Posted by: christinelaennec | December 21, 2012

More Christmas trees of Aberdeen

Happy Shortest Day!  Here it is extremely stormy, dark, and rainy.  However, as of today the tide is on the turn and I am delighted!  I so much enjoyed your reaction to my photo of the tiered Christmas trees, and Denise’s request to see four together, that I took a wee walk at 4:30 yesterday to see if I could find such a sight.  I didn’t quite get the four, but here are some more Aberdonian Christmas trees and decorations, if you’re interested.

Another two trees, stacked in bay windows:

Two Christmas trees, Aberdeen

Two Christmas trees, Aberdeen

The photo below shows a lower flat with a tree in its bay window, and an upper flat with very “mod-ren” lights, a tree in one bay window and dangling lights in both front windows.  The whole thing was flashing in various effects, but I managed to capture them all on at the same time so you could see:

Two Christmas trees, plus icicle lights

Two Christmas trees, plus icicle lights

And here we have four flats whose bay windows are close together, and three of them have lit Christmas trees:

Three Christmas trees

Three Christmas trees

But I did notice an alarming new trend, of no Christmas tree and a large light decoration instead.  There were two houses on the same street decorated in this way:

Breaking with Tradition.  Is it allowed?

Breaking with Tradition. Is it allowed?

Personally, I love tradition and I almost feel that, if you’re going to live in a traditional house (with such beautiful stained glass!) you should HAVE to put a traditional Christmas tree in your bay window!  Wrong of me, I know.  After all, the Christmas tree tradition itself was only started by Queen Victoria.

The other tradition in terms of lights at Christmastime is the Scandinavian candle arch in the window.  You can see one on the right of the Three Christmas Trees photo. (They aren’t real candles, but light bulbs.)  I remember noticing these when we first came here in 1992 and loving the simplicity of them.  This photo, to me, just says Aberdeen at Christmas:

The other traditional Christmas lights of Aberdeen

The other traditional Christmas lights of Aberdeen

Some people have both a Christmas tree and a candle arch in their bay window.  I don’t know enough about the Christmas decorating traditions of other parts of Scotland to know whether there are more of these Scandinavian candle arches in Aberdeen than in other places, or whether they only became popular in the 1990s, or what.  Scottish readers, do please let me know!

Happy solstice, everyone!



  1. Happy solstice to you too, Christine! We only have room for a small, artificial tree, but it’s twinkling proudly in our window and brightening up the dull days.

  2. Lovely pictures of Christmas trees! I always thought those arches were Middle Eastern, I had no idea they were of Scandinavian origin. You do see them all over the place, not just Aberdeen, although I must admit I haven’t seen as many this year. I have seen more bold, flashing, outside lights though, I think that’s a growing trend.

  3. I remember the arched candles coming in and they were everywhere – this in the English Midlands. Where we live out in the country there are a lot of outside trees smothered in lights, I will try and get a pic as we are off to the panto this evening in Fraserburgh. I dont normally go out when its dark!

  4. Happy shortest day to you too! The Scandinavian arches are pretty rampant here in Edinburgh too. They did come in during the 1990s. I’m a complete traditionalist when it comes to Christmas decorations – I have a particular dislike of anything that flashes, is a virulent colour (ie this season’s electric blue and LED lights), or looks like it needs a whole electricity sub-station to power it. In contrast, the most beautiful decorations I’ve ever seen were in Norway. Driving through the snowy countryside at night, candle and lantern-lit windows glowing softly…entrancing.

  5. So pretty, Christine! I do love the blue lights (you could have guessed), and the arched candles. I hope you enjoyed your walk, it looks lovely there with the trees in the windows. I just love this time of year! Who cares if it’s the longest night, it is lit up so beautifully! xx

  6. I am a bit of a traditionalist myself. i do like a tree because every year i put up the same ornaments and remember when each one was given and by whom. it’s a nice way to think back on days before and remember friends and people who you’ve crossed paths with. On the other hand though, i do spend a fair amount of time in Ikea because i love the simplicity of what they sell; it is so uncluttered. i also love light in small doses so i love things like candles and i think i could like the arch very much.

  7. Christmas lights [flickering flames, ok; flashing lights not so much] are one of my favorite parts of our celebration. I do hope Scotland has not succumbed to inflatable yard decorations…shudder…even an inflatable Nativity!!! Thanks for posting, Christine:)

  8. Thanks, everyone! It’s interesting to hear that the candle arches are relatively new. I suppose they came here when I did and so I perceive them as quintessentially Aberdonian! (Unlike myself.)

    Gracie, there are a few inflatable Santas here, but mostly just tethered in front of shops or petrol stations. The winds here are so fierce that they do tend to blow away.

  9. I love seeing those lit trees in the windows. I have small artificial ones in each of the DS’ windows on the front of the house but rarely seen by anyone.

  10. Thank you, Christine for the tree photos! I love seeing all the windows.
    It use to be very popular in my area (northwest Georgia) for a single
    candle (electric) to be placed in each window on the front side of a house.
    However, that does not seem to be done as much now. I always enjoyed
    driving by at night and seeing the candle light….
    So glad to hear that the Dafter had such a wonderful Christmas!
    Will be thinking of all of you for the new year…..

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