FORGET the seagulls and pigeons, there were only gigantic robins prowling the city centre streets last night -  the streets of Liverpool One anyway.

Alongside super-sized walking jingle bells and elves, it was enough to put many city centre inhabitants off their Tennants Super Strength for good.

But they needn't have feared. It was all part of the magic of Christmas as thousands gathered to watch the shopping centre flick the switch on its 30m tree, complete with confetti, a snow blower, live music, theatrical and aerial performances and street entertainment “to officially mark the start of Christmas”. 

Not to mention late night shopping until 8pm.

Liverpool One's unusual tree, decorated in hearts, was, for the second year, brought to life on Paradise Street in a spectacle inspired by the night before Christmas, created by the Liverpool Empire’s Creative Learning Team.  

The Alpine-inspired Bar Hutte at the base of the tree, fulfilled the yodelling-themed drink needs of the thirsty and will continue to do so throughout the festive shopping season.

Father Christmas adorned the roof of John Lewis, together with a pyrotechnic display and Christmas songs.

Shrek was  spotted ahead of DreamWorks Lights - the  walkthrough lantern experience which launches at St George’s Hall on November 26. 

And on South John Street,  panto stars from Merseyside’s various theatre stages, including former Hollyoaks actress and I’m A Celebrity star Jorgie Porter, made their appearances.

The team behind Liverpool’s Ice Festival, which is now down at the Pier Head, also created two ice sculptures including the city’s famous Liver Bird.

Natalie Flynn, from Liverpool Empire Theatre’s Creative Learning Team, added: “We were delighted to be invited by Liverpool One to officially mark the start of Christmas in our city, and we wanted to create something even bigger and better than last year. 

“Working together, we were able to engage the local community in theatre by taking the magic out of its traditional space, bringing it into the heart of the city centre.” 

Meanwhile, Liverpool ONE’s new Tree Fairies App allows iPhone users to find one of the fairies flying around the tree, name them and then share with their friends across social media. There are also children’s rides and Christmassy treats return to Chavasse Park until January 5.

If you were wondering where this leaves Liverpool City Council’s more traditional Christmas tree, rest assured. It will be up and illuminated in its usual spot at the top of Church Street on December 1 - along with the familiar string of blue LED lights.

A council spokesman told Confidential: "The city holds off on Christmas activity until after Remembrance Sunday."