THE stars have been coming out to light up Christmas in London.

Hollywood actor Jim Carrey pushed the button to activate the Christmas lights at Oxford Street recently and singer Mariah Carey was last night scheduled to turn on the lights of Westfield Mall.

Movie star Nicholas Cage is switching on the lights in Bath and pop star Mr Hudson is throwing the switch in Blackpool.

Bournemouth has a long tradition of “starry” switch-on ceremonies, with the honours being performed over the years by such celebrities as Esther Rantzen, Buster Merryfield, Stefan Dennis and EastEnder June Brown.

This year the switch will be flicked by Hi De Hi star Su Pollard, children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis and LazyTown character Sportacus on Sunday.

But in Poole, the recession has put paid to a “big production” switching-on ceremony altogether.

“Like last year, we just haven’t got the budget to do a switch-on that will satisfy the needs of the public,” says Richard Randall-Jones, Poole town-centre manager.

“We’ve been hit hard by the recession, our income is down and we’re not in a position to buy any more lights this year.

“It costs a lot of money for a one-off evening and you’re dependent on the weather. Our theme this year is a ‘back to basics’ Christmas.”

Despite the lack of stars, however, the town centre did mark the event earlier this month with the well-attended arrival of Santa Claus. And while the recession may have struck the town centre of Poole, there will be celebrities turning on other Christmas illuminations in the area.

Over in Christchurch, Heart FM breakfast DJs Caroline and David will be doing the honours on December 5.

Wimborne, meanwhile, will welcome BBC Radio Solent presenter and former BBC South weather forecaster Alina Jenkins, who will turn on the Christmas lights in the Square this Saturday .

If the weather holds, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the Tivoli Theatre will also make an appearance.

An added attraction will be the Wimborne Militia firing their muskets – after a 10- minute warning.