Deck the boats with boughs of holly
Tis the season to be jolly, and at this magical time of year, streets are lined with Christmas lights, carols can be heard from all around and there’s frantic buying of last minute presents as people fight through the shops.
Traditionally, we bring out our dusty boxes full of the same decorations we use practically every year and decorate our living rooms, hallways and staircases, but this year it doesn’t have to be just your house that you decorate. Your vessel is your home away from home, so spread some Christmas cheer along the water with some dazzling decorations and festive fairy lights.
You don’t have to push the boat out (puns intended…), minimal displays can still make a huge difference – imagine how beautiful our marina would look all lit up by glistening lights from each boat berthed here in Sutton Harbour.
A bit of tinsel, leftover lights or even that tiny Christmas tree that used to sit in your child’s window when they were young could all help brighten up your boat this Christmas.
Why decorate boats at Christmas? Other than it looking absolutely amazing on the water, decorating boats is becoming increasingly popular but it has been a tradition in Greece for a very long time.
In December, small wooden boats would be decorated with lights every year and there are many legends that explain why; some say it symbolises the marine identity of Greece, while others believe it’s in honour of St Nicholas, the Patron Saint of Sailors, to bring the men back home safely.
Another tale says that the boats were decorated by women to celebrate the safe return of their husbands and fathers and to welcome them home.
This started to change with the introduction of the Christmas tree. In 1833, the first Christmas tree in Greece was decorated by King Otto of Bavaria and from then on, the Christmas tree was to be seen alongside a decorated boat. However, with the Christmas tree tradition taking centre stage, over the years boats were decorated less and less and this tradition faded into history.
That is until recent years, the tradition is seen to have been revived as boat displays have been lit up during the festive season in many Greek cities. Parades and competitions have also become popular in many parts of the word, such as America, where they hang lights on sails and create Christmas displays that brighten up the marinas.
Things to remember
If you do decide to deck your boat this Christmas time remember, the all-important health and safety.
- The adding of extra lights means you need to plan how you’re going to power them, which could increase the risk of fire.
- Double check the lights for frayed wires and don’t overload circuits.
- Securing the lights might be more difficult than at home so ties and tape makes for simple and easy decorating.
Before decorating, it’s best to do some research for more in-depth health and safety procedures or check with a member of staff at the marina.
Merry Christmas from everyone at Sutton Harbour Marina!