CHRISTMAS may be different this year but it is certainly not cancelled as communities get creative to offer people some festive cheer.

Businesses in Helmsley have come together to celebrate Christmas with a fun window trail, full of tips around how the festive season can still be enjoyed, despite Covid-19.

Starting tomorrow (Thursday) people will be able to enjoy the creative “Christmas isn’t Cancelled” themed window displays in businesses around town.

Each of the participating windows will offer a top tip of something that can still be magical and enjoyed by lovers of the festive season.

People are then being asked to share photos of them enjoying one of the tips (or coming up with their own) on social media, tagging @VisitHelmsley or using the hashtag #ChristmasIsntCancelledinHelmsley for a chance to win some festive prizes donated by local businesses.

Lynn Hempsall, owner of Helmsley Traditional Sweetshop and member of Helmsley in Business, which is behind the trail, said: “Obviously it’s been a difficult year for us all and it’s not the festive season we’re used to.

“But we wanted to get the message out there that there are still safe ways to celebrate Christmas and have fun. It’s also been a very tough year for all the small independent businesses which make Helmsley the wonderful town it is, so it hopefully encourages people to come into town safely and do their Christmas shopping locally and support the business owners who rely on this as their most important time of the year. ”

In Thornton-le-Dale, a virtual Christmas lights switch-on will take place on December 5 at 6pm. A film will include a special visit from the Ryedale Lions with Santa on his sleigh and a virtual choir. The winner of the school Christmas card competition will turn on the lights.

County Cllr Janet Sanderson, who has helped organise the event, said: “The funding for the lights this year is secure and I have given a small grant for PPE so that the men can work safely, but next year’s lights may be compromised if we can’t raise funding now.

“I am so proud of this community coming together to overcome every challenge that has been thrown at them during this dreadful pandemic.”

l Ryedale’s festive towns: Page 40