Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

OOTS: Chippenham's Christmas Lights


In a slight change to the advertised programme, I'm not going to show you our Christmas tree in the market square, nor the 'corporate-style' decorations from our two small shopping centres*. Instead, I thought I'd show you just those festive lights which makes Chippenham the unique town that it is. Apologies for the fuzziness of the pictures, but they were taken at 10 o'clock at night and are hand held to boot. I was also on my way home after a GNO, so a fair amount of wine had been consumed beforehand ;)

The first picture shows you a couple of the key features. Firstly, a simple shape attached to a lamppost, usually of a single colour outlining a typical Christmas symbol, such as an candle, star or bell. Some are multi-coloured and a few are vaguely animated, but the pictured angel shows the most usual fayre. Secondly, lampposts without shapes usually have a string of lights wound around them and you can see a couple of them in background of the above picture.

This closer shot gives you a better idea of what's been done. I think these lights are of the old type, so I don't know what will happen when the bulbs start to fail. I suspect they can't be converted to the newer energy efficient bulbs, so perhaps we won't have these any more, or else we'll go to the colder looking LEDs, which other towns have begun to adopt. I actually like the way these lights have been done, partly because it's different to anywhere else, but also because it's making something of one of the more boring (though necessary) features of our streets.

The other main kind of decoration is the use of small real Christmas trees attached to the upper floors of each building. Again, a simple idea, but one which can look really effective. Until recent years, the entire high street was decked out with them and it all looked very jolly. However, each business had to pay for its own tree and in recent years, more and more of them have elected not to join in. The busiest part of the high street has hardly any at all and the odd one here and there now looks a little forlorn. However, the businesses at the less busy end of town still have their trees, so my walk home from town ends on a high note. I'm pretty sure these trees used to have multi-coloured lights, does anyone else remember, or have they always been white?


Finally, here we are at the end of my walk home and we find the lights displayed by our immediate neighbours. Other parts of the estate may have many more lights on display, but this photo shows a common theme to much of what's appeared this year: there's still blue LEDs, but the warmer looking animated white icicle style lights of previous years are making a comeback :)

* = code for I haven't taken the pictures yet

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the walk in town. It is festive now everywhere. I love this time of year when people are happy scurrying on their way - buying those last minute gifts. I am wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

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  2. I think the lights on the little trees used to be coloured. You know, I love blue fireworks but I am really uninspired by blue Christmas lights. Don't know why.
    Have a lovely Christmas VP and we'll catch up soon.

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  3. But that looks sweet, you lead me to believe I was no alone in my christmas light OOTS dispair! We do have some clear light curly shapes on the lamp posts and icicles on the town hall but I forgot to photograph them.

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  4. I love the lampposts. Sometimes simple is very effective. Blue lights are a newer thing, so I'm not sick of them yet. I like them best when combined with the white lights, for a blue & gold effect.

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  5. Chesterfield's lights are quite bland this year - I think it goes along with the removal of the real Christmas tree for 'health & safety' reasons!
    I don't like the LEDs and I like blue LEDs even less! Give me nice 'happy' coloured lights around towns please :)

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  6. This may sound perverse coming for a city girl but I love the Christmas lights in smaller cities and towns. The scale of them has a charm that is missing from the snazzier showbizzy offerings - I'm thinking of, for example, Oxford Street (sooo boring this year). Here in LBTH, we eschew religious symbols - and I so like a nice angel too.

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  7. Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed this walk around Chippenham. I hope to show you the tree next year along with the delightful lights in Bradford on Avon.

    TS - thanks for confirming my memory's not faulty!

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