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Published December 20th 2013
It's been labelled 'the worst Christmas tree in the world' and by our own new mayor, Darryn Lyons, no less, but if you think that the Nordic inspired red-and-white structure in the Geelong CBD is an eyesore, then you can rest easy, knowing that there are other (more aesthetically pleasing) decorations adorning the streets of Central Geelong for the festive season.
Walking along Malop Street (between the two major shopping centres- Westfield Geelong and Market Square), you will notice that all of the trees are decorated with different crocheted and knitted sleeve designs in Christmas colours. These woolly adornments were lovingly crafted by a group of people from Norlane, a suburb in Northern Geelong, and, while it may not be everybody's cup of tea, are a fine example of some locally produced yarn bombing. In recent days, flowers have also been planted around the bases of the trees, brightening up the footpath and making the walk along the street much more pleasant.
An example of some local Christmas yarn bombing
If you head towards the Little Malop Street mall, you will see the aforementioned ugly Christmas tree standing proudly just before the traffic lights. This enormous structure cost $30,000 and is a popular spot for people to sit while waiting at the ever-crowded bus stops. But if you walk on a little further, into the mall, you will be met with a prettier sight. There are 28 wooden trees on display within the mall, each decorated by a different Geelong primary school. This little forest of Christmas trees is colourful, with cheerful designs that draw the eye. Lined up in rows, and with the sun glinting off the decorative sparkles, you can't help but admire the creativity of our younger generation.
Some of the amazing trees decorated by local primary school students
Besides the different trees that grace the streets, the Geelong Council has embraced the Nordic design of red and white decorations, attempting to liven up regular street objects such as parking metres, supporting columns, and the wrapping around trees. They have also strung glittering starfish-style decorations off poles, and hung flags promoting the Nordic theme from the flagpoles in the centre of town.
The red and white Nordic theme is popular in most of the street decorations
Taking a walk around the Geelong CBD, you may also come across several large wall illustrations, designed by a local artist named Jenny Laidlaw. The Christmas-themed artworks- which have a distinctly Geelong feel to them and portray scenery of the town- are located in five different places around Central Geelong. In a council incentive, they have made this into a Christmas Art Trail Competition, where you have the chance to win a family movie pass from Village Cinemas Geelong. All you have to do is find the five artworks, locate the hidden letter in each of them and unscramble the letters to find the winning word. Entry details can be found at www.centralgeelong.com.au. A walk down to the waterfront will also uncover another large Christmas tree, which looks its best at night, when it is all lit up.
One of Jenny Laidlaw's five Christmas-themed artworks, This one is located on the side of the Carousel building on Geelong's waterfront
Geelong may not exactly be a winner when it comes to having the best Christmas decorations, and Darryn Lyons has promised a more creative and better approach to decoration installations next year. But for now, we can settle with knowing we have a strong sense of community spirit that has been proved through the decorations that we do have.