For me there are two perfect times to be in Beccles- in the summer and at Christmas…and a big part of that are the Beccles Christmas lights. But it appears that for every Buddy The Elf marvelling at the pretty lights there’s a Scrooge moaning at their incessant brightness…
I studied at Chichester, a place that decided last year to save money by not having Christmas lights. Now depending on your point of view you are either reading that going “Good show, why are wasting money on the Beccles Christmas lights when we could spend it on blah blah blah” or you are reading this in despair and hoping that this year the people at Chichester’s local council were visited by three spirits in the night.
Cards on the table…I love the Beccles Christmas lights this year. Gone are the tacky cardboard images of my youth and instead some simple light setups that brighten up the streets and generally add a bit of cheer without the side order of cheese.
Sadly there are some killjoys out there. Granted those killjoys may be people who live in houses where the lights shine into their homes. However my counter to that would be “Get some better curtains.”
This is the thing- if it was up to the killjoys we wouldn’t have the music, the big switch on event or markets. Everything would be functional and practical. These people I feel are the personification of “knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”
For example when I came home from uni I had been travelling on the train, powered through the London Underground and generally having to deal with the stress of travelling. Looking up on the way back to Beccles and seeing that star on top of the church tower represented the way home and some precious time spent with the family. I now have a nephew and niece who likewise have grown up knowing that when the Beccles Christmas lights go up it’s time to get excited!
Sadly I have friends who are firmly in the “Bah humbug” (or the slightly less confrontational “It’s for the kids, innit?”) category. It’s always awkward having to hide the fact that you enjoy twinkly lights and Noddy Holder yelling the introduction for the Yuletide.
But the thing is this- I am proud to have been born in Beccles. It is easy to forget that local companies club together, giving up time and money to help make those Christmas lights happen. The switch on is an event everyone goes out for and it is an opportunity for everyone to come together in a positive way. In short these lights are more than just shiny things to distract the easily pleased- for me they represent the spirit of our fantastic town and it is something we should all be proud of.