As a child I remember when the Lions Club would bring round Father Christmas on his sleigh along the street I grew up. It was magical! Since moving to Bromford nearly 10 years ago I had never seen this happen here. For some reason the Lions Clubs and other groups who bring Father Christmas around the streets of East Brum don’t venture down to Firs & Bromford! I will leave it to them to answer why we get left out.
I was talking to one of our local connectors who said how amazing it would be if we could do it here. I tried a few organisations but with no joy. Everybody was busy with their current streets and couldn’t do it ‘for’ us.
Last Christmas (2016) whilst attending the street event to open Tom’s Lights I noticed there in the corner a sleigh. My eyes lit up, Tom has a sleigh which he can tow on the back of his truck. When I approached Tom asking if we could do it in Firs & Bromford he was delighted! He said he tried it a couple of years ago but couldn’t get enough people to make it happen. I said I didn’t think that would be a problem! We booked up 2 nights and we did it and I could not have imagined the response.
It was magical! A few of us all got dressed up (some of the most magical times are when we get dressed up in this community!) and we slowly walked alongside the sleigh. The message had got around the estate that Father Christmas was coming and people gathered on street corners and waited on their drives, others heard the music and came out their front doors and hanged out of windows. All with huge beaming smiles on their faces, and speaking words of gratitude and delight. So many people said to us ‘Thank you so much, you have brought Christmas to our estate!’. It wasn’t just children with their families who had the look of delight and wonder. All ages came out to welcome Santa.
This year (2017) we wanted to step it up. We booked 3 nights and planned in stop off points so people could gather. Even more people dressed up, and this year other people joined us as we went along with the crowds getting bigger and bigger. The spirit as we walk along is joyous as the community comes out onto the streets. People donate money, some offered us food, some children had written letters for Santa, and most wanted their picture taken with Santa and his wife. All memories people will remember like I remembered from my childhood.
I think now this has become an annual tradition here in Firs & Bromford. It brings so much joy to our community, gets the community out of their doors and onto the streets, people of all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths interacting with each other and sharing seasons greetings, people feeling part of something special, and raising money for local groups. But for us I believe what makes it even more special is the community doing something amazing for each other. When other groups and organisations had left us out of their plans we responded by finding a way of doing it ourselves, and this makes it so much more significant. Our taking Father Christmas along the streets is neighbours wishing each other a happy Christmas and sharing something memorable together rather than relying on others to provide something for us. This for me sums up the culture that is growing here in Firs & Bromford – Together We Can!