Christmas in Selsdon has officially begun with the switching on of the Christmas lights on Friday the 22nd of December. A joyful event to watch and just the right thing to put you into the Christmas feeling with children from Greenvale Primary School providing spectacular entertainment with their singing of Christmas Carols. 

One of the best things about Christmas time, even if you don't celebrate it, is the coming together of a large group of strangers just to enjoy themselves. Nothing proved this more than when I attended the switching on of the Selsdon High Street lights with Ananya Vinod, 14. She said, "This is why Christmas is my favourite time of the year" in response to a little boy yelling, "I love you," to Santa Claus. Christmas has evolved, it has become a time for family and friends. While the importance of the origin of the day remains, it has now strengthened the power of togetherness- coming together and being together.  The day has become a day of love, time to spend with family and friends, time to return to our truest values focusing on the people we love and care for most.

The highlights of the festive event included Father Christmas riding down the high street in his car/sleigh, the giving out of free balloons to the many families that came along (despite my efforts, I did not get a balloon) and the fake snow blowing from a few shops eager to add to the Christmas cheer. As Santa flew through the streets, the lights came on one by one, "as if by magic," I heard a girl say. The event ended with a hearty thank you to all the people involved in setting up the event and Father Christmas riding through the streets for one last time waving to the children walking by. 

As you grow up, the feeling you once had for Christmas fades as your priorities shift, perhaps more towards the tests you have in December, rather than the joy of Christmas or the holidays in December. But going for these events rekindles that joy of your younger childhood, the excitement you felt while sitting on Santa's lap asking him for what you want for Christmas. That is why it is so important to take a break to let those care-free priorities you once had wash over you again, that is before you have to study for your next test. 

So, no more getting mad at people for putting their lights up mid-November, Christmas is officially right around the corner. With many more local events coming up including the Fairytale Grotto open every day starting on the 30th of November at the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon. Have a look at what local events are happening in your area and get into the Christmas spirit this holiday season!