Here we are in November. The evenings are drawing in and it’s definitely getting colder. So are you feeling festive yet?

One thing that will brighten our mood at this time of year is the C word – Christmas. There, I’ve said it!

One of the joys of recording my Sunny Sessions a couple of weeks in advance is that while working on a show that’s due for broadcast in early December, I got to spend a wintry November afternoon listening to Christmas music – and it felt good.

My favourite Christmas song is Fleiz Navidad. It’s not one of the best-known but it’s very catchy.

I know some people who already have their decorations up, which to me seems a bit early. 

I tend to wait until December. 

But I can see how the sparkle of Christmas lights can cheer us up in the bleak midwinter.

This brings me on to Christmas lights switch-ons that are happening around our community over the coming weeks. 

By the time you read this, the lights in Guildford will be sparkling over the cobbles and Woking is not far behind with events today (Thursday, November 23). 

The honour of lighting up our town this year goes to football legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

One festive event I love and which is worth a trip to attend is the Walton-on-Thames Festival of Light. 

There will be stalls and entertainment in the centre of Walton on Saturday (November 25). 

And in the evening there will be the annual parade of lanterns through the town, plus the lights switch-on.

I always try to go because it’s a brilliant day.

Lots of hard work goes into it by Tracey Blandford and the team at Walton Business Improvement District.

However, this time of year is bittersweet for many people – including me.

For many it brings reminders of the loss of loved ones. 

And it can be hard for some as it’s not always the most wonderful time of the year that the adverts make it out to be.  

Christmas is always tinged with sadness for me. 

It was soon after Christmas 2020 that my partner Lara lost her battle after contracting Covid. 

It was at a Christmas lights switch-on in Epsom in 2014 that we first met. 

She tweeted the council to ask who was switching on the lights that year, and if they needed somebody she was free.

The result of that was her being on stage, flicking the switch and meeting me for the first time.

So Christmas is very bittersweet for me. 

I know that Woking & Sam Beare Hospice are running a number of Light up a Life services in the run-up to Christmas if you need that quiet reflection and a pause from the hustle and bustle of festive preparations. It’s important to make time for yourself.

You can listen to The Sunny Sessions, the inclusive radio show from The Sunnybank Trust, on Surrey Hills Community Radio at 11am on Mondays and Thursdays, and at 9pm on the first Monday of each month. The show is also on Radio Woking at 9am on Wednesdays. 

You can also hear me on the Radio Woking breakfast show on Wednesdays (7am to 9am) and Sundays (9am to noon).

To get in touch, please email me at [email protected]