Here's when you can see the Christmas lights switched on in the Sunderland area

The Keel Square switch-on will take place next week.
The Keel Square switch-on will take place next week.
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The Christmas shopping has started, mince pies are on the shelves and the dark nights have arrived.

It's almost time to embrace the festive season with the annual Christmas lights switch on!

Pixie Lott will be turning on the Christmas lights in Sunderland's Keel Square next week.

Pixie Lott will be turning on the Christmas lights in Sunderland's Keel Square next week.

So pack up the family, wrap up warm and decide where you're going to enjoy the show.

If you're looking make some plans with the kids, here is the key information you need about events in the Sunderland area.

SUNDERLAND CITY CENTRE

When? Thursday, November 23.

Santa was the guest of honour at last year's Seaham switch-on.

Santa was the guest of honour at last year's Seaham switch-on.

Entertainment will start at 4.30pm, with a special performance at 5.30pm and the switch-on at 6pm.

Where? Keel Square.

Who's switching them on? Pop star Pixie Lott will join The Right Worshipful Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Doris Macknight.

Any other information? The Sky Cinema bus will be in Keel Square all day showing a range of Disney short films so the whole family can get in the mood. There will also be street food stalls running along High Street West.

Kevin Ball switched on the Christmas lights in Pallion last year.

Kevin Ball switched on the Christmas lights in Pallion last year.

WASHINGTON

When? Monday, November 20 at 6pm.

Where? Victoria Road, Concord, Washington.

Who's switching them on? Local performers with support from Sun FM.

Any other information? Following the switch-on, the night will end with a superb fireworks display.

PALLION

When? Friday, November 24

Where? Pallion.

Who's switching them on? Chloe Gray will take a ride on Santa's sleigh at the switch-on.

Any other information? Organised by the Parker Trust, the charity is looking for volunteers to get involved. If you can help, contact them on Facebook.

RYHOPE

When? Friday, December 1 from 6pm until 8pm. The switch-on will take place at 6.30pm.

Where? Ryhope.

Who's switching them on? If you pop along you might see a very special guest in a big, red suit.

Any other information? There will be stalls. hot and cold food and a tombola to boot!

SHINEY ROW

When? Thursday, December 7.

The lights will be switched on between 4.30pm and 5pm. Santa's Grotto will be open from 5pm

Who's switching them on? The Right Worshipful Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Doris Macknight.

Any other information? There will be lots of entertainment on the night - and a market from 12pm on the day.

SEAHAM

When? Friday, December 1 from 5.30pm until 7.30pm.

PETERLEE

When? Friday, November 24. The evening of events will run from 4pm until 6pm.

Where? Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Peterlee.

Who's switching them on? X Factor star Sam Lavery.

DURHAM CITY

When? Sunday, November 26 from 4.45pm.

HORDEN

When? Wednesday, December 6 at 6pm.

Is there a switch-on taking place in your community? Send us the details on email and we'll include it in our round-up.