Out on the Streets: Sparkly Festive Edition

It's time to bring some bling to Out on the Streets (OOTS) and for you to show off your neighbourhood's festive decorations. I realise I'm a little late with kicking this off for December, but I've been waiting for it to stop raining so I could show you Chippenham's simple decorations and tree. This is unlikely to happen for a while, so I've dug into my emergency archives to bring you Chester's decorations as seen late one November afternoon in the historic Rows shopping area. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you'll see Chester has a rather nice real tree decorated simply with multicoloured lights.

What's it like where you live? Do you have a tree in the centre of town? Is it real or artificial and how is it decorated? If it's a real one, where does it come from? I still remember Kate's horror last year over how a massive tree from Montana gets to adorn the Capitol's lawn. Perhaps your town has other festive displays such as street lights - are they different this year, or the same as always?

I'm also interested in your neighbourhood. Do you and/or your neighbours decorate your gardens in some way? Around here a number of people put lights in their trees or shrubs. Until last year they were usually a tasteful white, but for some reason the collective consciousness decided to have a mass change to blue LEDs.

I'd still like to see your public planting this month too, though of course many of you in the States and Canada will probably find this impossible owing to the snow that's started falling. However, I have a winter example from my trip to London last week to tell you about and of course those of you in the Southern hemisphere will have summery scenes to make us green with envy. One of my strongest memories from my last trip to Australia was how everyone decorated their hedges with tinsel, so I'd welcome any contributions showing us this year's scenes.

Mr Linky is here at the foot of this post waiting for your contributions. I'll keep him open for a bit longer than December to give you plenty of time to post something, especially as I'm sure most of you will have a bit of a blog break this month. I'll also put up a link in the sidebar, so you can get back here easily to add your links. Remember to add the URL of your OOTS post to Mr Linky, not your blog, otherwise everyone will miss out on your contribution as soon as you add a newer post to your blog.

When I started Out on the Streets in the spring I thought it'd only last a year. However, I've been cheered by your responses and I get the impression from last time that a number of you would like it to continue. I have an even longer list of potential posts about public planting than when I started, so I'm more than happy to continue with OOTS if you are. I'd also welcome your feedback: do you think quarterly is about right or would you prefer a different timing? Is there anything which OOTS isn't covering which you think it should? Anything else you'd like to say or ask about OOTS?

Those of you who are new to OOTS might like to have a look at the link in the previous paragraph which explains a bit more on what it's all about. I also wrote wrap-up posts for March, June and September's editions, so you can see the wonderful variety of contributions everyone's made to this topic so far. You really can write anything you like, as long as it's about public planting. The Out on the Streets label will give you all the posts I've written for OOTS and the Public Planting one will also give you these, plus everything else I've had to say so far about our public spaces.

See you soon, Out on the Streets!


  1. Hi - will try and get some pics of Malverns lights which are quite good. Also will do update on library planting which is also looking good. Thanks for the ideas was struggling for inspiration. Sent you a couple of emails over the weekend did you get them?

  2. Hi VP - Chesterfield has some nice lights, but a real tree was deemed to be a Health and Safety hazard (despite there NEVER being any tree-related injuries!)so we have a rather naff conical pyramid of white lights instead!

    Loved the Hallelujah post - it sounds like a fantastic event to have been a part of.
    Note to self....MUST find a singing teacher!!! :)

  3. I too have noticed the trend towards blue lights down my road. Possibly Homebase selling them at half price has got something to do with it!

  4. will try to get a few photos of local public lights. much of the neighborhood i'm in now don't decorate all that much anymore.

  5. Oh boy, the shame will be unbearable but I shall get you some pictures of Carrickfergus at Christmas time. We do not celebrate in much style. Belfast is usually nice though, so I'll take some there too. xxx

  6. Have not seen the Chester lights/trees yet so thanks for the glimpse. Will try to return to Liverpool to see what's a glimmering there for OOTS as well as perhaps some of the festive decorations we saw in Strasbourg. Himself hung up our exterior lights today but no photo as yet :)

  7. Hi VP, Chester is lovely! I have been waiting to get out and about here, but would like to see some sun and/or stop raining. I don't even know if we have a tree in my town, must get out. And I vote for the quarterly OOTS, it is just right. Our house lights are up and so cheering. We will do a post as soon as we have time. Thanks for doing this!

  8. I was brooding about Christmas lights to myself last week so I'm really pleased to see your post today VP.

    I wasn't blogging this time last year so I don't know how much this has already been discussed, but personally I really really hate these blue and white lighting schemes. They actually make me quite cross! They are so cold and sterile, how can people think they are jolly and festive?

    I see Marlborough has them AGAIN this year and now they seem to have spread to Calne. Marlbrough has such a pretty high street, it should look stunning at Christmas with it's lights on, but I all I think when I drive through is that it would look better if they turned them off again!

    I want to see some cheerful brightly coloured lights, am I the only one? Do people really prefer a monochrome Christmas?

  9. To be honest, December is always so busy--what with finals, and then commencement, and then the Christmas rush, and of course, the parties--that I haven't paid much attention to the OOTS atmosphere in the past. I'll give it a go this year, though, and see if I can come up with something...

