Christmas countdown gets underway as St Albans switches up the festive gear
- Credit: Archant
St Albans is stepping into Christmas in a big way this week, as businesses, charities and residents light up the city with festive spirit.
As well as the illumination of the Clock Tower in the heart of Market Place, one of Santa’s reindeers has arrived early and can be spotted shining brightly on the roof of Ladbrokes. Rudolph is just one of a number of beautiful installations lighting up St Peter’s Street: the twinkling carriage is back outside the Museum after its popularity last year, and there are a bunch of other urprises around the city to bring some Christmas magic and sparkle to the people of St Albans.
St Albans BID, which provided these installations, is also responsible for a crop of Christmas trees appearing in the city centre, in Heritage Close, in George Street, at the Alban Arena and at the city station.
From December 2-11 shoppers can enjoy daily Christmas pop-up markets on the High Street, George Street, Heritage Close and Market Place, featuring wares from local artisans as well as favourite local pubs, restaurants and food traders such as The Boot, Anastasias/Costas and Lussmanns.
From December 12-24 locals can also look forward to the Christmas Charter Market, running the length of St Peter’s Street from the top roundabout to Market Place, with additional fringe markets from the BID operating elsewhere including Heritage Close.
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Following the huge success of Santa’s Post Office in Christopher Place last year, the BID is installing Santa post boxes in the city centre and elsewhere across the district this year, including Fleetville.
The city centre post boxes will be easy to spot, with the famous knitted Christmas toppers on them, but the ones outside the city centre will also provide a direct line to the big man himself: children simply post their letters, and, once they have been sanitised in Santa’s station, elves will reply on behalf of Santa. (Just remember to include email address, mums and dads!)
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BID manager Denise Parsons said: “You can post your letters in one of Santa’s post boxes, or in George Street, outside Cositas on the High Street, Fleetville Larder in Fleetville or Eyes on St Albans in the Quadrant.”
The Cathedral, Museum and BID are also working together on a Nativity Trail, which will kick off on December 19 and wind around the city centre with real life characters dressed up to represent the various nativity scenes.
Cllr Mandy McNeil, portfolio holder for business, tourism and culture, said: “We know that this Christmas is different, but we are determined to make it as special as possible. The BID and SADC Christmas team are doing an amazing job, working in partnership to ensure our local businesses have as many channels as possible through which to safely connect with consumers, and that we retain the magic of the season for our local families, as well as looking after our most vulnerable residents.”
St Albans district council is also running a Virtual Christmas extravaganza on its website and across social media channels for those unable to get out, either because of an enforced lockdown or other reasons, alongside a campaign to combat isolation – ‘Stay Connected this Christmas’ - and a ChariTree at the Alban Arena promoting local good causes.
Mandy added: “We are acutely aware of the fact that the pandemic has isolated even further those who were already struggling. We are lucky in St Albans that we have a huge number of community-minded individuals and businesses for whom these people are a priority at this time of year, who are working hard to keep them connected to the community.”
For details of Christmas events taking place over the coming weeks see www.enjoystalbans.com or follow @ChristmasinStAlbans on Facebook and Instagram.