The countdown to Christmas in Sunderland will officially begin on Thursday 19 November.
Traditional Christmas lighting switch on events won't be taking place across the city due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and there will be no events or activities in Keel Square or other locations across the city as part of the Christmas offer this year.
Instead, Sunderland City Council, Sunderland BID, The Bridges Sunderland and Sunderland Empire will be launching an online Christmas programme that residents can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes.
Join Sun FM favourite Simon Grundy and the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon online to mark the start of Christmas in Sunderland and begin the festive celebrations from 6.30pm.
The online launch will include songs from Burnside, Grangetown, St. Paul's, Southwick and Hetton Lyons Primary Schools, a special message from Sunderland Empire's Snow White pantomime stars Miss Rory and Tom Whalley, a dazzling magic performance and an extra special message from Santa Claus himself.
As part of the launch, Christmas trees and lighting across the city will be illuminated following a countdown from the Mayor, and this year will see the installation of some new lighting features in the city centre, with Sunderland BID's augmented reality app at hand to help you find them all with some great surprises in each location.
Cllr Linda Williams, Portfolio Holder for Vibrant City said: "Everyone loves Christmas and I am delighted that we're able to celebrate it together this year in a safe way. There is still so much Christmas cheer to look forward to and the online programme will bring some much-needed joy to our vibrant city".
Activities to enjoy at home will be available throughout November and December such as story time, crafts and recipes, a virtual carol service, Christmas competitions and much more.
Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon said: "Although we cannot come together to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights across the city as we normally would, this online event will allow us to come together to celebrate the start of Christmas in Sunderland.
"Working with our partners Sunderland BID and The Bridges Sunderland, a key message of the festive season is to support Sunderland businesses and shop local over the festive period this year."