    Oh, oh! Of course! Our campus has a big light show that I could show off. Why on earth didn't I think of that? (Probably because I'm never there at night, and avoid it like the plague on kick-of because of the crowds...)

    (BTW, I responded to your question about the posting to the subpages back on the blog. Hope it makes sense.)

  10. I have been planning to get out and about...and once it stops raining~~we've had tornado warnings in a nearby county~~will do just that!

    We have a big tree downtown~that I can get a few photos of~~and some neighbors really like to decorate!


  11. PG - great! Will reply to you shortly :)

    Nutty Gnome - Show me, SHOW ME!

    EG - possibly. I'm bucking the trend with multi-coloureds :)

    Petoskystone - that would be great :) My email's at the bottom righthand sidebar if you need it

    Carrie - just you wait until you see what Chippenham has to offer! Actually that's a bit cruel: they're simple lights but actually I rather like them

    Anna - I'd be interested in seeing whether Chester's lights/tree have changed because I don't think they were officially 'on' when we saw them. I've nabbed your Strasburg post already today, thank you :)

    Frances - it's just stopped raining here, after the wettest month ever. I'm looking forward to seeing what goes on across the pond :)

    RO - cheerful's what you'll be getting from me. I'm wondering what will happen to Chippenham's lights once the current light bulbs finish. I hope it's not blue LED's :(

    Susan - oooh Campus lights sounds wonderful, but don't worry if you get too busy. I'll come over shortly to see your reply to my question, thanks!

    Gail - stay safe! Looking forward to seeing a good ol' Tennessee Christmas!

  12. ps Just as I was heading out to get photos of the tree downtown~~I caught the news story about how the high winds blew the spruce in half early this AM! We've had 50 mph gusts and the tree was in the way! You'll be getting neighborhood sights instead. It's never dull in Nashville! gail

  13. The Chester lights were looking good on a very dark, miserable Saturday morning just gone. The lights in the shopping centre (though technically not OOTS) are lovely. You've beaten mme to the Chester lights, VP, but I may have a penguin up my sleeve ;-)

  14. Ooh, ooh! What a great idea! I will go take photos of downtown Ann Arbor some time soon!

  15. We went right out on the streets for this one VP. Like Gail, our town tree was also blown down, there were other surprises from the weather as well, but we were not deterred! :-)

  16. This looks like a Dickens village, VP! Lovely! I doubt if I'll participate in this quarter's OOTS--our town has only tacky decorations up and the nearby town's big Christmas tree was downed by high winds. But I'll be back for the next session! I definitely vote to keep OOTS, and I like the quarterly version--I always seem to be late anyway:)

  17. I'm waiting for it to not be bitterly cold. I'm not sure my camera likes to operate at such low temperatures. Chester looks charming. I love Christmas decorations and lights. I'll be looking for particularly tacky displays, but sadly, most the of people in my town have appallingly good taste.

  18. Gail - neighbourhood lights will be fine! I see there's been lots of festive trees blown down :(

    HM - oooooh, I can't wait :D

    Monica - fantastic, I look forward to seeing what you come up with :)

    Frances - thanks so much for your contribution :)

    Rose - now why can't you show us some tacky? Shall I lead the way...

    MMD - now that's the idea! Perhaps you can persuade Rose that showing us what's what is needed, not just the good taste. What's good taste anyway? ;)

  19. I've cheated - Mother Nature has done some decorating of her own round our way this week!

  20. Hi VP - first of a two parter from Alsace up today - I am saving the sparkly stuff for the second post :)

  21. Amanda - and they were certainly worth adding into the mix just to show that Mother Nature knows best!

    Anna - oooh I do love multiple entries! Thanks so much for your OOTS contributions, you always come up with something fantastic :)

  22. Oh well, there we go *shakes head and wonders off in shame*.....

  23. Thanks Carrie - I'm on my way over...

  24. Hi VP - back some sparkly festive OOTS :)

  25. Hi VP, you beat me to the Chester Christmas sparklies, but I've put up an update on the June plantings, and a photo of a penguin. Thanks for OOTS! It's been great fun and a good challenge.

  26. Fantastic HM - I've been all agog to see your penguin :)

  27. Oh dear, drinking mulled wine and trying to blog really isn't a good idea. I just tried to enter a link to my OOTS Christmas shopping in Stamford post and seem to have left one for my last OOTS in Ely instead :o(

    Many appologies VP for cluttering up the place *hangs head in shame*

    I did take some pretty pictures of Stamford for you though, so I hope you wont be too mad at me? *offers mince pie bribe*

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas,

    RO :o)

  28. *chomps enthusiastically*

    Thanks RO :) Don't worry - I can easily edit out the superfluous link. Many thanks for such lovely views of Stamford, they really show what a town should look like in the run up to Christmas!

  29. Late in the day VP but finally posted on Chavasse Park, which we nipped into on the very last day of the year. Hope that you are shaking off your cold.

  30. Thanks Anna - yes I'm feeling much better now :)

    Thanks too for your contribution - it's interesting to see from yours, PG's and my roundabout contributions this quarter how well grasses look at this time of the year even when not attractively tinged with frost.


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