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. 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. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

City centre sparkle: Do you remember the Aberdeen Christmas lights of yesteryear?

Union Street sparkling with Christmas lights in 2001
Union Street sparkling with Christmas lights in 2001

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

As people start to prepare for the festival season, we decided to take a wander down memory lane to look back at rarely-seen photos from our Christmas past.

Unearthed from the DC Thomson archive, these images from the 1960s to the noughties show Aberdeen’s spectacular festive illuminations in the past.

They also offer a glimpse into how the city centre looked in bygone days.

The crowds turned out for the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Aberdeen in 1965 with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer adding a festive touch to the parade down Union Street.

Floats have become a tad more sophisticated in the intervening decades, but the home-spun nature of this one makes it all the more endearing.

Spot the much-loved and lamented shoe shop Dolcis.

The magic of Christmas can be completely overwhelming for toddlers.

Here two-year-old Shaun looks stunned as his grandmother Mrs Eleanor McPherson of Hilton Drive, Aberdeen, brings him to Union Street to see the Christmas lights in 1978.

By the ’80s, St Nicholas Centre and the Star of St Nicholas were important fixtures in the Christmas run-up.

Here, delight shines in the eyes of those gathered to see the Star of St Nicholas in 1988.

Seven-year-old Stephanie George (left), switched on the lights at the climax of the procession to St Nicholas Centre.

Stephanie and her attendants arrived on a coach drawn by two white horses and were escorted by Grampian Police Pipe Band.

As Santa looked on, Heralds John Mutten, Robin Ritchie, Jenney Newham and Alan Moody provided a fanfare.

Horse-drawn coach

In 1991 it was Leona Martin’s turn to switch on the St Nicholas Centre Christmas tree lights.

Here she’s getting a hug from school-friend Meg Parkin for her role, which included  being chosen to play the Star of St Nicholas.

Being the one chosen to set the city centre ablaze with sparkle is an unforgettable honour.

Here Debra Graves, 11, from Linn Moor residential school, Culter, did the honours,  pulling the lever to switch on Aberdeen’s Christmas lights from outside the Music Hall in 1980.

In 1979, the Union Street Christmas lights, seen here with a view of the Christmas tree from Castlegate, were switched on a week earlier than traditional, at the end of November.

The idea came from Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, who hoped it would attract shoppers into the city earlier and ease traffic congestion.

The extra week was to add more than £300 to the £7000 bill for the festive display — yes, like now electricity bills were a concern in the cash-strapped inflation-hit 70s.

Marion Higgins, 4, perfectly encapsulates the girly fashion of forty years ago when she switched on the Aberdeen Christmas lights at the Music Hall on November 24, 1983.

Her behaviour was adorable too.

We reported that “she blinked in wonder as she turned on the £14,250 display and the crowds thronging the pavements cheered in delight.

Whispered request

“Marion, Chapel Brae, Bucksburn, a pupil at the Raeden nursery school, took her thumb out of her mouth to whisper a special request to Lord Provost Alex Collie [pictured here] could he wish everybody a Merry Christmas for her?

“He undertook this civic duty with the greatest of pleasure and the crowds returned the little girl’s seasonal greeting.”

Among the hundreds watching Marion perform her task were her parents and three-year-old brother David.

Those were the days on Union Street, bustling pavements and teeming traffic.

This is 1987, when the switch on was performed by 10-year-old Brian Gemmell a pupil at Camphill-Rudolph Steiner School, Bieldside.

1983 was a special year with more of the city centre than ever before bathed in festive light, with illuminated features in Chapel Street and Rose Street for the first time.

But for the second year in a row, there were only two features in George Street and St Nicholas Street rather than the usual four, because of the business development going on there.

The lights may look a little unsophisticated compared with today’s glitzy creations, but what really draws the eye is C&A, another much-missed fixture of Union Street.

Do any readers still have purchases made there, perhaps even still being worn? We’d love to see them. Excluding undies, that is.

The Trinity Centre Santa and Reindeer Christmas Parade makes its way from the Castlegate along Union Street to the Trinity Centre in 2002.

On the sleigh with Santa were Miss Scotland runner-up Nicola Jolly and Paint a Christmas Scene competition winners Sophie Doull, 10 and Jade McKimmie, 6.

Taking part in the parade also were the Portlethen Pipe Band, Attic Theatre members as characters from Beauty and The Beast and Redz & Co cheerleaders.