Santa Claus is coming to town this weekend

Niamh Hopewell and Rebecca Mount receive gift from Santa Claus in his Grotto in Coldstream Community Centre
Niamh Hopewell and Rebecca Mount receive gift from Santa Claus in his Grotto in Coldstream Community Centre

SANTA is due in town this weekend, on a flying visit to see Coldstream’s Christmas lights switched on and to meet the local children and hear what they are hoping to find in their Christmas stockings this year.

He is due to arrive around 4pm on Sunday, November 27, and will be led along the High Street by the Coldstream Pipe Band to his temporary grotto in the community centre, to enjoy a mince pie, mulled wine, entertainment and to meet the children.

The annual event, which involves the official swtich on of the colourful Christmas lights that run the length of Coldstream High Street, and the Christmas trees put up above the shop window and houses, marks the start of the festive season in the town and it is only right that Father Christmas puts in an appearance to make sure all is well and Christmas in Coldstream will be up to its usual high standard.

After speaking to the children Santa will then say his goodbyes and head back to the North Pole to carry on preparations for the big day.

Although he might be well advised to delay his return and have a good look around the town centre and Homestead craft shops first.

From a prize winning butchers shop to art galleries, Coldstream High Street has a few surprises up its sleeve.

Cards, stocking fillers from under £1, wrapping paper, food, drink, toys, cosmetics, perfumes, toiletries, kitchenware, ornaments, paintings, photographs, jewellery - to name just some - are all there within easy reach.

For something a bit different, the craftspeople up at the Hirsel Homestead offer one-off items that can earn you easy Brownie points by convincing the recipient that you have gone that extra mile to get them something very special - when in fact you did the complete opposite.

You can wander around the Homestead units at your leisure, have coffee and cake or even lunch at the cafe, and take a stroll around the Hirsel grounds which is considerably more enjoyable than battling your way through the crowds of Christmas shoppers on the city streets.

The trick is to know where to look to cut down on time and effort - and Coldstream is as good a place to start as any.

There’s every chance you will be able to find something for everyone, then have time to yourself to relax in one of the cafés, hotels or pubs, soaking up the festive spirit around you.

Whatever is on your Christmas list, your first port of call should be to the shops nearby, to see if you can save yourself, time, money and effort while at the same time giving local traders the support they need to ensure that they will be there this time next year when thoughts turn once again to Christmas shopping.

Once the Christmas lights go on along the street and we edge ever closer to December and the first window on the advent calendar being opened you know you can’t go on putting it off any longer but the town’s festive apperance and mood is hard to resist.

It was touch and go for a while as to whether the Christmas lights and Christmas trees would be as good as they have been in recent years, or in fact whether they could go up at all this year.

Scottish Borders Council staff removed the connections for the festive lights from the High Street lamp posts because of health and safety concerns but thanks to a concerted effort by representatives of the town’s Gateway Trust (who look after the Christmas lights and the summer flowers), Coldstream Community Council and Scottish Borders Council staff a solution was found that means the town’s much admired Christmas display of lights and trees can continue.

However, as less electricity can be taken from each lamp post for the Christmas lights it means switching from ordinary light bulbs to LED lights.

These use less electricity and do not need to be replaced as frequently but are much more expensive to buy initially and the Gateway Trust is looking for all the help it can get to make the transfer to LED lights to ensure that Coldstream continues to have such a wonderful festive display that is so good that only the main man himself - that’s Santa of course - could be up to the task of being official switcheroner.