Comment: Christmas has impressive programme

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Feeling in the festive spirit yet? Perhaps not quite, but today’s news of Edinburgh’s Christmas plans should cheer even the most Scrooge-like among us.

The city centre had to up its game in the face of growing competition for the festive pound and from the plans revealed today it seems, at least on paper, to have delivered.

It was not good enough to rely on the same, albeit tried and tested, format of previous years.

Consumers are becoming ever more demanding, and the convenience of online shopping and out-of-town centres have driven more out of the city centre. There has to be a new reason to bring them back.

The fresh attractions and changes to the layout which will see the ever-
popular ice rink moved up on to Princes Street and St Andrew Square fully utilised will be aimed at delivering that.

It will all help to improve the festive feel by concentrating the attractions in the same area.

At the same time, the new Edinburgh Eye Ferris wheel is a welcome evolution of what has become a Capital Christmas staple.

Its new position, height and enclosed pods which will prevent the risk of hypothermia at the top should guarantee it becomes a firm favourite.

Add in the Spiegeltent, Christmas tree maze, the not-for-the-faint-hearted Star Flyer ride, and it’s all adding up to a really impressive 

There have already been controversies, of course – the loss of the majority of the traditional German market traders chiefly among them – and we will have to reserve judgment on much of the new offering until it is up and running.

The real test will then come when the takings are counted at the start of next year and the number crunching begins to determine if the revamp has had the desired effect.

You may not want to think about Christmas yet but you can bet it is occupying the minds of city centre traders. Today’s news may just have them looking forward to a happy new year.