Border towns set to light up for Christmas

Kelso's tree and lights last year.
Kelso's tree and lights last year.
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The countdown to Christmas has begun, and the Borders is set to sparkle, with Christmas light switch-ons planned across the region from this weekend onwards.

Kelso is among the first towns kicking off the festive fun with lighting-up celebrations this Saturday.

Volunteers in Selkirk put up the town's new Christmas lights at the weekend.

Volunteers in Selkirk put up the town's new Christmas lights at the weekend.

Organised by Kelso Community Events Group, festive entertainment will be on offer in the town centre from 5pm until 7.30pm, with the lights being switched on at 7pm.

There will be musical entertainment and dancing from the Lynella School of Highland Dance, McNally Dance Academy and Michelle Douglas School of Dance.

A funfair and Santa’s grotto will offer further festive fun.

On the same day, Galashiels Rotary Club will hold a Christmas market in the town between 10am and 4pm.

Elves Abigail Anderson and Christie Hunter at Lauder's torchlit parade last year.

Elves Abigail Anderson and Christie Hunter at Lauder's torchlit parade last year.

Now in its fourth year, the market will welcome 25 different stalls and craftspeople to Channel Street, Douglas Bridge and Market Street, and Santa will travel round the town along Channel Street and Market Street every hour.

The town’s lights will be switched on at 5pm.

Newtown St Boswells is set to follow suit on Sunday, when Santa will lead a procession starting at Milestone Garden and Leisure at 5.30pm.

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place at the village’s Christmas tree at 5.45pm.

Jedburgh's lights last year.

Jedburgh's lights last year.

Hawick’s annual parade has this year changed day from its usual Saturday to next Thursday evening, December 1.

Around 350 townsfolk and school pupils in fancy or seasonal dress are expected to take part in a parade from Duke Street to Trinity Gardens and to High Street, starting at 6pm.

Hawick Scout Pipe Band will be performing Christmas tunes along the parade route.

Others taking part in the parade this year include representatives of the fire brigade, the town’s primary schools and a sleigh driven by Santa Claus.

Lauder's celebrations last year.

Lauder's celebrations last year.

Santa will also be given the honour of switching on the town’s lights.

Jedburgh will follow suit next with a winter festival event on Friday, December 2, organised by Rotary Club members.

The parade, led by the Jedburgh Royal British Legion Pipe Band, will leave from Jedburgh Grammar school at 5.30pm and proceed up High Street to the Square, where there will be carol singing by the primary school choirs and a switch-on of tree lights.

A Christmas craft fair will then open in the town hall from 6.15pm, plus a treasure hunt and games for children and a torchlit procession.

Lauder’s Christmas lights festival group has brought its event forward a week this year, with the big switch-on taking place on Saturday, December 3.

Festivities will run all day, with Lauder Parish Church opening all day to receive and display entries for a nativity scene competition.

A lantern-making workshop and competition, run by Lauder in Bloom, will take place in the public hall throughout the morning, and lanterns created will later be used as part of a torchlight procession.

A German-style Christmas market will be held in the primary school from 4pm.

The day reaches a climax with the fireworks display at around 6.15pm.

Also on December 3, Selkirk will unveil its new Christmas lights, with the town’s first ever organised switch-on event taking place from 3pm in Market Place.

Selkirk royal burgh standard bearer Rory Monks and his attendants will be on hand to help Santa on the day, and musical entertainment will come from Selkirk Silver Band, Selkirk Pipe Band, Deer Street and Selkirk Opera.

As well as new lights, the town will be decorated with more than 1,800 knitted pom-poms and a variety of other decorations knitted and crocheted by the Souter Stormers.

The winner of a jumper design competition hosted by the Fleece pub will turn on the lights at 4.30pm.

Peebles Christmas Lights Association has organised a festive funfair and market to accompany its switch-on event on Thursday, December 8.

The switch-on will be live across the airwaves again, courtesy of Radio Borders, with Keith Clarkson and Gregor Runciman broadcasting live from the steps of the Tontine Hotel from 6pm to 8pm.

The market and funfair opens at 6pm, with the switch on by 2016 Beltane Queen Madeline Collins and Santa Claus himself at 7.30pm.

The parade will leave from the parish church, travelling along the High Street to the Tontine Hotel.

Peebles Burgh Silver Band and Peebles Ex-Servicesmen’s Pipe Band will be providing entertainment on the evening, with Kingsland School Choir also singing some festive carols from around 7.10pm.

Shops in High Street, Eastgate, Northgate and Old Town will be open for late-night shopping.

In Melrose, the streets will be lit up on Saturday, December 10, with a parade and carol singing event organised by the town’s Rotary club.

The parade will leave St Mary’s School at 5.30pm and follows the one-way system along Buccleuch Street and culminating in Market Square.

Earlston will welcome a visit from Santa on Sunday, December 11, when its festive lights will be unveiled at 6pm.