This is how Christmas in Sheffield has changed over the years

Christmas will be a little different for most Sheffielders this year - and as the uncertainty over how we will be able to celebrate this year continues – we have taken a look back over at the festive season in the city in years gone by.

By Lisa Wong
Friday, 13th November 2020, 7:00 am

By this time of year, Sheffield usually opens its Christmas markets, the city centre is starting to get busy with Christmas shoppers and children are preparing for their school nativity plays.

As a result of the pandemic, the festive season has started in a way that we have never seen before, but it has also prompted people to think of alternative ways to celebrate.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Events are an important part of our leisure and entertainment offer as well as our economy, but public safety is always our main priority.”

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Night time view of the 'Hole In The Road', Castle Square at Christmas, 1960s/1970s.

She added: “I know it’s difficult and that we all need some cheer in our lives at the moment, but we must adhere to the guidance to keep the infection rate down and our city open. During the national lockdown we saw how creative our residents can be and I know we’ll see similar scenes during these holidays that will allow families to have some fun while staying safe and protecting others.”

Although the city’s lights will still be on display, many Sheffielders believe Christmas will be very different regardless of what coronavirus restrictions will be in place, and have reminisced about previous Christmasses and favourite memories.

Bryan has memories of the Grotto on The Moor, Colin used to look forward to visiting the chestnut roaster on Pond Street, while Ted remembers how it used to be family tradition to go to the pub on Christmas Eve.

Other Sheffielders describe carol singing at the church, or watching a football match as typical activities leading up to Christmas.

Christmas Shopping at the Outdoor Market on The Moor, 1980.

This year, depending on if restrictions are lifted, they may enjoy a drink with friends over Zoom instead of the pub for example.

Christmas is also an important time of year for many charities in the city.

They have over the years sought to help everyone enjoy Christmas Day, from the older members of society to the homeless community, who some believe are often forgotten about.

Charities have suffered due to the effects of the pandemic and many are urging for donations, but they are still working towards helping the most vulnerable and isolated people enjoy Christmas regardless.

Christmas illuminations, Fargate - November 29, 1984.

Adira, a mental health support group for the black community, is providing 500 Christmas hampers to any struggling family and are looking for donations and volunteers.

Catherine, Kim and Mike are also encouraging people to donate to Sheffield charities instead of exchanging Christmas cards.

They started the Sheffield Charity Advent Calendar in December 2019, encouraging family and friends to donate to 24 charities, representing each day leading up to Christmas Day.

Sheffield charities due to receive donations include Age UK Sheffield, Baby Basics Sheffield, Cathedral Archer Project, S2 Food Bank, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Sheffield Young Carers, and more. See the Facebook page for more information.

Nativity play at Woodthorpe Nursery First and Middle School - December 15, 1987.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Christmas illuminations, Fargate, 1963.