What could be more magical and festive than East Devon's high streets, with all the sights, sounds and smells that make this the most wonderful time of the year, as the lights switch on, a festive season begins.
As the High Streets of East Devon come alive, we’re aiming to keep Santa jolly and on top of his nice list. According to the Big Man himself (pictured, AKA Cllr John Loudoun, East Devon District Council's Portfolio Holder for Council and Corporate Co-ordination), here’s some top tips to ensure the residents of East Devon are right at the Top of Santa’s Nice List in the hope this inspires you to spend your money with those who’ll appreciate it most.
- Shop locally, whilst Santa’s Elves are busy in the workshop, there’s nothing better than pottering down the high streets to pick up unusual gifts, antiques and all the trimmings for Christmas Lunch.
- Explore your local area and share your adventures from rural cycle rides to exploring the wildlife of the wetlands.
- With around 25 miles of glorious coastline, take a stroll on the beach and create sand angels or if you a brave enough dive in on an open water swim.
- Swap traditional brandy for a locally made mellow glass of beer or glass of white wine from the local vineyards.
- Switch mince pies for a locally produced scone with rich clotted cream (cream first obviously).
- Don’t forget the reindeer, leave out some locally grown, hand-picked fruit or veg from the rich Devon soil.
Whilst sustainability and shopping aren’t two words often used together, the impact of Covid-19 and the COP26 conference means that it's now more important than ever to shop consciously and shop locally. This year, we’re being urged to think a little harder about the gifts we’re buying and where we’re buying them from. So, before you fill up your basket from one of the usual high street or online retailers, for standout Christmas gifts that are as unique as the recipient, show a little local love.
As it’s the most wonderful time of the year, embrace your inner elf and be sure to join us for this year's community festivities, including:
- Seaton Wetlands: Reindeer Trail
- Thelma Hulbert Gallery: Present Makers - Annual Christmas selling exhibition of contemporary craft until 24th December
- Sidmouth: Late night shopping – 3rd December
- Exmouth: Winter Festival, carol singing, Live music & lantern – 4th December
- Budleigh Salterton: Christmas Late Night Shopping – 10th December
- Bicton Park late night shopping and craft fair - 10th December
- Axminster: Totally Locally Christmas shopping trail running up until the 23rd of December
- Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth: Illuminated Garden Walk – 7th-12th December
- National Trust Killerton: Christmas Trail until 2nd January
- Follow the Glow trail, Donkey Sanctuary until 6th January
Remember, money spent in your communities really makes a difference to local jobs and prosperity. Shopping locally contributes to the local economy and ensures the longevity of a thriving and diverse high street with greater choice for shoppers. So, before you add those final presents into your online basket, please go out there and have a look. You’ll be met with smiling faces for sure. It’s your hard-earned money and if you think local first, you’ll be investing in your hometown too.