It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as first St Albans shops unveil Advent Trail displays

PUBLISHED: 11:55 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:22 07 December 2018

The Advent Trail window at Cositas.

The Advent Trail window at Cositas.


The first city-wide St Albans Advent Trail is now underway, with the initial run of businesses having taken their turn to reveal the date in their decorated windows.

The Alban Arena's display.The Alban Arena's display.

The Advent Trail, supported by the Herts Advertiser, will see a daily reveal in the window of one of the 25 participating organisations.

Beginning with the Alban Arena, who unveiled their window on Saturday, it will culminate with a virtual unveiling from St Albans Cathedral on Christmas Day. Shops, pubs, accountants, cafés, lawyers and the St Albans Museum + Gallery will all take their turn to shine through the month.

The Arena was followed by Cositas, Chloe James Lifestyle, Ceremonia and Oxfam Bookshop.

Owner of wedding outfitters Cerimonia, Helen Searle, said: “I wanted to incorporate men’s and ladies’ outfits but didn’t want a white dress, so I thought it would be lovely to do a Christmas tree dress. Last year we went with a white and sparkley window so we wanted to change it this year. It was a labour of love. I am really pleased because it’s nice – with a bit of sparkle in the lights.”

Chloe James' window display featured live music from McClaren Wall.Chloe James' window display featured live music from McClaren Wall.

The display at Chloe James Lifestyle featured live music from McClaren Wall.

Owner Donna Nichol said: “We just wanted to do something a bit different and exciting. We just thought it would kick-start December and the Christmas season.”

The Oxfam Bookshop display featured Christmas books, cards, baubles, stars and pretend snow. The window was concealed by wrapping paper before the big unveiling.

Manager Hilary Blake said: “It’s a winter wonderland of reading and books. It was inspired by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and that sort of thing.

Cerimonia's Advent Trail windowCerimonia's Advent Trail window

“It’s to show the books that we’ve got and promote them and let people know we are here. [The window designer] took about three or four hours altogether.”

Each window will be revealed at 1pm on their allocated day: the public are encouraged to come along to experience the grand unveilings.

Helen Burridge, manager of St Albans BID, said: “This is the first year of the St Albans Advent Trail and we’re hoping to see some really creative efforts.

“This initiative is to encourage people to visit all parts of the city and there’s an element of competition to it as well.

The St Albans Advent Trail window at the Oxfam Bookshop. Picture: Anne SuslakThe St Albans Advent Trail window at the Oxfam Bookshop. Picture: Anne Suslak

“Each business will compete to be voted Best Advent Window to win a marketing package worth over £1,000 with the Herts Advertiser and Radio Verulam.”

Following the final reveal, visit to vote for your favourite and the chance to win a £100 St Albans Gift Card.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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