Christmas starts earlier every year, and this time I’m loving it!

Lyme Regis Christmas lights in 2019 (photo by Richard Austin)

THE Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier every year.

At the end of each summer season, I always feel sad that beach days and all my favourite events have passed by for another year. But then December rolls around so quickly and I remember how magical Christmas in Lyme Regis can be.

I usually roll my eyes as decorations and party food appears on supermarket shelves before we’ve even passed Halloween, but after the doom and gloom of the past 18 months, what’s wrong with a little festive cheer?

This year I’m fully embracing it and have been happily scoffing Christmas chocolates, cheese and sipping on mulled wine since mid-October. I even popped to Exeter’s Christmas Market last weekend to soak up the festive atmosphere.

And it seems Lyme Regis and surrounding towns are in a similar mood.

This year we’ll be covering no fewer than five Christmas lights switch-on events for LymeOnline and the Seaton and Axminster Nub News websites. Axminster was lit up with its biggest ever festive event last weekend and even Uplyme is hosting its own switch-on event on December 1 having made a real effort to improve its illuminations in recent years.

But this weekend it’s the turn of Lyme Regis – the big one, boasting one of the best displays on the south coast.

On a recent visit to London I caught sight of some of the city centre’s Christmas decorations and even they didn’t quite live up to the magic and sparkle of Lyme’s.

While the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, there’s definitely an increased appetite for people to get out and enjoy themselves. And if the recent crowds seen for bonfire night are anything to go by, it’s set to be another busy weekend in Lyme Regis.

The Lyme Regis Christmas Lights Committee have been working hard to get the decorations up in time for the big switch-on event tomorrow (Saturday) evening, accompanied by an illuminated carnival, displays by Lyme Regis Majorettes and Lyme Morris, and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

You can find details of this and lots of other upcoming festive events in our ‘Christmas in Lyme’ special feature in this week’s issue of the LymeOnline newspaper and elsewhere on this website, where you can also find full photo and video coverage of local events.

Having had to adhere to such strict restrictions for so long, it seems like local businesses are going all out to celebrate this year’s festive season.

Earlier this week I popped into the Pilot Boat to photograph their winter wonderland decorations. The Collyns family and their team have always put on a great Christmas display and this year is no exception.

And have you seen the 8,000 baubles adorning The Millside? No matter what the season, host Georgina always puts on an amazing decorative display at the riverside restaurant and I’m looking forward to taking a closer look as they celebrate their second anniversary party this weekend.

Our many independent shops have also put in great effort to decorate their windows for the season and will be hoping the resurgence of the local high street continues over the next few weeks, with some planning to stay open a little later tomorrow evening.

Local florist Teresa Fowler will be hosting environmentally-friendly Christmas wreath-making workshops next week as she celebrates the 25th anniversary of her business House of Flowers.

I’ll definitely be trying to support our independent traders as much as possible rather than Amazon and other huge international brands as I tick off the Christmas shopping list.

But despite getting in the festive mood early this year, I am still yet to buy a single gift!

THE PLACE TO BE:

THE Millside restaurant in Lyme Regis continues to win rave reviews for its outstanding food and drink and excellent service. This weekend, owners John and Georgina celebrate their second anniversary at the restaurant, which as mentioned above has been adorned with 8,000 Christmas baubles!

EVENT YOU CAN’T MISS:

I’M not sure it could be anything but Lyme’s Christmas lights switch-on tomorrow (Saturday, November 27). Events will get underway with a children’s lantern-making workshop in the afternoon and it will be full festive fun throughout until the grand switch-on at 5.30pm.

IF YOU READ ONE THING:

IT may not happen for decades, but rising sea levels could have a devastating impact on Lyme Regis Town Council’s most lucrative asset – the Monmouth Beach area – if the issue if not given foresight now. Car parking, beach huts, chalets and sporting clubs could all be affected.

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