Comment: It’s starting to look a bit like Christmas

Thousands will be given the chance of free ice skating. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

Thousands will be given the chance of free ice skating. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

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As we cling on to the last strains of summer, to even contemplate Christmas would be met with a collective groan around the city.

It may be less than 100 days away but while there is still a chance of sitting out in the garden of an evening, we just don’t need to hear about it yet.

There are people in Edinburgh, however, who don’t just need to be thinking about the festive season, they are already living it 24/7.

Edinburgh’s Christmas has become such a massive and economically important event to the Capital that the planning for the event starts as soon as the decorations are packed away each year.

Whatever you think about the winter transformation of the city centre, there is no doubt about its impact on footfall and spend at a time when traditional retailers are battling for their lives against the twin threat of online shopping and out of town centres.

Today we get full details of the plans for this year’s spectacular.

And there is once again a further concession in light of previous criticism about local families being priced out of an event staged principally for tourists.

Around 10,000 children will receive free tickets for the ice skating in St Andrew Square under a tie-up with Standard Life.

Offers like this are vital for the organisers of Edinburgh’s Christmas as they look to develop the event ever further, and keep public opinion on side as they take over vast swathes of the Capital.

Christmas is a special time in the city centre and everyone should be given the chance to get involved.

Sure we will welcome thousands in to the city and hopefully encourage them to spend at local businesses while they are here but first and foremost it should be an event for Edinburgh. We look forward to seeing the full details of the plans today as the countdown is officially launched. Then we can go back to clining on to summer..for just a few more weeks.