Christmas arrives early in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

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Monday, August 24, 2009

We have a duty to save taxpayers' money

—Rochdale borough council spokeswoman

Christmas lights in 2006, Tokyo
Image: User:Kure.

The Greater Manchester town of Rochdale has begun setting up decorations for a number of festivities, including Eid, a Muslim holiday. However, there's a twist—in order to save money, the town is also erecting Christmas decorations early.

Among the decorations were a giant Noel sign, holly leaves, and a skiing penguin. Some residents were opposed to the move; one person said, "Seeing the lights makes me feel depressed. I know we haven't had much of a summer, but let's get it out of the way first". Another commented, "It's ludicrous. It's the height of summer and they're putting up Christmas lights. A worker told me they had to be up in time for all the religious festivals, but most of the lights refer to the Christian Christmas."

A spokeswoman for the Rochdale borough council said, "We understand that we're early putting Christmas lights up now, but we are merely putting them up and not switching them on. We have a duty to save taxpayers' money, and by putting them up now with lights for other festivities – including Eid in September – we will be saving around £10,000".