Restrictions on social gatherings to protect people from the risk of Covid-19 mean that Mansfield District Council has cancelled its annual Christmas lights switch-on event this year.
The town centre will still be decorated with Christmas lights over the festive period, however, and there will still be a Christmas tree in the Market Place.
But instead of an official switch-on ceremony, the council will instead deliver a weekend of virtual celebrations via its Facebook page in November and a Christmas in Mansfield campaign that shines the festive fairylights on efforts to support vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.
Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “The most important thing is to keep local people safe.
“We know many people will be disappointed that there will be no big town centre switch-on event this year, but Christmas is far from cancelled in Mansfield.
“There will still be plenty of festive spirit to cheer people up and boost morale in these difficult times and we still intend to support our local businesses to ensure people shop close to home to support the Mansfield economy.
“We especially want to focus on the amazing work going on in our community to support those who are having a tough time during this pandemic, whether mentally, physically or financially. This will truly be a time to reach out to those in need.”
Residents and businesses will be able to buy a bauble for the town centre Christmas tree to raise money for festive food and treats for those facing Covid-related financial pressures and who may not get to enjoy Christmas luxuries this year.
Sponsoring a bauble will enable businesses or organisations to share a festive messages, or allow families to pay tribute to a loved one or thank a volunteer, friend or neighbour for their support during the pandemic.
Messages will be displayed on the town centre Christmas tree for all the community to see. More details about how to sponsor a bauble will be released soon.
The council events team also wants to hear from local gift-selling businesses that may wish to be involved in a district-wide Secret Santa Appeal. The idea is for people or businesses to buy gifts from local businesses for the council to distribute among those most in need.
The Christmas in Mansfield campaign will kick off with a virtual event at the end of November with a weekend of entertainment shared on the council’s Facebook page, @mymansfielduk, to keep the whole family entertained.
As well as tutorials on making homemade gifts and Christmas crafts, there will be singalongs, competitions and freebie giveaways. More details about what is planned will be released over the coming weeks.