By Megan Plumstead
At 5.30pm on the 16th of November Christmas kicked off at Churchill Square with the unveiling of the Christmas lights.
Guy and Andrea from Juice FM were joined by the cast of Spamalot, the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and stars of the West End to welcome in the Christmas season.
Churchill Square also welcomed Santa, yesterday, who opened his grotto in the heart of the shopping centre with a new ‘laughter laboratory’ and a huge, lit up Christmas tree that rises to the ceiling. Visiting Santa costs £4.50 per child where the elves will show them inside the magical Christmas tree and they each receive an age appropriate gift.
Outside of the shopping centre the German style market has returned for the seventh year running. Fourteen festively decorated huts selling unique gifts, local and European cheeses, breads and chorizo and warming mulled wine, as well as the hugely popular bratwurst hut, open right up until the 24th of December.
A member of the hut staff said ‘We are always busy. People are looking for a little something different to put in the stockings.’
This year Churchill Square will be launching its Christmas Giving Tree appeal in aid of Chestnut Tree House hospice for the third year running. Last year over £3,000 worth of gifts were donated to the children at Chestnut Tree House who write their Christmas wishes on gift tags that are tied to the Christmas tree. To make a Christmas wish come true, choose a gift tag and purchase the present, then it can be handed into customer services and Santa will take it from there.
Despite the Christmas cheer, the security staff at Churchill still have to be on alert, with the holiday season bringing a rise in theft and anti-social behaviour.
A security guard at the shopping centre said ‘Sadly there is always a rise in petty theft; the shopping centre is very busy over December.’ Seems not everyone is concerned about the Christmas ‘naughty or nice’ list.