Nostalgia: Christmas in Edinburgh

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EDINBURGH’S Christmas tree is a spectacular sight. Towering over the city centre from The Mound, it is donated annually by the people of Hordaland in Norway.

The lights were switched on earlier this week during a dazzling display which brought huge crowds on to the streets of the Capital.

Men from Laing's decorate their crane with a tree in 1985.

Men from Laing's decorate their crane with a tree in 1985.

A stunning show saw colourful scenes as fireworks exploded above Edinburgh Castle.

Back in 1968, more than 1300 light bulbs were being screwed into the Norwegian gift by James Rankin ahead of that year’s big switch-on.

But the residents of Leith were a little underwhelmed by efforts to kick off the festivties a year earlier when a “wee” tree was unveiled outside the Palace Bingo Club in Duke Street.

The Evening News told of protests by Councillor Walter Dalgleish, who said: “I’ve put better in the bucket myself. It is a very poor show for the people of Leith. This tree is much smaller than those which have been put up in the past.”

Leith's disappointing Christmas tree in 1967

Leith's disappointing Christmas tree in 1967

In 1952, crowds flocked to Princes Street Station, where Bailie James Campbell switched on the lights at the opening of British Railway’s Christmas tree and festive model railway display, with the money raised at the launch being donated to various hospitals.

Current transport leader, Councillor Lesley Hinds, was at the centre of celebrations 25 years ago when she joined Santa and children to switch on Christmas lights.

And with the lighting of trees and other decorations come Christmas carols.

The nurses of Edinburgh Royal Infimary were in fine voice on Christmas Eve in 1958. More than 300 assembled round the tree at the hospital to lead a sing-a-long.

The Christmas tree at Princes Street Station in 1952

The Christmas tree at Princes Street Station in 1952