Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The Christmas lights of old Aberdeen still dazzle after all these years

A number four bus drives along Union Street under the bright Christmas illuminations in 1964.
A number four bus drives along Union Street under the bright Christmas illuminations in 1964.

Across the north-east, Christmas lights are bursting into life to drive cold winter away and bring some sparkle and cheer to these particularly dark days.

Many communities are switching on their festive illuminations this weekend in a range of innovative, socially-distanced ways.

Already, Union Street is a blaze of colour and the Christmas tree is twinkling in the Castlegate.

We’ve opened our archives to take a look at Aberdeen’s Christmas decorations from past years, including some special guests who had the honour of turning on the lights.

One of Aberdeen’s best-loved sons, Denis Law, led the parade down Union Street that saw the lights burst into life in 2017. Some 15,000 people turned out to see the football legend, who had just been granted the Freedom of the City.


The annual lighting up ceremony has drawn big crowds over the years… just look how bustling Union Street is after the switch was thrown in 1974.


The Union Street decorations are eye-catching at street level, but this bird’s-eye view from 1992 shows how the thoroughfare is turned into a river of light.


This lovely photo from 1989 shows just how captivated kids are by the wonder of Christmas. Danny Burnett, 4, and his sister, Kira, 2, were clearly under the spell cast as the lights burst into life.


The Christmas lights don’t appear by magic… a lot of work goes into putting them up and keeping them on. Back in 1994, Ronnie Morgan, an electrician with Grampian Regional Council, was pictured working on the lights high above Union Street after they were damaged by heavy rain and wind.


Bringing light and cheer at Christmas time isn’t just down to the council. Over the years many shops have played their part, too. The decorations at the Northern Co-operative Society building in Loch Street were a feature of the festive season in the 60s, including this Snow White-themed display from 1967.


Three ships go sailing by as the Christmas lights shine over Union Street in 2001.


Five-year-old Stephanie Keenan had a starring role in 1995, when she helped Daniel O’Donnell switch on Aberdeen’s Christmas light. She was a big fan of the Irish singer.


Council leader Kate Dean is joined by the cast of Balamory, Big Brother winner Cameron Stout and special guests at the Union Street Christmas lights switch on ceremony in 2004.

Rudolph leads Santa’s sleigh as the switching on parade thrills crowds on Union Street in 1965.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]