A Cornish town’s decision to turn on its Christmas lights early tonight has sparked outrage with people claiming it is “disrespectful”.
The well-meaning decision was made by organisers and given the go ahead by the St Ives Business Improvement District (BID). The aim was to bring a bit of festive cheer in such a difficult time – but a vast majority of people commenting on the news seem to think the idea is in bad taste.
On one side are those who believe it’s disrespectful toward veterans to put up any form of Christmas decoration while poppies are being sold – and before Remembrance Sunday.
On the other side are those who believe celebrating Christmas and honouring veterans are not mutually exclusive and we should be doing more to lift people’s spirits.
Paje Susini was the first to point out the controversy, saying: “Too early! And I hope they’re turned off on 11/11 and Remembrance Sunday as a mark of respect.”
Michael Hookway agreed saying he found it disrespectful to those who never had the chance to come home to celebrate Christmas.
He said: “I always think it is disrespectful to put up or turn on Christmas decorations before Remembrance Sunday, as some never came home to celebrate Christmas, but that is just me.”
Janet Amsden agreed: “ I feel the same let’s show some respect to those who lost their lives then we can celebrate.”
Veronica Hearn added: “It should be December 1st, at the beginning of Advent. Poppy Day should be the focus at the moment.”
Margaret Askew was all for early celebrations but agreed that they should go up after Remembrance Sunday. She said: “I’m putting mine up after remembrance Sunday, and I don’t give a t**s what people think.
“I love a good Christmas tree fully decorated. It has a cheery glow about it. And God knows we need something to make us feel cheerful.”
Alice Gray said she understood people’s concerns but that due to “circumstances” she believes it is a lovely idea for the kids this year. “I think just for one year this will be okay and I think anyone who fought in the war would be happy about it if it made our children happy,” she said.
Chrissie Arkell replied to somebody criticising the decision. She said: “I can definitely see your point but Christmas is a time for forgiveness, a time for family and friends, a time for joy and peace.
“Even the war stopped on Christmas Day for a game of football. People need their spirits lifting, we’ve had such a terrible year with many people losing loved ones. A bit of Christmas cheer (early for this year) might just be healing thing for some. Stay safe.”
But it wasn’t just people up in arms over whether it was disrespectful to those who had lost their lives in the war who thought the display was inappropriate.
Others were concerned that such a display would cause people to flock to the town provoking a coronavirus spike – even though organisers encouraged people to stay away and watch he switch on virtually.
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Ian Bailey, said: “It’s October. This is only going to encourage a spike. Imagine people who have lost family to the virus and to do this before Remembrance Sunday is shocking. I really do not understand the mentality of this.”
Others said that irregardless of anything happening in the world, it was still too early for Christmas celebrations.
Lucy Hammonds, said: “It’s too early. Christmas is in December. The beginning of the month is fine but not October and November. Sorry but what is going on? Every year it seems to get earlier and earlier. “
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Holly Smith was one of a few that said it was a “wonderful” idea. Mary Clare De Pentheny added: “Anything positive that cheers people up is great.”
“Well this bunch are full of cheers,” said Justine Russell. “Negative comments all the bloody time. Why don’t people just cheer up and go with it.
“Once in all the years anyone’s been on this Earth are Christmas lights going on early. Just chill out and let it be, kids will love it and its will brighten the place up.”