Christmas is just a few weeks away. So, homes and communities have started to decorate to show off their festive spirit. And while most, if not all, children look forward to opening their presents on Christmas day, the children in Newburgh, Fife County, Scotland have another holiday highlight to look forward to every year. You see, when the holiday season rolls in, their village doesn’t just slap on some mass-produced holiday décor in their community. Instead, Newburgh becomes a gallery of sorts thanks to the unique Christmas lights inspired by the art of children from the local school!
According to Shona Gray from Newburgh Action Group, the dazzling tradition started way back in 2002. The concept quickly won the hearts of the people, and it has become a tradition ever since. However, no one else beyond Newburgh seemed to know about the enchanting light tradition. At least, that was the case before Poppy McKenzie Smith tweeted about it!
Our village Christmas lights are designed by the local primary kids and they are the single best thing about the festive season. pic.twitter.com/kDhfLk3Dcb
— Poppy McKenzie Smith (@GTOpoppy) November 16, 2020
Newburgh in Fife County, Scotland light up their village with Christmas lights inspired by schoolchildren’s drawings
Smith’s viral tweet put the spotlight on Newburgh’s unnoticed holiday tradition. As of writing, the tweet has been re-tweeted nearly 30,000 times and has also earned well over 156,000 likes! It’s safe to say that the world’s fallen in love with the Scottish village’s charming Christmas tradition. According to Smith, the lights are “the single best thing about the festive season”. Of course, we all already look forward to the magical transformation of our surroundings during the holiday season, but we’d definitely be even more excited if our community decorated with unique lights too!
Every year, the local private school students are tasked to draw something festive. These drawings will be collected by the school who will give them to those in charge of the Christmas light arrangements. Those in charge will then select several designs and bring them to life using bright and colorful lights! And every year, one student’s design will shine above the rest. When a winner is selected, their design will go on to join the village’s permanent Christmas decorations in the years to come. There are currently 18 winning designs on display this year. No winner was declared for 2020 due to the pandemic.
The lights are based on schoolchildren’s drawings
Newburgh’s tradition of basing their festive lights on the amateur art of schoolchildren is, quite frankly, unheard of. Usually, the grown-ups take full responsibility of holiday decorating, especially in public spaces. Children don’t really take much part in it – all they have to do is admire the grown-ups’ handiwork! But not for Newburgh. Here, the grown-ups collaborate, in a sense, with the little ones to transform their village for the holidays. This certainly gives this humble town’s décor a more charming appeal!
Children’s drawings are far from perfect. But that’s what makes them so special! The asymmetrical details, squiggly lines and exaggerated features give each of the winning light designs a distinct charm. The winning designs typically feature recognizable holiday characters and objects. Take for example 2019’s winning design that featured a pair of candy canes ‘tied together’ with holly by Lyndon Evans! Other winning designs took the form of Christmas trees, snowmen, reindeer and Santa Claus.
However, it’s worth noting that there were two years where a non-Christmas-related drawing won the contest. The winning collection also includes two adorable turkeys – one of which is wearing a Santa hat. This only goes to show how creative children can get! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Newburgh has decided not to hold the annual contest. Nevertheless, the previous 18 winning designs are back, much to the delight of its residents. In a recent interview, Isla Fisher, one of the 18 winners, said:
“I won in 2011 and I was so happy to win. I wasn’t expecting to but it’s so nice to see it every year.”
The village’s tradition sends a positive message
Newburgh’s tradition isn’t just endearing. It also sets a great example on how to show appreciation for children’s art! As we all know, providing children with positive feedback helps build strong psychological and emotional foundations. Carol Seefeldt, the author of ‘Creating Rooms of Wonder’, discussed this in her book. Here are some important quotes from the author:
“Thoughtfully displaying children’s art products and other works is important for a number of reasons. First, displays surround children with beauty that they themselves have created.”
“When children know their ideas and their work are valued, they are affirmed. They know they can achieve.”
Which among these quirky Christmas light arrangements caught your attention the most? We’d also love to hear about how you include your kid(s) in the holiday preparation period. Tell us about in the comments!
Source: Newburgh Action Group Facebook