Advent windows bring communities together this Christmas

Take a tour of your region

As Omicron cases increase, a Christmas apart looks more and more likely.

But neighborhood communities always do their best to bring everyone together, if only to admire the light and artistic installations.

Advent windows and light shows sweep through London and across the country.

With outdoor dating appearing to be our only way to socialize anytime soon given new rumors of restriction, decorating windows and doors is a symbolic act of coming together – after all, not too long ago, the people were doing this to commemorate the NHS.

Liz Adams is running the South Harringay ADVENTure Trail, which is in its second year.

“Our dual mission is to raise money so that the school can spend it on projects that it otherwise could not fund and to organize events that bring the community together,” she told .uk.

“I got the idea to create an Advent calendar in the streets of Harringay and sell cards to parents and local residents as a way to raise money for the school after all of our events were canceled. Last year.

“No baking sales, no summer fairs, no movie nights or nightclubs. Everything we normally did broke social distancing rules.

“The Advent windows could be seen from the streets – family groups and bubbles could walk the trails with a distance from anyone in the area.

advent window

A house on the Harringay Trail, unveiled on December 6 (Photo: Liz Adams)

advent window

A house also on the trail, designed when the holidays seemed likely (Photo: Liz Adams)

“It is important to note that this brought much needed joy and a sense of festive spirit to the region at a time when many people were away from their extended families – often for the first time at Christmas.”

Every day as Christmas approaches, a new window is unveiled and lit every day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. until December 31.

Many people reached out to Liz to say how much they enjoyed participating and how the project brought people together in a safe and socially distant way.

Initially, she planned to host the event only during the pandemic, but now plans to make it a permanent festive event in the region.

“What grew out of desperate need has already become a much-loved tradition,” she says.

Dom Hodgson in Leeds has been making his own version of this over the past three years, with a light show outside his house that aims to raise money for charity and bring people together.

“Last year we were one of the few things families could consistently appreciate about being outdoors, socially distant and best of all, free,” he tells us.

dom festive light show

People gather outside the lights of Dom (Photo: Dom Hodgson)

dom's house lights

Dom’s festive light show (Photo: Dom Hodgson)

“To a lot of people we have brought Christmas magic to a terrible time. We received thank you gifts, chocolates and letters from community members, and those who couldn’t travel were able to watch our lights online (with one video having over 50,000 views).

“We have raised thousands of pounds for charities which have been hit very hard during the pandemic.”

The first year he did this it involved 1,200 lights, then the second year it went up to 7,800, and this year to 25,000 – with 200 members participating now.

In her local community, it’s something people of all ages can’t wait to see.

For Maureen Stapleton, who helps run Advent Windows in Greenwich, London, the tradition has lasted far longer than the pandemic.

“We believe we are one of the first communities in the UK to do this, although it is difficult to confirm that,” she says, as the region has been lighting up since 2007.

“The showcases make us models, sculptures, collages and multimedia installations.

“A family builds a new automaton every year, with music and moving parts.


A previous installation (Photo: Maureen Stapleton)

advent window

A window of a local elementary school (Photo: Maureen Stapleton)

“Circulating around all of the Advent windows, once they are all revealed, takes about two hours. Many families now have an activity to do together, ”she says.

Over the 15 years of existence, Advent Window’s designs have been as diverse as an inflatable boat full of dolls to highlight the refugee crisis, a video on how to bake a Christmas cake, an art installation video of the nursery, and a small army of nutcrackers on Greenwich High Road.

These types of projects also create opportunities for artists, which have been particularly worked on over the past two years.

Emma Jane Clark helps organize the London Nine Elms Advent Calendar, which involves artists working in collaboration with different parts of the community.

Their 2021 art journey includes an outdoor forest scene in the pedestrian walkway through New Covent Garden market, a peace festival on a houseboat, a contemporary nativity scene in a London cab, art photographs and much more. .

Visitors can do this on foot or online, to include anyone wishing to view the art until January 5.

advent window

Part of the Nine Elms Trail (Photo:

advent window

This year’s theme is peace (Photo:

advent window

A community project that passers-by can stop to see (Photo:

In a time of darkness, local communities and artists ask people to follow light and creativity – merging the festive spirit with charitable intent.

Look around – one might be just around the corner. And if not, all these projects present their new windows and doors on social networks.

Good wonder.

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