Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Small Town Christmas

We were at the Big Switch on last weekend. Perhaps ‘Big’ is relative. Certainly the tree is no Trafalgar Square NorwegianSpruce. And the lights pale rather if compared to those at New York's Rockefeller Plaza.

Still, Saltburn got properly festive. It was more than just a light switch on. There were roasting chestnuts to be had, and a brass band playing – my nephews got to join in and shake bells along to their rousing rendition of Jingle Bells. The butcher and the local restaurateur tycoon were selling hot dogs and mince pies, and all the local cafes had mulled wine on offer. A little teacup ride and face painting gave the kids something to do while their parents sipped mulled wine and waited for the big switch on itself.

In fact the build up may have been a little much. After much festive waiting around, there was a count down, MCd by an exuberant Geordie. TLOML couldn’t understand a word he was saying as he whipped the crowd up into a mild murmur - but he caught up by the time we’d got down to 7… 6… 5… After ‘1’ there was a brief pause, a technical hitch perhaps. Then the tree lit up, and while all the crowd cheered, TLOML muffled a surprised laugh. He had expected more lights, I think. ‘Modest’ was the watchword for the 2013 Saltburn Tree Committee, I think.

After the tree lights went on a small parade took place. First Mary, on a donkey rather confusingly lead by a Christmas elf (Joseph, getting in the spirit? No, wait, that doesn’t make sense.) A steady stream of beaming Brownies and Cub Scouts. Then Father Christmas on the back of the fire engine. Hard to say who my 3 year old nephews were more thrilled by, the firemen or Santa. Suffice to say there was high excitement all around.

In a former life I might have scoffed a little. But in lovely little Saltburn I brushed away a sentimental tear and took a tonne of photos.

The next day the Yarn Bombers had visited, and added two festive knitted figures to the fence around the tree. Like the tree, and like the town, they are small, good humoured, and perfectly formed.
Post turkey collapse

A lady laden with Christmas shopping

The tree by day (it's prettier by night)


  1. Lovely. (Yes it is amazing how things that would have made you cringe prekids make you go "aw"!) It is like they take away your sense of taste with the first contraction

  2. Really, you just have to embrace the tweeness of it all. I mean, I would have thought it all bollocks until I moved to Salltburn, but you just have to embrace it, while pretending to outsiders you''re only enjoying it in a po-mo ironic way ;-)