Forget Christmas markets – my hometown has the best festive attraction and it's completely free | The Sun

CHRISTMAS is not too far around the corner, which means families all over the world will soon be celebrating in their own traditional ways.

In the UK, Christmas markets are starting to become much more common than they ever used to be, with countries more freely sharing their heritage with one another.

Yet there's one celebration that has let the people of Newcastle know that Santa will soon be on his way for more than 50 years, that isn't quite as popular anywhere else.

The unveiling of the Fenwick's Christmas window display is a key date in the calendar of most Geordie kids.

While lots of shops have their own festive displays, families in Newcastle line up around the block every year in anticipation of which theme Fenwick has used to decorate their vast windows.

Previous themes have included Paddington Bear, Shaun the Sheep and even a gang of aliens, all of whom have got into the festive spirit across several scenes that look out onto Northumberland street.

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Each year, the shop unveils its new display with a grand ceremony, with performers and, of course, Santa.

Last year's theme Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf was captured by Tiktoker "Rebbee" (@rebbeebee18) who said it was "a lovely story".

In her video, she said: "Come with me for the reveal of Fenwick Newcastle Christmas window 2022 as well as a full tour of the window itself.ย 

"Itโ€™s a lovely children's story to read with kids if they donโ€™t already know it."

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Others agreed, with one commenting: "I really like it – think it looks really Christmassy."

However, another replied: "Unpopular opinion. My fave was Christmas out of this world, the alien them."

This year's theme is yet to be revealed, with the unveiling expected to take place in early November.

The display will remain in place throughout the festive period until early January, giving everyone plenty of opportunity to see it – and plenty will be keen to make the pilgrimage.

The displays date back to 1971, when characters from kids television show Camberwick Green made an appearance in the first ever window.

Since then, it has become a key event in the city and one that I regularly went to as a child.

I have fond memories of queuing down the street from the store with my family, with excitement building as we got closer while the music used to accompany the displays grew louder.

Having since moved away, it's something I look forward to doing each year when I return to visit my family at Christmas, with my sister now taking her own children along to pass on the tradition.

My fellow Sun writer James Flanders also has fond memories of queueing to see Fenwick's Christmas windows when he lived in the city as a university student.

He told me: "It's never truly Christmas until you've queued up on Northumberland Street to watch the unveiling of Fenwick's flagship Christmas window display.

"My favourite display had to be in 2018 when the store's windows were decked out in a display dubbed Walking in the Air.

"It featured everything you need to feel merry – snow and a life-sized Snowman resembling the one from Raymond Bigg's 1978 picturebook.

"I guess the dedication that goes into these displays entices you into the store to explore. And why wouldn't you?

"I'd argue that Newcastle's Fenwicks has a Christmas section that rivals the likes of Harrods and Selfridges. The countdown to the next reveal begins."


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