Making an evening of seeing the Christmas lights

It’s the season of light and the season of darkness. An age full of wisdom and an age full of history.  A time of bleakness and a time of glimmer.

During the late winter months of 1954, the proposal of dressing a stately Street with Christmas lights came through. The first-ever light installation to grace Regent Street was of two-dimensional angels playing the trumpet. The notion of beetling illuminated sculptures spread dazzlingly over the streets, squares and iconic buildings of W1 and continued to flourish as an annual tradition (minus a few years). Inking the festive calendar.

Today, like every other evening, I stopped walking for a few seconds to glance up at the twinkling Christmas lights, grateful to see them glowing in the darkness. Looking straight ahead I noticed I wasn’t the only one whose attention was taken by the golden angels that glimmered high above causing a ripple effect, cameras and phones were all lifted and angled in one direction, up. I must admit every time I see this scene I feel a sense of joy to leave work as late as I do, just to witness the smiles of awe in strangers and the street glow as bright as it can. The darker the sky the brighter the shine. 

I continued to watch the pea lights twinkle in the soaring distance as I shuffled my way through the crowds to my bus stop. I tried to imagine the hard work that went behind designing, creating and installing the impressive garlands. Known as ‘The Spirits of Christmas’, the current display takes Regent Street back almost seven decades as it pays a three-dimensional tribute to the first-ever festive lights. With an avant-garde touch, sixteen hand-crafted, angelic spirits cover the full length of an iconic street (stretching from Langham Place to Jermyn Street) with thousands of LED lights in various shades of white and gold. 

Each stroll feels like I’m walking under a canopy of festive glam. My aim for the next month is to get at least one picture with or of the angels, to have a part of their 17-metre fluttering wings sweep across my photo.

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