While Audlem basks in the glow of its splendid Christmas illuminations – fifty eight small trees and the large Christmas tree in the Square plus illuminated large trees at the entrances to the village – and all installed by ADAS and a team of volunteers, spare a thought for many towns elsewhere that depend on their council.
A BBC Online report today shows some of the appalling displays with some even being greeted with boos when switched on and some councils forced to think again and improve their display.
Our photos show the pathetic Christmas tree in Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire (top) while below is the before and after photos from Clacton, Essex, where the council had to think again after a campaign and furious protests.
Sam Jordison, editor of the Crap Towns series of books, believes town displays seem to have got worse as people's home displays have got better.
"It's pretty hard for councils to compete," said the clearly Christmas loving author. "Christmas lights are inherently crap anyway – what are people expecting? How are they are not going to look tacky?
"I can understand why people care" he added, "as anything that attracts people to local shops is a good thing and I can well imagine that with budgets being cut that they're getting less impressive.
"And a bad display looks really bad – a few lights bulbs on a string that are not brightening anything up draws attention to the fact they are low budget."
Some towns and cities, like Canterbury, have made the decision to scrap their lights altogether rather than persist with sub-standard ones. "It was inevitable that this day would come", said John Gilbey, leader of the city council. Christmas lights were a nice thing to do when we had money.
"But now they are not of sufficient quality to make a difference and there is simply no cash to invest in new displays. Instead of persisting with something sub-standard, the only option left is to stop doing it."
Critics would argue that some festive decoration is better than none. But the coastal town of Herne Bay offers a lesson in what can go wrong. Last year the Kent town's decorations were deemed so bad that some of the crowd booed when the lights were switched on.
In contrast, take another look at Audlem's lights and, perhaps, give thanks to ADAS and their team of helpers.
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