Christmas lights switch on, coming to a town near you
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.
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?
- Christmas Shopping Safety
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