STANDING all forlorn, with not a twinkling light in sight, is this South Tyneside’s last remaining Christmas tree?
The tree, which is outside BHS in Waterloo Square, South Shields, is still fighting its corner despite it being long past Twelfth Night.
According to tradition, January 5 – the 12th night after Christmas – is when all decorations should be put away to avoid bad luck.
But the tree, and many other decorations, still adorn lamp-posts across the borough, despite festivities being well and truly over.
The council was criticised last year by some residents for being too keen for Christmas after hanging up festive lights in Boldon Colliery in October.
However, now it seems they might be around for a while longer.
A spokesman from South Tyneside council said: “It takes around six weeks to put up the displays, which include more than 300 motifs and over 24 Christmas trees.
“The displays need to be carefully taken down and stored away properly.
“The council and its lighting partners Balfour Beatty are working through a programme to remove the displays.
“We expect to have them all down by the end of the month as usual. The lights have all been switched off.”
Back in medieval times, people used to believe that tree-spirits lived in the greenery they decorated their houses with.
The foliage was brought into the house to provide a safe haven for the tree spirits during the harsh midwinter days.
Once this period was over, it was necessary to return the greenery back outside to release the tree spirits into the countryside once again.
Failure to do this would mean that vegetation would not be able to start growing again (spring would not return), leading to an agricultural disaster.
But while the borough is likely survive any problems caused by tree spirits, council bosses know the lights have been enjoyed by many of the residents.
A council spokesman added: “Every year we have a fantastic display of Christmas lights, trees and decorations across South Tyneside and they always receive a lot of positive feedback from residents and visitors.”
* Have you spotted any other Christmas decorations still up? Let us know by calling 427 4868.