Let there be light: displays bring some seasonal cheer

December 18 2020

PEOPLE in the Kingswood area and beyond are seeing off the gloom of 2020 by lighting up their homes.

Many residents have gone to town on decorating their houses, and families have been taking after-dark walks to view the illuminations.

A Facebook page, Christmas Displays in Bristol and South Glos, lists many individual and community efforts, some of which are raising money for charity.

Churches are getting involved, among them St Anne's at Oldland Common, which has set up a beautiful winter walk in the churchyard. 

Let there be light: displays bring some seasonal cheerDecorated window trails, in which people follow a map to see a range of lit-up windows in homes, schools and businesses, are also proving popular. The  weekend of December 18-20 sees two big organised activities: Hanham Shine Your Light and Downend & Staple Hill Winter Windowland.

The Hanham event will run from 6-8pm on each of the three evening.  It is free to take part and to download the map to follow the trail.

Organiser Chloe Scholefield, 41, who moved to Hanham during the first lockdown, said: “The idea is to cheer up the otherwise dark and cold evenings in December with fun and light, in the form of decorated windows.

“There is no theme so the possibilities are endless. It’s a creative way to connect people and make them feel proud of their community.”

An evening wander to see the windows was a good way for people to get exercise and explore the area, while keeping a safe distance from others, she added.

A trained community arts coordinator, Chloe can’t wait to take her son, Hector, age three, to see the trail and she’s planning out silhouettes she can make with him for their own window. She already had plenty of ideas from following a similar window trail near her previous home in St George.

Let there be light: displays bring some seasonal cheer

Chloe, an art technician at Bristol Brunel Academy, is hoping the event will become an annual one and, from 2021, run alongside a lantern parade to boost businesses in the High Street and bring together the Hanham community.

Those who want to put up their own window display can have their address added to an online map of the trail by emailing hanhamwanderland@gmail.com

For those who can’t get out to see the windows, pictures will be posted on the trail’s Facebook  page, Hanham Shine Your Light, and on Instagram @hanhamshineyourlight

The Downend event has been set up by Nikki Holmes and Josie Vinyard. They formed a Facebook group,  almost 700 residents joined, and as the Voice went to print more than 100 people had submitted entries, with imaginations running wild to create everything from snowstorms, nativity scenes and stained glass windows to a Toy Story Christmas party.

Let there be light: displays bring some seasonal cheer

Nikki said: "We are two local mums with young families, who moved to Downend when our children were babies and later became friends at the school gates.

"We have approached shops and businesses and even care homes to try to include everyone in the local community in this event, and to hopefully help people feel a bit more connected to each other at this difficult time."

To find out more about the trail and how to download a map, search for The Downend and Staple Hill Winter Windowland Trail on Facebook.

Donations to North Bristol Foodbank can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/winterwindowlandtrail.

Paper trail maps will be available from December 15 at Mel's Kitchen in Downend or The Card Shop and Bunch Florist in Staple Hill, in return for a small donation to the appeal.