Dreaming of a SoWo Christmas

Elaine Atkins and Rena Pathak start the countdown for the South Woodford Society’s local festive plans

As the winter nights draw in and we are all working so hard, I think it’s fair to say that this Christmas is a time we are all really looking forward to.

The pandemic has hit us all hard in so many ways, and last year, it felt that Christmas was, essentially, cancelled. We all want to celebrate this year, but maybe not all of us are prepared to go shopping in town or deal with large crowds or the busy Tube. Luckily, we have a wonderful opportunity to do our Christmas shopping and to meet up with family and friends right here in South Woodford.

South Woodford ‘town centre’ has a fascinating spread and it’s well worth exploring the shops, cafes and restaurants in each of its George Lane, Woodford High Road and Hermon Hill and Chigwell Road areas. You’ll also see historical buildings and trees – and don’t forget to look up, as there are remnants of painted and embossed signage that will take you back to earlier times. It will give you a good walk too!

Our exciting news is that we’ll be extending our usual monthly market into a festive Christmas market, to be held on Sunday 19 December, from 11am to 4pm. It will be a family-friendly, joyful event, with an emphasis on bringing the community together, shopping local, keeping safe and bringing in that much-needed festive cheer.

The Christmas market and our local businesses will have something for everyone, with lots of gift ideas, decorative items and, of course, delicious food for all the family to enjoy. We are organising a music pavilion, showcasing local musical talent who will be singing carols and entertaining us with live music throughout the day. And watch this space, as we may, just may, have a very special visit from a gentleman who lives in the North Pole, so we are getting a Grotto ready, just in case.

In addition to the live music, festive stalls and food, we are aiming to create lots of activities for children to play, make and do, so the whole family can spend the day together enjoying the festivities. And do get in touch if you want to be involved with a stall on the day or have an idea for an activity at the event.

But what would Christmas be without festive lights? As we write this, we are working with the officers at Redbridge Council to create a well-lit, festive street scene for George Lane this winter. And we’re planning to hold a special ceremony to switch on our Christmas lights in early December.

Merry Christmas and see you soon!

The South Woodford Christmas market will take place on George Lane on 19 December from 11am to 4pm. For more information, visit swvg.co.uk/market

For more information on the South Woodford Society and their festive plans, visit swvg.co.uk/sws