I was lucky enough to be invited to a first taste of Christmas this week.
I admit November 1 did seem a little soon, even to someone who loves Christmas as much as I do. But this was an event to announce what would be happening in the city to encourage more people to come here, walk around and enjoy what Leeds has to offer.
Leeds BID was the organisation behind the event. The BID (business improvement district) has been around for a couple of years now and has been making an impact on the lives, and the look, of our city. I’m sure if we asked a handful of people on Briggate on a Saturday afternoon what they thought of Leeds BID they wouldn’t know what we were talking about. But if we asked people if they noticed that the trees were lit up in Park Square last Christmas, or if they’d seen the giant letters in the station that spell out LEEDS, or if they’ve seen those people dressed in a uniform with a bowler hat walking around the city centre, and they’d probably say yes.
Leeds BID helps and supports (and is supported by) over 1,000 businesses in Leeds. Businesses pay a levy to belong and that money is then used to promote and improve the city. It’s an ingeniously simple idea. For Christmas this year the BID is behind events, illuminations and art installations which began this week and will run long after the new year.
For those who like to do their Christmas shopping at the last minute that will seem like an awful long time. But if you think of the first works Christmas party to the last penny of Christmas money spent in the January sales Christmas really does last for longer than Christmas.
Let the lights twinkle I say - just keep the cheesy Christmas music on pause for a while!