The first of the region’s Christmas lights were switched on at the weekend, with hundreds of families flocking to Galashiels and Newtown to see their town centres illuminated and, of course, a certain bearded man in a red suit.
Galashiels Rotary Club’s Christmas market saw the town centre come to life, with elbow-to-elbow crowds taking in stalls on Channel Street, Douglas Bridge and Market Street.
Club president Patricia Paterson said: “The whole thing was just magical for the children. Seeing their faces light up was just brilliant.
“It was amazing. What a day.”
Praising the community spirit involved in making the event such a success, she added: “Rotarians really are the best ever at helping and giving up their time.
“Plus Scott’s Selkirk loaned us their gazebos, without which we would have taken a lot longer to get everything organised.
“And Lauderdale Rotary gave us a loan of Santa’s sleigh.
“It just shows the difference that can be made when other communities pull together to help each other.”
“The man in the bright red suit always puts a smile on faces, regardless of age or religion and everyone just loved it.”
Santa also took a slight stop-off during his hourly trips round the town to check out the 30 different shops that entered this year’s Christmas window competition.
The Cleland Volvo Trophy for best-dressed shop window, judged by Rotarian Norman Waldie and Vi Romanis, of the town’s Inner Wheel club, this year went to Liz’s Gifts on Douglas Bridge, with Farren in Bank Street, Cancer Research in High Street and Edelweiss in Park Street all highly commended.
The Rotarians have organised further tours of the area for Santa next week. He will visit Tweedbank on Wednesday, December 7, leaving the community centre at 6pm followed by Balmoral on Thursday, December 8, leaving Nikki’s Bar at 6pm.
The Energise Galashiels Trust also launched its Leading Lights in the Borders project on Saturday afternoon.
It will see a series of themed festive projected images transform the fountain in the centre of town and will run until December 31.
Newtown St Boswells town centre followed Gala’s lead by being illuminated for the festive season on Sunday evening.
Its switch-on celebrations, once again organised by Newtown and Eildon Community Council, marked the end of yet another year’s fundraising by the group to pay for and maintain the lights each year.
Families followed Santa and his piper from Milestone Garden Centre up to the tree, where Santa had the honour of turning on up this year’s festive lights.
St Boswells Brass Band added to the atmosphere with a festive performance of Christmas carols next to the tree before the crowds moved indoors to the community centre for a craft fair and refreshments.
Community councillor Roger French was delighted by both the kind weather and the turnout on Sunday evening.
He said: “We had a great crowd of people and lots of children following Santa and the piper on the parade.
“It all went very well indeed.”