Seasons Greetings - Festive Traditions Around Sutton

Thu 11/Jan/24

Seasons Greetings!


Seasons greetings to everyone in the Sutton Council and everyone who uses our services! We hope you have enjoyed the festive season and wish you all a Happy New Year!

To celebrate the winter season, this blog post will discuss festive traditions in the Sutton Borough and members of the Sutton Council.


One major tradition in the Borough that happens elsewhere around the country is the turning on of the Christmas lights. Cheam in particular holds a Christmas market to coincide with it, complete with food stalls and fairground rides. Whitehall also hosts an annual Santa’s grotto event where children can meet Father Christmas and take away a gift. This year, it happened on the 1st of December and Tim Vine turned on the Christmas lights.



The cold winter months aren’t just about Christmas. It is also about celebrating winter itself, such as the Winter Solstice itself celebrating the coming of winter. Other religions have their own celebrations - for instance, Hindus celebrate Diwali and Jews celebrate Hannukah. All of these have been celebrated as part of Sutton’s Light & Dark Festival, which started in October 2023 and ends in February 2024.


Though Diwali usually happens in November, the focus on lights symbolises the triumph of good over evil and lightens up the dark cold days that have begun. Sutton Council has often held events related to Diwali to celebrate the event, complete with an emphasis on Hindu culture. Last year had quite a variety - a Diwali Market was held in Wallington on the 28th October, another Diwali Celebration Market was held at the Sutton Market Place on the 4th November and a Diwali Party was held at the Thomas Wall Centre on the 25th November.


Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah) also focuses on lights. This is due to the story of how there was only enough lamp oil for one night for the candles in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, yet they were still able to burn for eight days and eight nights. To celebrate this, Jewish households light their own versions of the candelabrum and play games such as dreidel (a spinning top game where chocolate coins are at stake).


We asked some of the volunteers and staff at Whitehall Historic House what their holiday traditions and favourite memories of Christmas were. Here are some of their responses.

Imogen Easton


Imogen writes blog posts for Whitehall and works on the front desk. When not working, she likes to come up with story ideas in her free time.

Any Christmas traditions?


“I really invest myself in the holiday spirit as much as I can - listening to Christmas songs and doing some Christmas baking. One of the things our family likes to do is go out to have breakfast somewhere where we can look around and see all the Christmas decorations being sold - currently the breakfast happens at IKEA, but we used to have it at Woodcote Garden Centre, where we also used to buy our Christmas tree. Starting in 2019, I head over to London with my mother to see the Christmas lights and window displays, taking photos of them all and hopefully getting a hot chocolate in the process. Other places I like to visit throughout the season include historical houses, whether they be in the Borough like Whitehall or Honeywood or outside the Borough like Polesdon Lacey and Ham House, in order to see how they are decked out for Christmas.”

Favourite Christmas memory.


“I really cannot decide on a single memory. One of my favourites was seeing the Christmas lights in London for the first time. I’m normally a stickler for schedules, but while looking at the lights, I didn’t need to worry about them. I also remember the time I helped my Grandma to make Christmas puddings (another Christmas tradition in my family) when I was younger and I ended up leaving treacle marks all over the walls with my treacle-covered hands - it took a long time to clean up!”

Tilly Davis


Tilly is the Customer Services Officer for Heritage and works closely with the volunteers at Whitehall Historic House.

Any Christmas traditions?


“I don't really have any traditions as such. When I was younger me and my family used to take a drive around London on Christmas Eve to see all the lights, which was always fun and a good highlight! Other than that we don't really have traditions, but we do always play board games - normally Articulate!”

Nicky Lawrence-Gravestock


Nicola is a volunteer at Whitehall Historic House, who has written creative writing pieces based on the house and hosted creative writing events at Whitehall, as well as helping with school trips and other children’s activities.

Any Christmas traditions?


“Our family tradition is going to collect some holly, we usually go to Horton Park in Ewell.  One year there was a weather warning and it started to get blowier and (more) blowier - and started to blow a gale!  I was a bit scared!!!  but we ended up getting enough holly and then getting out of there tut suite!!  I was glad that my husband was with me and my children (who were quite small at the time) didn't wander off (although we did get lost a couple of times and wander around in a circle!) Anyhow, this is our Christmas tradition.  Once we have our holly we usually use it to decorate our fireplace in the dining room and I must say, it does look very festive!”


Favourite Christmas memory.


“In thinking about my favourite festive memory, I'm not sure. It could be the time I took the children to see Santa at Morden Hall Park about 10 years ago. I went with a friend and back then there were lots of craft stalls at the park. We bought handmade scarves, hand decorated hairbrushes for the children (and a crystal necklace for me, which I still have today, so I did very well out of it!); I remember going for a glorious walk finishing up with hot chocolate with marshmallows and coffee in the Cafe!”