While we were sadly unable to hold our traditional community Christmas Lights event this week, we are delighted to celebrate the switch-on and the countdown to the holidays with a special video dedicated to our wonderful borough.
The video released on social media features Father Christmas himself, Council Leaders, Guildford MP Angela Richardson, Experience Guildford, local celebrity Peter Gordon, and other key town partners such as the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford Fringe Theatre Company and Guildford Philanthropy, all socially-distanced of course. The fresh take on a much-loved festive poem was written by local artist Nick White at GEEYOU.
Deputy Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley says:
“Christmas is certainly not cancelled in Guildford and it was brilliant to be part of a new way to mark the occasion of our usual lights switch-on. Your community spirit has been incredible this year and the Mayor, Cllr Richard Billington and I have been so impressed with how you have all pulled together to look after our borough and each other. We will be releasing details soon on how we can celebrate our fantastic Community Heroes through a new Mayoral Award.
“We usually have a nominated Christmas Lights charity and this year it’s our Mayoral charities: the Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund, which supports local organisations that are helping vulnerable, elderly and isolated residents affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and our Local Support Fund to support those families that are struggling financially. Make a donation to either charity here https://www.guildford.gov.uk/mayorsevents.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore explains:
“Our lights are on and you’re staying home, so we thought we’d bring them to you! We have all had a challenging year and our residents have continued to play their part by following the guidance to keep Guildford safe and we wanted to bring them some early festive cheer. We hope you enjoy the short film.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped support our borough this year, from the incredible volunteers to our businesses and essential and emergency services who have kept Guildford going. Please continue to shop local, lots of our independent retailers are online and please do keep washing your hands and staying two metres apart.”
Amanda Masters, CEO Experience Guildford says:
"The Christmas Lights always bring seasonal sparkle to the town centre but as we come to the end of a tumultuous year their illumination has definitely provided some much needed festive cheer. We hope that residents will enjoy catching a glimpse of the lights if they're heading in to town to make essential purchases, or for exercise during lockdown, and that the lights will serve as the usual beautiful backdrop for Christmas shoppers when the current national restrictions are lifted.
"We hope that people will continue to support local, online from home for now and when we are able to visit bricks and mortar shops again in person. This year more than ever it is so important to show your local retail and hospitality businesses some love in the lead up to Christmas and to continue to be cautious, calm and kind when you're in the town centre."
Peter Gordon says:
“It was brilliant to be involved in such a special video to mark our community’s usual celebratory night. It definitely wasn’t the same without you all but it was perfect that we can still bring some sparkle to your door while you’re keeping safe at home, and even though we couldn’t count together this year, or play our annual festive favourite Slade, the lights are now on, so… ‘ittttt’s Christmaaaas!’”
Things have to be a little bit different this Christmas so Ministry of Fun is proud to announce a brand new digital Christmas experience, SANTA HQ, a fully interactive, month long Christmas adventure for kids which both transports them to the North Pole and brings the magic of Christmas into the living room from the 25 November 2020 until Christmas Eve.
Ministry of Fun is the UK’s top provider of Santa’s, running the country’s most established and respected Santa School, and a long time pioneer of the art of family Christmas experiences. The Ministry has been leading the charge to COVID-proof the magic of Christmas, running a socially distanced Santa School in August which made headlines around the world and was widely praised for its ingenuity and imagination. Now the company has turned its formidable imagination to pioneering the ‘digitisation’ of Christmas necessitated by the pandemic.
Created by Ministry of Fun in partnership with digital agency PRISM, SANTA HQ is the highest quality, most interactive, most comprehensive and most magical digital Christmas experience.
A one-on-one live video call with Santa himself is one of the highlights of a magical 32 day-Christmas adventure in which kids team up with a hopeful young forest elf, Elf Greenhorn, to complete a fun, interactive and fantastically Christmassy daily challenge that will help him graduate into a prestigious position as one of Santa’s North Pole elves. With the children’s help, the forest elf will learn the true joy of Christmas…and may even get the chance to ride with Santa on the sleigh on Christmas Eve.
Daily content includes singalongs, dancing, arts & crafts, storytelling, and outdoor exploration, all set within a magical and heart-warming story written by Zoe Bourn who most recently has written for CBeebies’ Twirlywoos, Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam.
SANTA HQ also offers a personalised message from Santa for the whole family, a uniquely pre-recorded video message which will be available to watch from 21 December.
SANTA HQ is backed by internet entrepreneur, Wikipedia, and Fandom founder Jimmy Wales, who had an idea for a similar product but, upon discovering SANTA HQ, decided it could not be topped and threw his weight behind it.
TO BOOK visit www.santahq.app
£10 for a 32-day Christmas Adventure which contains unlockable daily content including Christmas videos, singalongs, stories, crafts, interactive fun, challenges, and a ready-to-print photo journal keepsake at the end
£20 for a personalised pre-recorded message from Santa to the whole family. Includes the Santa HQ Christmas Adventure
From £30 for a one-to-one call with Santa though may be higher for particularly in-demand slots including Christmas Eve. Includes the Santa HQ Christmas Adventure
All children in the same family can participate for the same price.
Parents fill in a ‘Festive Fact-Finding’ form before the call to give a heads-up on the child’s name and favourite things. Kids are accompanied by adult family members throughout, and accommodations can be arranged beforehand for children with special needs.
Calls are made by professional children’s entertainers, who are facing a tough year with most in-person opportunities cancelled this year. SANTA HQ is one of few outlets providing paid, COVID-safe employment for actors at a critical time.