christmas light night

It’s an annual tradition in Oxford: the Night When The Christmas Lights Come On. This year it was on Friday, November 23. The lights come on at dusk, there is a lantern parade through the city streets beginning at 6:00 p.m., and St. Giles is cleared for amusement rides and a stage for choirs to sing. We all headed in on the crowded buses to join the festivities.

I love the chandeliers that hang over Cornmarket.

The shop windows, after gradually Christmas-izing for weeks, were on display in their full seasonal glory–to the great delight of Norah, who loves Christmas trees.

The scene on St. Giles was more like a carnival than anything else, with rides and balloon vendors and packed crowds. I didn’t really like this part so much. It’s not even because I don’t like carnivals, though I don’t, but that it seemed out of place–a weird way to welcome the Christmas season. I could have done with more tree lights and less neon bulbs, more carols and less amusement-park electronic music, more cider stands and fewer glow-sticks and balloons.

The lantern parade through the city streets was worth the journey, however. Children walk behind a small brass band playing “O Come All Ye Faithful” and wave beautiful white and blue paper lanterns on poles. Norah and Harriet really enjoyed this, too, though the giant polar bear lantern gave them both a few seconds of shock and alarm.

We think Hugh had a good time, too. He slept through the whole adventure–just like a baby.

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