No New Christmas Lights For Oxford Street This Year. Here's Why

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 68 months ago

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Last Updated 12 October 2018

No New Christmas Lights For Oxford Street This Year. Here's Why
Oxford Street Christmas lights 2017
The 2017 Oxford Street Christmas lights - which we'll be seeing again this year. Image: Shutterstock

In April 2018, four shortlisted designs for Oxford Street's 2018 Christmas lights  were revealed. The winning design was due to be announced at the end of May, with the lights making an appearance in time for the festive season.

Well, that hasn't happened.

Fast forward to October 2018, and the old Christmas lights — those traditional, illuminated baubles we've become familiar with over the last few years — have been strung up above Oxford Street again (due to be switched on in an event on 6 November). Ah.

So what's happened to the new Oxford Street Christmas lights... and will we still be getting them this year?

The answer to the first question is... Crossrail. The new lights, it transpires, were due to coincide with the launch of Crossrail trains running in the tunnels under Oxford Street as of December 2018. As Crossrail has now been delayed (current due date: autumn 2019), the new lights too have been delayed. Lucky no-one threw out the old ones last January, eh?

One of the designs for the new Oxford Street Christmas lights, by 3dreid - new Oxford Street Christmas lights 2018 designs delayed
One of the shortlisted designs, a geometric ribbon made of 500,000 LED lights, inspired by the North Pole. Image: 3DReid

When the Crossrail delay was announced, we had a suspicion that the late arrival of Crossrail may have had a few knock-on effects. But, we have to admit, we didn't see this one coming. The competition is on pause, with the same four designs still on the shortlist. Hopefully we'll see one of them appearing on Oxford Street this time next year — if Crossrail keeps to its current launch date of autumn 2019, that is.

There is one thing niggling us: the winning design was due to be announced in May, but the Crossrail delay wasn't made public until September. So either the competition was running behind schedule anyway, or, more likely, there were suspicions that Crossrail would be late opening four months before it was made public.

Gia Equation - shortlisted design for Oxford Street Christmas lights 2018
Another of the shortlisted designs. Image: Gia Equation

So when are the old Oxford Street Christmas lights switched on?

The launch date for the Oxford Street Christmas lights 2018 has been announced for Tuesday 6 November 2018. Here are the full details of that switch-on event.

Keep an eye on our guide to London's Christmas lights for details of this and other switch-ons around the capital.