Sparkling lights and Christmas treats at Cranleigh’s annual Christmas Lights Lighting on the evening of 19th November. A much loved tradition in Cranleigh that made a comeback after having to stop in Autumn 2020 due to covid restrictions. Held in Fountain Square, right next door to the local pub ‘The Onslow’, which served eager patrons with mulled wine as they waited for the lighting. Christmas carols were sung and various performances were put on. The large Christmas tree that is erected every year in the center of the square, dazzled with sparkling lights and the traditional star lit on top. As the crowds tend to spill out onto the street, Cranleigh High Street was closed from 5pm to 7pm
The old argument about ‘Is it too soon for Christmas?’ it was in the back of my mind as I was transported in the middle of this festive pocket for three hours in mid-November. A thought I didn’t linger on long as I got caught up in the joyful spirit of celebrating.
Hundreds of people thronged to join in the festivities, causing the local bakery ‘Celebrations Cakes’ to be inundated with customers pouring out of the shop as they patiently waited for cups of hot chocolate to set them solidly in the Christmas spirit and warm them up in the cold. winter night.
A number of stalls were clustered outside Sainsbury’s offering a variety of different products to potential passing customers. There was also a selection of amusement rides on the road in front, allowing the public to get some adrenaline pumping before watching the traffic lights go on. A variety of performers entertained the crowd as they waited for the lighting, including the band BrokeNBones who performed in Fountain Square at 5:30 p.m. Santa Claus appeared at 5 p.m. and allowed children to sit on his lap while he got ready. sat in his sleigh. While his parents also took photos of them as they told Santa their Christmas wish.
The lights came on at 6:00 pm after a countdown of 1…2…3, the flickering lights were greeted with cheers from the crowd. While a lot may have changed about the way Christmas is celebrated over the years, one thing remains the same: community. This was visible last Saturday as couples held hands, parents lifted their children on their shoulders so they could see above the masses and friends huddled together taking photos together for their Instagrams. It’s a welcome relief to see that the love that Christmas brings is alive and well.
By Vivi Douglas