have had their day.

Places such as London can afford better displays
Places such as London can afford better displays
New York Tree
New York Tree

Now looking on-line, our City's Christmas lights seem a little pathetic, compared to the great displays around the world. Still I guess if you are a child, or and adult, who still holds the spirit of Christmas close to your heart they may be wonderful as ever.

With on-line Christmas shopping taking off in a big way, it is to be hoped that Christmas lights and decorations in our cities do not disappear. They add cheer to those dark and dismal days of late Autumn and Winter.

They make everywhere look more Christmassy and seem to shed some laughter into people's faces. Although larger cities have better displays small villages and towns often have more cute or quaint ones.

With official switch ones, for the Christmas lights, in places such as London the atmosphere is exciting. Of course this official day also means that, in many people's minds, the Christmas shopping period has begun in earnest.

With councils and businesses feeling the financial pinch this year Christmas lights may seem a little frivolous and expensive. However, they encourage shoppers and visitors to town and city centres and are fun.

Perhaps in these worrying times a little traditional Christmas fun is worth every penny? What do you think?

What are your Town's, or City's, Christmas lights like?

Any good or not?

See results


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks eileen. Yes I know what you mean. We should remember those in need more than ever at Christmas. That's what Christmas spirit should be all about.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      All towns have different ideas, the main thing is that we keep up with the christmas spirit. I feel so sorry for those homeless people that cannot afford to share in the spirit of giving and receiving. Too much hype on the speel of by mum a washing machine or something similar. great hub

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      In Houston different areas put on different displays...always quite elaborate. Some subdivisions are also known for going the "extra mile" and having better than average lighting displays and people travel from far and wide to enjoy seeing them. It won't be long now before all of that starts.

      Am enjoying your memories. Keep it up!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Tanks Bay. Perhaps you will write about your town's Christmas displays?

    • bayareagreatthing profile image


      9 years ago from Bay Area California

      I love Christmas- first because it is representational to me of Jesus birth and the good news that he brought. He came as the light and glory of the world bringing hope and peace! Because of that, I love all the lights and beauty of Christmas. It reminds us that there is hope and light in the world. There is just something wonderful about the feeling of Christmas! I am glad that your towns lights are coming back! Wonderful hub!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks guys. Island voice I love the way you express what the lights mean to you.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your lovely hub. I, already, can't wait.

    • Wanderlust profile image


      9 years ago from New York City

      First of all, there is no Christmas without Christmas decorations and Christmas lights! As for economics, think of how many tourists and visitors any city attracts during Christmas time, and mostly because of Christmas decorations!

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      A big YES to your question! Christmas is about giving, joy and hope. The lights are symbolic of God's light shining on us, and letting us know, light is still with us no matter how dark life seems.


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