PEOPLE across Oxfordshire looked forward to Christmas as festive lights were switched on across the county.
While Abingdon switched on its Christmas lights on Saturday, the Donnington Bridge Sea Cadets in Oxford started their annual Christmas Tree Sale, undeterred by the floods.
Elsewhere in Oxford, Father Christmas made a visit to St Barnabas School in Jericho, and deployed a few of his Elves to help Christmas shoppers at the Westgate Centre.
If anyone doubted that blood, sweat and tears went into the St Barnabas Christmas Bazaar on Saturday they needed only to look at the organisers’ hands after they produced hand-made wreaths with holly and moss from local gardens.
Lucy Pritchard, co-chairwoman of the Christmas Bazaar, said “I’ve got cuts all over my hands, but what a great day.
“We only learned to make the wreaths a few weeks ago, having learned from professionals, but they were hugely popular.
“We sourced materials from everywhere, even the gardens of Worcester College.
“It was a wonderful day and we smashed last year’s record, and made over £1,000.”
The money will go towards events at St Barnabas School.
Abingdon town centre’s switch-on ceremony started earlier this year, with a parade at 11am, and more than 1,000 revellers turned out for festive fun throughout the day.
Amelia O’Brien, eight, May Alder, seven, her sister Grace, eight and Beatrice O’Brien, five, enjoyed the lights display and the fireworks which followed.
At the Westgate Centre in Oxford, shopping assistant Amy Quesne, 25, said: “We were just trying to make people smile, help them with directions or carrying their bags. It was great fun.”
At Donnington Bridge, Sea Cadets kept an annual tradition alive by starting their Christmas Tree sale.
In Wallingford, the town’s Mayor Ros Lester switched on the Christmas lights in the Market Place, as shops in the town opened for the annual extravaganza.
On Friday, hundreds of people gathered in Witney to see Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron throw the switch to get the Christmas lights shining.
The evening also featured ice sculptures, local musicians, and a traditional hog roast. Santa and his reindeer made a guest appearance to hand out a few presents early.
On Saturday, Bicester was transported back in time with its Edwardian Market, where youngsters dressed as chimney sweeps serenaded shoppers with stringed instruments, while Sea Scouts sold tickets for their Christmas raffle.